Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Couscous and Vegetable Salad via 400 Calorie Fix

     If this week's weather is any indication, the summer is going to be horrifyingly hot and humid. If you're like me, on days like this you want to run the stove as little as possible. When the weather gets like this I also don't want super heavy meals. Like I said last week, salads are a great alternative. This week's recipe comes from the book 400 Calorie Fix. This particular recipe is about as healthy as you can hope for. A 1-1/2 cup serving is only 260 calories. If you wanted to bulk it up, you could add some tuna or chicken.

Couscous and Vegetable Salad
via 400 Calorie Fix


  • 1-1/2 cups water
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon + 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup whole wheat couscous
  • 1 can (15 ounces) chickpeas, rinsed and drained, 3 tablespoons of liquid reserved
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas, thawed
  • 1 medium carrot, coarsely shredded
  • 1 small tomato, chopped
  • 1 small red or yellow pepper, chopped (we went with red. The wife's not a huge fan of green peppers)
  • 2-1/2 tablespoons currants (we didn't have any. We also weren't sold on currants being a good idea in here)
  • 2-1/2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh chives
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons pistachios or pine nuts (we used pistachios. Any time we have a choice between pistachios and pine nuts, I'm using pistachios)
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons lemon juice (spring for a fresh lemon here. The bottled stuff doesn't have the fresh taste you want in this dish)
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • Angostura Bitters (optional)
  1. Bring water, salt and 1 teaspoon of the oil to a boil in a medium saucepan over high heat. Stir in the couscous. Remove from heat and cover. Let stand for 5 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. Fluff with fork.
  2. Transfer the couscous to a large bowl. Add the chickpeas (setting aside the liquid), peas, carrot, tomato, pepper, currants (not for me), chives and nuts. Toss gently until mixed.
  3. Whisk together lemon juice, thyme oregano, bitters, reserved chickpea liquid and remaining tablespoon of oil in a small bowl (why do recipes always make restrictions on bowl size? What if I wanted to use a big bowl for this? Who's going to stop me. I'll tell you straight up, I used a medium sized bowl. I have no regrets). Mix and pour over the salad. Toss to mix well. 
  4. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes to blend the flavors.
Good times!


  1. This is wonderful. I didn't have chickpeas in the house and no pistachios and currants do nothing for me. I used slivered almonds, golden raisins (yum!) and doubled up on the tomatoes and peas. I parboiled the carrots, because they were 1/4" dice, not grated. The juice from the extra tomato made up for the liquid from the missing chickpeas. Served with some beer bread, this salad was superb!! Thank you for sharing this. =)

    1. I am so glad you enjoyed it! This is what I enjoy; taking a recipe and customizing it!