Mexican cous cous salad

21 Mar

Christopher and I are just seven weeks away from the marathon, and I am just about 5 pounds (give or take, depending on the day) away from my weight-loss goal for the race. I have vowed to take good care of myself, drink plenty of water and eat well leading up to the big day.

I created this salad—a mix of carbs, fresh vegetables and healthy fat—to keep me full and satisfied at lunch and fuel me through the day, quashing the craving for junk that might be lurking at the office.

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Mexican cous cous salad

This salad is super satisfying and packed with nutrition and flavor. The chewy cous cous, crunchy peppers and creamy avocado, dressed in a bright, cilantro-salsa “dressing,” combine for an awesome Mexican-inspired lunch, best served over a bed of mixed greens.

Ingredients

1 teaspoon canola oil

1/3 cup diced bell peppers

1/3 cup diced onion

1 clove garlic, minced

1 cup Israeli cous cous

1 1/4 cups water

1 1/2 cups (1 15-ounce can) black beans, drained and rinsed

1/2 cup diced bell peppers

1/2 cup chopped tomato

1/2 cup chopped green onions

For the “dressing”

3/4 cup salsa

1/2 cup chopped cilantro, divided

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon cumin

1 teaspoon chili powder

1 1/2 teaspoons lime juice

1 avocado, peeled, seeded and chopped

Directions

Heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Sauté the peppers, onion and garlic until they’re translucent and fragrant, about 2 minutes.

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Add the cous cous and toast it until it’s golden brown, about 3-5 minutes.

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Add the water, cover the pan and reduce the heat to medium-low. Cook the cous cous until all the water is absorbed, about 10-15 minutes. Fluff the cous cous with a fork and place in a large bowl.

Add the black beans, peppers, tomato and green onions and toss until the beans and vegetables are evenly distributed.

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Combine in a food processor the salsa, 1/3 cup of the cilantro, garlic powder, cumin, chili powder and lime juice and process until smooth. Pour the “dressing” over the cous cous and vegetable mixture and toss to coat the salad. Sprinkle in remaining cilantro and chopped avocado and toss until everything is combined.

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I really like this salad, which is reminiscent of my Greek grain salad: same concept, different flavor profile. I like serving it over a big bed of mixed greens for lunch; I don’t need dressing, cheese or any other frou-frou addition—the cous cous salad packs a texture and flavor punch.

I might add a diced jalapeno and substitute red onions for green onions next time for a spicy kick and more of a bite.

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