Summer is officially here! College has been out for about a week and  the temperatures are in the 90’s. It is around this time of year that I often find myself less inclined to eat a hot and hearty meal and turning my attention to lighter entrees such as salads and cold pastas. This meal is one of my absolute favorites because it is so easy and it combines some of my favorite flavors of fresh tomatoes, mint, creamy chickpeas and salty feta all bound together with a light lemony dressing and whole-grain couscous.

Summery Couscous Salad (adapted from Cooking Light)

  • 1 cup uncooked whole-wheat couscous
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, divided
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1/8 teaspoon of sugar
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh mint
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced green onions
  • 1/8 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1  (15-ounce) can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 pint of cherry tomatoes (halved)
  • 3/4 cup of crumbled feta cheese

In a large bowl combine couscous, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and cinnamon. Stir in 1 cup of boiling water; cover and let stand 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork. In a seperate small bowl combine oil, juice, garlic, and sugar. Add oil mixture, remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, mint, and next 4 ingredients (through cherry tomatos) to the coucous and stir to combine. Adjust seasonings to taste and sprinkle with feta before serving.

This salad goes well with chicken, salmon, beef kebabs, tofu, etc. However, it can also stand alone as a nice vegetarian entree. It is so versatile you can play with the seasonings, sub in whatever vegetables are in your fridge or try a different variety of bean or grain. I was thinking quinoa would be especially good because it would up the protein content. Simple, healthy and delicious! I will definitely be making this salad several times this summer.