I have a recipe to share with you today for a Mediterranean Lentil and Couscous Salad that can be prepared ahead of time to serve as a side dish or to have on hand for lunches for the week.
I have been making this recipe since 2011 so I can assure you it’s tried and true! It’s a mix of lentils and couscous with lots of Mediterranean-inspired mix ins like feta, arugula, kalamata olives, basil, mint and tomatoes. I have always gravitated towards any recipe with the words “Greek” or “Mediterranean” in the title. I just can’t get enough of the salty feta and olives paired with tomatoes, fresh herbs and olive oil. It’s such a refreshing flavor combination.
The best thing about this recipe is that it can be prepared ahead of time and the flavor actually gets even better and more developed after spending some time in the fridge. This makes it a perfect dish to take for spring/summer barbecues, to serve as a make-ahead side dish or to make during weekly food prep to take for lunches.
I recently made a big batch for the client that I prepare meals for and topped it with sliced chicken breast and a lemon wedge for an easy lunch on the go.
If you’re looking for a gluten-free variation, try subbing quinoa for the couscous. I can’t wait to try this recipe with that substitution. I think it will work perfectly. And a head’s up…the fresh arugula, basil and mint in this salad really take it to the next level so definitely be sure to include those ingredients. If you’re not an arugula fan you could sub chopped baby spinach or baby kale.
I hope you’ll try this and enjoy it as much as I do! Let me know if you have any questions and report back if you try it out!
Mediterranean Lentil and Couscous Salad
(Recipe source Gourmet magazine)
1 cup French green or brown lentils
3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 1/4 cups water
1 cup couscous (I used whole wheat)
1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 large garlic clove, minced and mashed to a paste with 1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup fresh mint leaves, chopped
1 bunch arugula, stems discarded and leaves washed well, spun dry and chopped (I used about 2 cups)
2 cups cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
1/2 cup kalamata olives, pitted and chopped
1 cup crumbled feta
1/4 cup fresh basil, julienned
Place lentils in a small saucepan and cover with 2 inches of water. Bring to a simmer and cook for 15-20 minutes or until lentils are tender but not falling apart. Drain and transfer to a bowl. Stir in one tablespoon vinegar and salt and pepper to taste. Cool lentils completely.
In a saucepan, bring water to a boil and add couscous and salt. Remove from heat and let couscous stand, covered, 5 minutes. Fluff couscous with a fork and transfer to a large bowl. Stir in 1 tablespoon oil and cool completely.
In a small bowl, whisk together garlic paste, remaining 2 tablespoons vinegar, remaining 3 tablespoons oil and salt and pepper to taste. Stir lentils and dressing into couscous. Chill salad, covered, at least 3 hours and up to 24.
Just before serving, stir in remaining ingredients, top with basil and season with salt and pepper. At this time I also added another drizzle of olive oil and a splash of vinegar but that’s totally optional.
Yield: 8 servings