It’s the second week of lent. I am not fasting. I haven’t for the past couple of years. But I still remember the time I did. It was hard time even though I only quit meats and dairy and became vegan before I knew it for 50 days once in my lifetime. The rest of the years, the ones when I fasted at least, I would quit meats the whole time, or at least the first and last week, and every Wednesday and Friday. Nowadays, I’m not sure I can (or want to) fast but for sure I can quit certain food. I will when I want to.
I have taken this for granted, but it was brought to my attention that I do cook vegan food all the time. I made a full brunch without resorting to meat, if we disregard the orphaned deli turkey that made its way back to the refrigerator the same way it came to the table. It was a vegan, STRICTLY VEGAN, brunch if we skip the dairy-free Quiche and the honey and honey-infused peanut butter. Back to my recipe. Vegan. This salad is something that can go as a meal by itself or accompany a main dish. I love it because it is nutrition and filling and leaves you guilt free. All plant-based 🙂 I have made this numerous times and each time has a different story. The last time was this weekend when we’ve had the boys over for a light dinner and a movie who are not believers in the power of the salad. They loved it. I made it for my first brunch, for the family, at Mike’s and for the following day’s lunch, and for one amazing weekend up in the mountains more than a year ago. It is not a Mexican salad. I can be if it wants to. But it has decided to become a well composed hybrid of ingredients with mixed roots. You start with a good amount of couscous spread on the bottom of a deep glass bowl. Top that with a layer of shredded carrots, diced green bell pepper, halved cherry tomatoes, sweet corn, red kidney beans and finish it with a generous layer of crunchy tortilla chips. You can add yellow and red peppers as well as some diced cucumbers and fresh mushrooms. You have to keep one thing in mind. You gotta work the balance; the color balance. You will end up with a good delicious eye attracting salad you can’t get enough of. The first few times I made this salad, I used to try different dressings until I once added a spoonful of hummus and was very pleased with it. Try it and let me know if you think another dressing would be suitable as well.
Mexican-inspired Couscous Salad
(the amount of vegetables can be changed according to taste, this is a rough estimation to be used as an outline)
- 1 cup dry couscous. (replace with any grain or quinoa for a low carb salad)
- hot water (not boiling)
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes (halved)
- 4 carrots (shredded)
- 1 bell pepper (use one or three colors)
- 1 can sweet corn (rinsed)
- 1 can red kidney beans (rinsed)
- 1 bag of plain tortilla chips (get a big one because the chips magically jump from the bag to hands then mouths)
- 1 small (the really small) can of hummus
- 1/2 cup lemon juice
- 3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 1 tsp salt
- water (optional, as needed)
Mix couscous with a sprinkle of salt in a bowl and add hot water to cover them. After a few minutes, they’ll increase in size. Fluff them with a fork and leave aside to cool. (or follow box directions) Layer the couscous on the bottom of a deep glass bowl (only if you’d like to work on the layering) and top with carrots, pepper, tomatoes, corn, bean and tortilla chip. In the salad in the photos, I mixes in a couple of chopped rocket leaves and mushrooms. In a glass jar, empty the can of hummus with the lemon juice, balsamic and salt. Close the lid tightly and SHAKE. Shake more to dissolve the hummus well. Check the consistency and add water or lemon juice as desired. Serve the salad with the dressing on the side and more chips.