My hair tells me we’ve had a reprieve from the humidity but the taste for summer salads is still going strong. Mixing Israeli couscous with feta, roasted red peppers and mint creates a savory and refreshing flavor. As a bonus it is great warm or cold and as delicious the second day as it was the first. This salad with lime and mint marinated chicken kebabs is a perfect summer dinner. Add in a pitcher of signature cocktails – dare I suggest gin gin mules or mojitos and you have a mint infused soirée!
This salad is relatively quick to make. The peppers take the most time (1/2 hour in the oven) so I recommend starting them first. B & G Roasted Peppers is my go to supermarket roasted red pepper. Re-roasting them in the oven gives them a little crisp and a little less “wetness” but here’s a little secret …. if you are short on time you can skip the re-roasting and still have a great taste. If you are going to re-roast them drain the peppers, slice them into thin strips (1/8″ – 1/4″ wide) and place them on a baking sheet in the oven. Bake for 15 minutes then broil for 15 minutes with a few flips of the strips in-between and they should be just right. Keep an eye out for skinny strangler strips as you’re flipping to avoid any getting too crispy. After the peppers are cooked let them cool a little and then cut into smaller pieces (each strip in half or thirds).
There are a few types of couscous. The ones I am most familiar with are the Moroccan and Israeli. The Moroccan is very small, almost grain / sand like and the Israeli couscous is larger and shaped like mini-pearls. Moroccan couscous cannot be substituted for Israeli couscous in this recipe, the texture is toooooo different to work. (I’ll be posting a Moroccan couscous recipe in the future so keep an eye out).
The couscous is simple to make boil water, add couscous, simmer, stir, finished, but it’s very important to follow the water / couscous proportions listed on the container.
Once you have the couscous on and the peppers in the oven whisk the olive oil, vinegar, simple syrup and black pepper in a bowl and set aside. Julienne the mint (here’s a refresher on julienning if you need it), crumble the feta and measure out the pine nuts.
Combine all ingredients and serve warm or pack it up for a picnic, either way you are sure to enjoy!
- Israeli couscous – 2 cups of dry Israeli couscous cooked
- Roasted red peppers – 12 oz jar (1 whole large pepper)
- Red wine vinegar – 3 tablespoons
- Simple syrup - 2 tablespoons
- Black pepper - ½ teaspoon
- Olive oil – 1 tablespoon
- Feta – 1 cup crumbled
- Mint – 16 leaves julienned
- Pine nuts – ⅓ cup
- For the red peppers:
- Preheat oven to 400°
- Drain roasted red peppers
- Open pepper and lay flat on a cutting board
- Slice peppers into thin strips (1/8" - ¼" wide)
- Place strips on baking sheet in oven
- Roast peppers for 15 minutes flipping strips once
- Broil strips for 15 minutes flipping twice (keep an eye on the pepper strips to ensure they do not get too crispy)
- Remove peppers from oven and let cool slightly
- Cut pepper strips in ½ or ⅓ and set aside
- For the couscous: cook according to the directions on the container (generally 1¼ cups of water to 1 cup of dry couscous)
- Whisk together the olive oil, red wine vinegar, simple syrup and black pepper and set aside
- Julienne the mint
- Crumble the feta
- Combine all ingredients, including the pine nuts, and mix thoroughly