I was all set to post a soup recipe today, but the fact that it was a sweltering, sweaty 86º here yesterday (what is up with that?!!) made me think that a nice, cool, salad would be more apropos…and not lead to a mass of unsubscribes from the blog! Lol! Such are the thoughts of a food blogger!
Yup, today, we’re back to salad days with this yummy Israeli Couscous Mushroom Salad with Lemony Vinaigrette that for one reason or another kept getting bumped from the lineup but is finally getting its chance in the spotlight.
And what a winner this one is! If you are a mushroom lover, you are going to adore this (if you’re not, maybe you should just click on this right now and stop reading) ‘cause there are loads of earthy, roasted wild mushrooms in here!
There’s also tender, slightly chewy Israeli couscous which is kinda fun and different. I just love that texture!
Rounding things out are the parmesan and parsley adding that salty and herby balance, all coated in an easy-to-make, zesty, lemony vinaigrette.
Guys, I really think you’re going to love this salad! It’s interesting enough to serve as a starter at an upscale dinner party but also down-to-earth enough to be that special side that goes with pretty much any simple grilled chicken, meat or fish entree on an ordinary weeknight.
And though I’m touting this as warm weather fare, the truth is that this would be amazing at any time of the year!
Now, maybe, just maybe, the weather will cooperate soon and we can safely transition into soup season!! Fingers crossed!!
Israeli Couscous Mushroom Salad with Lemony Vinaigrette
Makes about 4 cups
Prep Time: Under 1 hour (much of this is hands-free)
For the salad
3/4 pound wild mushrooms, cleaned, trimmed and sliced (I used crimini and shitake)
2 tablespoons olive oil
Kosher salt and black pepper
1 cup Israeli couscous
1 cup water
1/2 cup shredded or shaved Parmesan
Large handful of freshly chopped parsley
For the vinaigrette
The juice of 2 lemons
3/4 cup canola oil
2 tablespoons olive oil
Large pinch of kosher salt and black pepper
1. To make the mushroom salad: Preheat oven to 400ºF. Place the mushrooms on a large rimmed baking sheet and toss with the olive oil and a generous pinch of salt and pepper. Spread into a single layer and roast for about 20 minutes, shaking the pan every now and then, until the mushrooms lose their moisture and being to brown. Remove from the oven and transfer to a bowl to cool completely.
2. While the mushrooms are cooking, you can prepare the couscous. Place a large skillet over medium-low heat. Toast the couscous for about 5 minutes, stirring often, until it gets golden brown and begins to smell nutty. Pour in the water and simmer for 10-12 minutes, until the couscous has absorbed the water and is tender. Set it aside to cool.
3. To make the vinaigrette: Place all of the ingredients in a mason jar, cover and shake together well, or whisk together in a bowl.
4. To finish off the salad, place the cooled mushrooms and couscous, parmesan and parsley in a large bowl and toss together. Pour on about 2/3 of the vinaigrette and toss well to coat. Taste and season with salt and pepper if necessary. You can also add more vinaigrette if you like it wetter or store the remaining vinaigrette in the fridge, covered, for up to 1 week.
Note: Recipe adapted from The Lemonade Cookbook by Alan Jackson and JoAnn Cianciulli. I cut the truffle oil from the vinaigrette and tinkered with other proportions and ingredients as well.