Saturday, August 28, 2010

Bean and Couscous Salad, and the Friends Who Inspired It

Summer is almost over! It's almost time to go back to school! I am so nervous/excited! This back to school season feels totally different than the rest. I am going to go through a huge change! A new house, new housemates, new school, new subject of study, new degree. Everything is new! All of my friends seem to be starting something new in September whether it be grad school, a new job, or traveling. Last weekend, a few of my friends from Waterloo got together and had a nice dinner which was perfect timing as the summer is coming to an end and before we get super busy in September.

I'm going to give you a quick rundown on these friends becuase I feel it is important in choosing the dish that I brought. Maybe not that important, but it will give this story a little something extra. There is William, a fellow lover of food, especially if cookies and chocolate are involved. He also loves to cook and try new recipes, particularly if it is French. He will turn the most simple dish sound like a French masterpiece. Then there is Max, the one who really convinced me to finally start this blog. He is always up for trying something new in the kitchen. Then we have Andrew, the token carnivore. Everyone has a carnivorous friend right? Clearly I'm exaggerating but not as much as you'd hope. Last but not least we have Miles. Oh Miles, how one can exist on cereal and pizza we will never understand. I like to tease him about his lack of vegetables because he literally defies all odds. This guy never gets sick while only getting his veggies from the top of a pizza! He has an immune system to die for! But I digress; why am I telling you all of this? Because making a dish to bring to a dinner with these friends has to A) impress the food critic that is William, B) have veggies becuase clearly I won't get to eat any otherwise, and C) make those veggies taste great so the carnivores will get their vitamin C for the year (I joke).

Bean and Couscous Salad

1-2 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic
1 cm piece of chili pepper
1/4 tsp cumin
1 medium carrot, chopped
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 can red kidney beans
3 cups cooked couscous
1 small purple pepper (any colour really), chopped
1/2 large green pepper, chopped
1 large tomato, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
1/2 cup chopped cucumber

Dressing: from

1/4 cup fresh lime juice
3 tbsp olive oil
2.5 tsp chili powder
2.5 tsp cumin
1 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp salt

Add olive oil, garlic, and chili pepper to a pan and heat on medium-high. Heat for a few minutes until fragrant.

Add carrot, onion, and cumin and saute until onions are translucent and carrots are softer (but not fully cooked).

Transfer to a bowl and allow to cool. In a large bowl, combine beans, couscous, onion mixture, peppers, tomato, cucumber, and celery and mix to combine.

Combine ingredients for the dressing in a closed container and shake to mix well. If you have the time, allow dressing to refrigerate for a couple hours to allow the flavours to come together. I did not quite use all of this dressing for this salad. How much you want to use is really up to you. It is also good to add the dressing and refrigerate a few hours before serving.

As far as I could tell, the salad was a hit. Straight from Miles' mouth: "It tastes like tacos!"

Mission: Accomplished.

I move into my new house tomorrow and am in the middle of packing. I am not sure when the internet will be up and running but I hope to be posting from my new kitchen soon!


  1. Haha, love it! Btw, I still have a little bit of this left in my fridge. It doesn't expire... right?

  2. Oh No! It must be so soggy! I would not eat it!