Happy Spring! It’s been a long, hard winter in more ways than one but we’re almost there! I’d like to share a healthy spring recipe that was inspired by something I saw on Pinterest. (Isn’t Pinterest just the greatest? If you ever need an instant pick me up, just log on and start pinning!)  This is a great way to use asparagus, an abundant spring vegetable. The amounts of these ingredients are estimates and can be changed according to your preference. You can find Israeli couscous at Wegmans in the organic section.

Fairytale Spring Couscous Salad
1 1/2 cups of whole wheat Israeli Couscous like Bob’s Red Mill (can buy at Wegmans)
8 oz. of asparagus (I like Wegman’s steam-able bag), cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces
1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
3/4 cup of crumbled feta cheese
3/4 cup of julienned sun-dried tomatoes
1/4 cup of golden raisins
1/4 cup of slivered almonds
1 tablespoon of chopped fresh mint leaves
1 lemon
Extra Virgin Olive Oil 
Cook the couscous according to the package directions. Steam the asparagus in the microwave. Mix together. Dress with the juice of a lemon and sprinkle with some extra virgin olive oil. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve at room temperature.


Couscous is a staple of the Middle East but is widely enjoyed all over the world.  It is especially popular in Maghreb, a region in North African encompassing the countries of Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libra and Mauritania.  This healthful grain is derived from the moistened semolina grain and coated with semolina flour. It is then shaped into small sphere-like beads. The shape of these beads vary and the more processed the couscous, the smaller the bead. Israeli couscous is usually larger in shape but equally delicious and a bit easier to make is the precooked instant couscous sold in boxes at your local grocery store.  Since I’ve never been a huge rice lover, I use couscous in many ways: as a side dish alongside a piece of broiled salmon, as a main dish mixed with mushrooms and grilled chicken, or as a snack with feta cheese and kalamata olives. 
The name couscous comes from the Maghreb dish “couscoussiere” where the semolina is steamed in the top part of a special pot and chunks of lamb or chicken, vegetables, chickpeas and raisins simmer in the bottom part.  This recipe for the perfect summer couscous salad is derived from the idea of this dish. I also added some fresh mint from my garden to give it a fresh flavorful kick. 
Fairytale Couscous Salad

1 box of Near East whole wheat couscous
2 large grilled chicken breasts, diced
1/4 cup raisins
1 cup reduced fat feta cheese
½ cup of green or kalamata olives, sliced
1/4 cup of diced red onion
1/4 cup of chopped fresh mint (or 1/8 cup of dried mint)

1/4 cup olive oil
3/4 teaspoon of cumin
salt and pepper
juice of 1 ½ lemons

Prepare the couscous according to the directions on the box (usually its 1 ½ cups of boiling water over couscous with a drop or two of olive oil.) Add in the raisins.  Remove from heat and let cool.  Once it has cooled, add the diced chicken, feta cheese, olives, onion and mint.  In a separate small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, cumin, salt and pepper and lemon juice.  Pour over the couscous salad and mix well.  Enjoy! (Can be made the night before – just chill in refrigerator and reserve the dressing for the next day.)