Don’t go to the grocery store hungry, they say. They’re totally right … but I do it anyway. All the time. Yesterday, I found myself at Whole Foods with a cart full of goodies I didn’t come for. Delicious samples + growling stomach = yikes at the checkstand.
But sometimes the result of hungry sampling is a good thing. Last week I found myself trying some Israeli Couscous and Lentil Salad at my beloved Central Market. It was so good I just had to make some as SOON as I got home. So I circled the grocery store, rounded up the ingredients, headed home, and made this.
You start with tender green lentils and springy Israeli couscous. Then you toss in salty kalamata olives, fresh Italian parsley, juicy cherry or grape tomatoes (I chose a yellow variety for this version), and chopped red onion. Stir it all together with a lemony balsamic vinegar dressing, then top with feta cheese.
The briny olives and salty feta are the perfect complement to the sweet tomatoes and zingy onions. The lentils just soak up all the wonderful flavors of the dressing – plus they stealthily give you a great kick of protein, helping to make this a complete meal all on its own. And I just love the texture the Israeli couscous brings to the table.
It’s especially good when you’re super-hungry, but also pretty dang delicious when you’re not.
Make ahead tip
For best flavor, let the salad sit in the fridge for awhile before serving. And it’s even better a day or two after making it.
Israeli Couscous and Green Lentil Salad
- 1 cup French green lentils
- 1 cup Israeli couscous
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes (halved)
- 1 cup chopped kalamata olives
- 3/4 cup diced red onion
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
- 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar
- 2 garlic cloves (chopped (about 2 teaspoons))
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
- Fill a medium saucepan with about six cups of water and bring to a boil. Rinse lentils under cold water then add to the saucepan. Return to a boil then reduce to low and cover. Simmer for 10 minutes, add the couscous. Cook couscous and lentils together for an additional 10 minutes, until lentils are tender but not falling apart, and couscous is al dente.
- Strain lentils and couscous and rinse well with cold water. In a large bowl, toss together the lentils, couscous, tomatoes, kalamata olives, red onion, and parsley.
- Make the dressing. In a blender or food processor, blend together the balsamic vinegar, lemon juice, Dijon mustard, garlic cloves, sugar, and olive oil. Pour dressing over salad and toss to coat. Season to taste with salt and pepper and sprinkle with feta cheese.