A nice low-calorie and light summer-like salad, my Minty Shrimp Couscous Salad is also a great option in winter for a brunch buffet. Not only can you take advantage of the great taste of fresh veggies and mint in the summer months, all ingredients are available year-round in most areas.
I love couscous and have eaten it prepared in many different ways — hot or cold, it’s a fantastic addition as a satisfying side dish or a harmonizing base to a salad or main course. Couscous is a staple grain in many parts of the world and graces many dinner tables here in the US.
In order to save time, and because I love this product, I purchase pre-cooked, peeled and deveined frozen shrimp in large packages at Whole Foods Markets. It’s a great product and easy to thaw if you follow the directions — just run cold water over the shrimp and they will defrost on their own. Of course, you can cook and chill your own shrimp for this dish.
Serve this salad over a bed of greens if you wish!
From the kitchen of A Food Lover’s Delight….
Minty Shrimp Couscous Salad
2 c couscous, cooked and cooled
1 cucumber, peeled and diced
2 ripe tomatoes, diced
1 green bell pepper, cored, seeded, sliced thinly, and cut into 1 inch long pieces
2 scallions, sliced thinly, tops included
1 rib celery, sliced thinly
1/2 c fresh mint, leaves only, chopped finely
1/2 c lemon juice
1/2 c olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
salt and pepper to taste
24 shrimp, peeled, deveined, cooked and chilled (6 shrimp per person)
Sprigs of mint or lemon slices for garnish
1. Mix together the cooled couscous, cucumber, tomato, bell pepper, scallions, celery, and mint.
2. Whisk together the lemon juice and olive oil with the garlic. Season with salt and pepper.
3. Pour 3/4 of the dressing over the couscous mixture. Reserve the remaining 1/4 of dressing and refrigerate.
4. Chill salad for 6 hours or overnight to allow flavors to meld.
5. Remove the salad from the refrigerator and divide amongst four plates.
6. Toss the chilled shrimp in the reserved dressing.
7. Arrange six shrimp on top of the salad on each plate.
8. Garnish with a mint sprig or lemon slice.
Serves 4. Salad is best served chilled. If using as part of a buffet, place salad in a serving bowl with shrimp arranged on top of salad. Garnish the buffet bowl with a few lemon slices.
Variations: Can substitute chicken for the shrimp or omit the shrimp completely. I’ve also substituted chunks of poached salmon for the shrimp for an elegant ladies luncheon dish (men love it, too!). For a different flavor, add chopped cilantro instead of the mint. Use sundried tomato if you don’t have fresh tomato available. Add tiny poached asparagus tips if available in your area. Garnish with toasted pine nuts. Serve over a bed of arugula or other greens.
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