Looking for a quick, easy, refreshing side dish (or make-ahead lunch)? Look no further. This dish comes together in less than 20 minutes and keeps in the fridge for days (although I doubt it will last that long).
(Makes about 4 servings)
1 cup pearl (also called Israeli) cous cous
1 tablespoon each unsalted butter and extra virgin olive oil (optional)
1 1/4 cup water
1 medium cucumber
1/2 pint grape or cherry tomatoes
1/4 medium red onion
2-4 garlic cloves
Zest from 1 lemon
1 bunch Italian (also called flat leaf) parsley
Juice from 2-3 lemons (depending on how juicy your lemons are and/or how lemony you want the dish to be)
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and pepper to taste
Optional first step: Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the tablespoon of olive oil and the cous cous, along with a pinch of salt, and stir constantly until the cous cous is lightly toasted. This step is unecessary but adds a bunch of flavor to the end product.
Bring 1 1/4 cup water to a boil. If you toasted the cous cous, add the boiling water to the cous cous. If you didn't toast the cous cous, add it to your boiling water. Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring frequently, for 8-10 minutes until the water has been absorbed and the cous cous is done. It's pasta, so al dente is standard, but if you like softer pasta then you do you, my friend! Spread the cous cous onto a large plate and place in the refrigerator to cool.
While the cous cous is chilling, prepare your other ingredients. Seed and cut your cucumber into 1/2-inch pieces. Slice your tomatoes in half. Cut your onion into small dice (or mince it as I do since my husband doesn't really like the flavor of raw onion). Mince your garlic. Chop your parsley. Combine it all, along with your lemon zest and juice, in a large bowl. Stir gently to combine. Add the cooled cous cous and the olive oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Serve with grilled chicken or shrimp or just inhale directly from the mixing bowl. This is a no-judgment zone.