Greek Couscous & Chicken Salad

with olives and tomatoes

Thank jeebus that the heat wave is over and I can get back to my normal life. I’m alright sweating to death in July, but New York is supposed to still be pretty alright in June. Last weekend I thought I was going to pass out. But, everything is right in the world because it’s Thursday, and that means Hannibal is on. It is my absolute new favorite thing. Kramer and I can’t get enough. Every night, after we’ve done everything we need to do, gone to the gym, made dinner, whatever, and finally sit down on the couch, we lament the fact that it is not yet Thursday and there is no new Hannibal to watch. Is it weird to get so involved in a television show? Not for us. I’ve gotten as many people hooked on the show as possible so we can speculate with them as to what is going to happen, although I suppose we have some idea (or do we). Summer is usually a wasteland for good dramas, but we still have three episodes of Hannibal left, and I am going to savor them like Hannibal would a nice plate of liver with fava beans and a nice chianti. I’m even reading Red Dragon right now, at the suggestion of a friend who loves the books, so obviously the next step are the other books. I think I will have plenty to do this summer. I know that you were super worried about my after-work free time. Well, fear not. I’ve got my books and my stories, and for now, the ability to leave my windows open all day to let a little bit of a breeze come in.

Greek Couscous & Chicken SaladProspect Park this past weekend.
Anyway, the other day Kramer and I took a pasta making class at The Brooklyn Kitchen before my parents got into town. It was a lot of fun! I’ve made pasta before, but you can always be better at something and hey, there was glass upon glass of red wine included, so who was I to say no? We actually got a gift certificate from Kramer’s dad to attend a class, so thanks, Jay! We had a blast. It only took us so long to go because it seems everyone else also got a gift certificate and classes were sold out until now (plus I wanted to find a Friday night class so I could eat and drink to my heart’s content). We made fettucini and ravioli, and I definitely learned exactly what to look for when kneading my dough and rolling it out. Hopefully I’ll have some time before it gets too humid again to show you what I learned!

Greek Couscous & Chicken Salad

Last week, though, when it was sweltering, this is what I made on Sunday for Kramer and I to eat for lunch during the week. I made a massive pot of it and we tore through it happily. I poached the chicken breasts in water and spices, then removed them and cooked the couscous in the leftover broth of lots of flavor. To that, I added kalamata olives (side note: autocorrect suggested ‘Kalamazoo’ for kalamata, hah!), grape tomatoes, feta cheese, cucumbers, and bell peppers, with a generous pour of extra virgin olive oil, of course, and a large pinch of fleur de sel. I felt full and satisfied after a nice, cold serving of this each day at work. Some days I put it over a green salad, other days I ate it as it, and some days I even drenched it in a little nice balsamic vinegar – the couscous soaks it up and becomes even more delicious. I’m always trying to make our brown bags a little more interesting while still keeping some semblance of a healthy, well balanced meal. I’m pretty sure that this did the trick, and it keeps well for at least a week, so make a big batch and see for yourself.

Greek Couscous & Chicken SaladKramer and I at our pasta class, Morgan and I discussing how great Hannibal is, and my weapons against my sick day on Monday.
Greek Couscous & Chicken Salad
So, on to the salad.

Greek Couscous & Chicken SaladGreek Couscous & Chicken SaladGreek Couscous & Chicken Salad
Poach your chicken breasts, then cook the cous cous in the leftover broth.

Greek Couscous & Chicken Salad
Toss the cooked and cooled quinoa with your vegetables, chopped chicken, and feta cheese.

Greek Couscous & Chicken Salad

 

Greek Couscous & Chicken Salad
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4-6
 
A light, healthy summer lunch or dinner of couscous, feta cheese, chicken, olives, and more.
Ingredients
For the Chicken:
  • 3 chicken breasts
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
For the Couscous:
  • 2-3 cups reserved chicken broth
  • 2 cups couscous
  • 3-4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 5 stalks of scallions, thinly sliced
  • 2 bell peppers, diced
  • 1 cucumber, halved and sliced
  • 1½ cups cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
  • ½ cup kalamata olives
  • ½ cup feta cheese, crumbled
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
Instructions
  1. First, prepare your chicken. Combine your spices and rub them all over the chicken. In a large pan, heat two tablespoons of olive oil over medium-high heat and add in the chicken breasts. Cook on each side for 5 minutes, then cover with just enough water and bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook the chicken for an additional 15-20 minutes. Once the chicken is cooked, remove it from the water and reserve 4 cups of the chicken broth water.
  2. Add 2 cups of the broth back to the pot and bring to a boil. Add in the couscous, stir to combine, and remove the pot from the heat. Stir, cover, and allow to sit undisturbed for 10-15 minutes. Taste the couscous and if it's not tender yet, add a tablespoon or two more water, stir, and cover for another 5 minutes. When the couscous is tender, drizzle with 3-4 tablespoons of olive oil and fluff lightly with a fork. Fold in the scallions, bell peppers, cucumbers, tomatoes, olives, feta, salt, pepper flakes, and ground black pepper. Taste and add more spices or olive oil if needed. Chop up your chicken and add it to the couscous. Keep in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

 

7 Responses

  1. Tieghan says:

    I love coucous! This salad looks perfect!

  2. Pauline says:

    Couscous is such a nice alternative to our usual grains, love it!

  3. A gift certificate for a pasta class sounds fantastic! Couscous is a nice alternative to a regular Greek salad…yum :)

  4. RK says:

    This looks like a wonderful salad to have in the fridge for my son…now that school’s out. I am always hesitant to poach chicken, since sometimes the chicken turns out tough. I will try your technique!

  5. It’s so nice to make a dish and be able to eat it all week! The flavors in this sound so bright and fresh. The pasta class sounds like a blast. Fresh pasta is on my to do list.

  6. Sylvie says:

    I was literally thinking this afternoon about my next week of work lunches and considered a couscous salad. This one looks deliciously fresh and so easy!

  7. […] The recipe I used: The Crepes of Wrath […]

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