Mediterranean Israeli Couscous w/ Cherry Tomatoes

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“Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass on a summer day listening to the murmur of water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is hardly a waste of time.” – Sir John Lubbock 

I woke up at 9:45am this morning and had a full-blown panic attack. How could I let myself sleep in so late on my day off? I have a million things to do today and now I am late! Great. I brushed my teeth with angst, turned on the Keurig, slammed my coffee while it burned on the way down, and then proceeded to tackle my list while my hands shook with anxiousness (or maybe it was the caffeine). Not a good start. No bueno amigos.

I often wonder how time flies by at, what seems to feel like, warp speed. How is it mid-June already? I am going to attribute this faster-than-light propulsion, at which we tend to live our lives, to one simple fact; we never allow ourselves the time to just stand still. I feel as though we plan tasks, events, and dates one after another, after another. I have realized that the only way I truly allow myself rest is when I happen to come down with a sickness that knocks me straight onto my bum. It is really only then, that I resist the urge to fill my entire day with to-do’s and I finally succumb to the fact that it is ok to let go. Rest is good people. We need to concede to the calmness. And, when I say we, I really mean me. Maybe, if I write these words I will actually believe them and pay attention to them. I am trying convince myself, you see. I shouldn’t have let myself be upset for the fact that I slept in, instead I should have relished in the achievement of actually sleeping. Rest is not idleness, it is time well-spent for the health of our minds, bodies, and souls.

My girlfriend at work was the first to share this recipe with me. She brought it as her lunch one day and I fell in love with combination of flavors. I often make this on Monday’s for a healthy snack to last me throughout the week. The flavors only get better too, the longer it sits in the fridge. Sometimes, I add canned tuna for a bit of protein and other times I serve it over a spinach salad with toasted pine nuts and red pepper flakes. It is always a winner for entertaining too. I have doubled the recipe and served it at several luncheons and showers and it always seems to be the favorite.  The secret ingredient is the garlic-infused olive oil drizzle that finishes the salad. It adds the perfect pungent flavor to round it out. It is only a small amount but so worth it!!

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Mediterranean Israeli Couscous w/ Cherry Tomatoes {Vegetarian}

Prep time: 10 minutes, Cook time: 15 minutes

1 80z box Israeli couscous

2 1/4 cups hot water

3-4 TBSP extra virgin olive oil, divided

1 lemon, juice and zest

8oz cherry tomatoes, halved

3 green onions, green & white parts chopped

packed 1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped

1 tsp sea salt

1/2 tsp pepper

1/4 cup herbed crumbled feta cheese

1 tsp garlic infused olive oil

1. In a large stockpot heat 1 TBSP of the olive oil over medium heat. Add the coucous and toast until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add 2 1/4 cups of hot water, bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cover for about 10 minutes or until all the water is absorbed. Remove from the heat and place the couscous in a large bowl to cool.

2. Add the other 2 TBSP of olive oil and the lemon juice and zest to the couscous and stir to combine. Add the chopped basil, green onions, tomatoes, salt, and pepper and mix well. To finish the salad top with crumbled feta and the garlic infused olive oil. Taste and adjust seasonings (I added a teeny bit more salt. Add more olive oil here if you like).

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