Mediterranean Chicken Couscous Salad

Calling this dish a salad is a bit of a misnomer. It is more of a substantial meal in a bowl,  bursting  with flavors and textures.  I first enjoyed it at my friend Jodi’s, where every bite surprised and delighted,  prompting me  and to ask for the recipe.  Why did it take me several years then, to try making it?   Well, there are a lot of ingredients in the recipe and one has to plan accordingly before making it.   It can’t just be thrown together.  The lemony basil  dressing is marvellous and it makes the dish.  Although it will seem laborious to execute, just think of it as a salad that will need baked chicken, roasted tomatoes, a steamed grain, that incredible homemade dressing and some toasted nuts to finish.  Once you have the components ready, the salad is easy to toss together. Because it feeds a crowd and holds up well, it is a great choice to take to a party.  If you are in need of a salad makeover, this dish will shake up the old school chicken salad, delight your guests and have them teying to guess what makes it so tasty.

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Mediterranean Chicken Couscous Salad

  • Servings: 8
  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Print

INGREDIENT LIST:

4 lemons

2 packages of basil leaves

1 package of chives

5-8 boneless chicken breasts

2 green onions or chives, chopped, for the chicken

2 packages of grape tomatoes

1 c chopped kalamata olives

1/2 c capers

1 c currants

1 box of couscous or farro or quinoa

1 bag of pine nuts, about 8 oz

1 big bag of lettuce greens or 2 small bags

1 shallot

Dijon, olive oil, honey, salt and pepper

First came the chicken:

Season 5-8 chicken breasts with olive oil, sea salt and fresh chopped chives or green onions.  Bake 20 minutes at 425F.  Cool, shred with your hands into bite size pieces. Can be made a couple of days ahead.

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Roast those tomatoes:

Wash and  dry 2 packages of grape tomatoes, toss with olive oil and sea salt.  Lay out on a sheet pan and broil until charred and the flesh is popping open.  Save all those delicious juices.  Just looking at those gorgeous orbs, you know how great they are going to taste!

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Rock the grains:

Cook up a box of your favorite grains.  Jodi likes couscous. I chose a tricolored quinoa.  Can be made in advance a day or so.

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Dress it up:

In  a blender, combine the zest of a lemon, juice of 2 large lemons, 1 shallot, 2 T Dijon, 2 T honey, 1 c olive oil, a whole package of basil leaves.  Pulse until a creamy consistency is achieved, sort of like a Green Goddess.

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The stuff that makes the salad legendary:

1 c kalamata olives, pitted and chopped; 1/2 c capers; 1 c currants; 1 package of basil leaves, chopped; 1 package of chives, chopped. Toast a  big bag of pine nuts, about 8 oz.  Reserve until the very end.

ASSEMBLY:

Toss the grains with the chicken, tomatoes, capers, olives, currants and chopped herbs.  Adjust salt and pepper seasoning, to taste. Add in a big bag of salad greens such as red leaf lettuce, spinach or bibb lettuces.

Toss with the dressing and top with the toasted pine nuts.  Squeeze the juice of a lemon to finish.  Not just delicious, this salad is gorgeous and ready to dazzle!  Worth the effort too!

(To print recipe without photos, please click the delete photos button at the end before printing.)

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19 thoughts on “Mediterranean Chicken Couscous Salad

  1. Gorgeous ingredients, beautiful salad Johanne – can’t wait to give this a go when the weather breaks, which seems to be just around the corner. I’ve missed your postings for a bit, haven’t seen you around these parts? I wanted to tell you what a great airline Porter turned out to be. So fancy schmancy, we even had real glasses for the wine we ordered on our one hour trip :). I see they fly to Timmins too, how handy for you 🙂

  2. Have made several of your recipes and loved them. This recipe was the inspiration for tonight’s dinner, improvised on the ingredients I didn’t have. Nonetheless, yummy! Thanks.

  3. Hi Johanne, This would be a great dish to bring to one of our community potlucks. There’s a lot involved, but nothing that’s difficult. the lemony basil dressing sounds so good. I like the addition of currants to the dish.

  4. Pingback: Tomatoes! | French Gardener Dishes

  5. Pingback: 15 Salads For Summer | French Gardener Dishes

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