Sautéed zucchini and asparagus are piled on top of cauliflower couscous filled with Mediterranean favorites like fresh herbs, garlic, sun-dried tomatoes and Kalamata olives.
It’s usually around this time of year that my meals become increasingly lighter, fresher and quick to prepare. I have no patience for slow cooked meals or lengthy prep times when it’s hot out. What I want is something that’s light but with enough heft to leave me feeling full and takes a minimal amount of effort, which is where this Mediterranean cauliflower couscous salad comes into play.
When it comes to salads I prefer mine heavy on the vegetables and light on the actual salad greens, if any at all, so cauliflower couscous has become a staple at my house. It’s so simple to make or buy and makes a wonderful base for all kinds of salads. Sometimes I’ll go to the trouble of roasting it but for the most part I use it raw so it retains all of its satisfying crunch.
You can make cauliflower couscous yourself fairly quickly in the food processor but to be honest I don’t even bother most of the time these days since finding it pre-riced at the store has become so easy, which is all well and good because that means even less time stands between me and my meal.
After you’ve got your grated cauliflower it’s simply a matter of tossing it together with a few olives, some sun-dried tomatoes and a good fistful of fresh herbs like chives, parsley and scallions to create the base of the salad. A simple lemon and olive oil vinaigrette is all that’s needed to round out the flavors.
Next up is a sauté of sliced zucchini and asparagus. It’s a quick endeavor requiring only one large skillet and less than 5 minutes. Into the skillet goes the olive oil, garlic, asparagus and zucchini along with a good pinch of salt and pepper which gets tossed around until just tender and caramelized. (A word of caution, choose zucchini that’s on the smaller, thinner side to avoid large spongy seeds in the center which will make your sauté soggy.)
What you end up with is a hearty vegetable-filled meal loaded with crunch and color that’s light but still filling and a great accompaniment to almost anything you might be serving this summer.