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Healthy Couscous Salad


For the past month, I have been forced to take a hard look at my lifestyle choices. It's not that I haven't been keeping an eye on my sugar and fat intake all these years. But being the foodie that I am, it is easy to get distracted by a new restaurant, or yet another fabulous dessert. Alas, those options are starting to look like a distant pipedream.

But instead of giving up on eating out and exciting foods, here's what I am doing - being sensible! Yes, I order fewer milkshakes and lots more glasses of sparkling water with lime. But I am also creating some exciting new salads and soups and healthy dishes. This is one of those new experiments that make me almost excited about eating healthy.

The base of this salad is pearl couscous (also called Israeli couscous). Now that I am counting calories, I measured out 2 tbsp. of dried pasta and cooked it as per package directions. To the cooked, drained and now fluffy couscous grains, I added a handful of cooked chickpeas. I usually have cooked chickpeas hanging out in the fridge because I make hummus so often but this is a flexible salad, so you can add any canned or cooked beans you have handy.

This is also a season when all kinds of heirloom tomato varieties show up and one of them - the black tomatoes - were perfect additions to this salad. For flavour pickup, I added leaves of thai basil. Then instead of an oil heavy dressing, I sprinkled sea salt, pepper and sumac on the salad, then doused the whole thing with balsamic vinegar.

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