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The sun has arrived in our fair city and is thus ushering in a time of year I fondly refer to as salad season. Our house is very old and poorly insulated which leads to a odd phenomenon where often during stretches of hot weather it is actually hotter inside our house than it is outside for days on end. As much as I love cooking, I just can’t do it when it is hot so I rely heavily on salads I can make in the early hours and that can sit in the fridge all day until dinner. This is such a salad.

Mediterranean Israeli Couscous Salad with Creamy Pesto

For the sauce:

3/4 cup softened cashews*

1 cup fresh basil leaves

1/2 cup unsweetened non-dairy milk

1 heaping Tbsp. miso

1/4 cup olive oil

1 Tbsp. nutritional yeast

Salt to taste

Blend all ingredients in a food processor or blender until smooth.

For the couscous:

2 cups Israeli Couscous

4 cups water

Bring couscous and water to a boil, reduce to a simmer and allow to cook for about 10 minutes or until water is absorbed. Drain and run under cool water. Set aside.

Combine the cooked and drained couscous with the sauce and add the following:

1/2 cup finely diced red onion

1- 15oz can of quartered artichoke hearts

1/2 cup roughly chopped kalamata olives

1/2 cup chopped cucumber

1-15 oz. can of canellini or garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained

1/2 cup chopped roasted bell peppers

Serve on a bed of salad greens and garnish with a few reserved basil leaves.

* cashews can be soaked overnight or brought to a boil with a couple cups of water, when water begins to boil remove from heat and let sit covered for about 10 minutes.