I’m growing beets in my garden this summer, and it was time to thin the seedlings. That meant I had lots of greens to eat. Earlier in the week I got some zucchinis and portobello mushrooms at the store to form the veggie base for my salad. All I needed to decide on was the starch and protein.
My mint is growing like mad on my balcony, so I wanted to add some to my salad. With mint as the main herb flavor I decided to go Mediterranean for this salad, and use Israeli couscous as the starch. To tie the flavors together, I coated some chicken tenders in cumin and pan-sauteed them. A light dressing of olive oil, lemon juice and apple cider vinegar finished things off.
The toasted couscous tastes wonderful against the bright Mediterranean flavors. Baby beet greens are a revelation, too. They are somehow even more tender than baby spinach. Of course, baby beet greens aren’t available at the store. It’s still fine to eat full-size beet greens raw, however. Simply select the smallest of the greens from your bunch of beets, and cut out the center stem. Then cut the greens into thin ribbons.
The proportions for this salad will serve two for dinner.
- 2/3 cup Israeli couscous
- 3 cups baby beet greens, or the greens from one cluster of beets
- 3 medium zucchini
- 2 large portobello mushrooms or 6 smaller “stuffing” portobellos
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes
- 1/2 medium red onion or 1 shallot
- 5 chicken tenders
- 1/2 cup mint leaves, cut into ribbons
- Cumin, salt and pepper, for seasoning the chicken
- Juice from half a lemon
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
Step 1. Melt a tablespoon of butter and toast the couscous in a small pot over medium heat until the grains begin to brown, about 5 minutes. Then add 7/8 cup water and simmer until the water has evaporated, about 10 minutes.
Step 2. Cook the necessary salad ingredients. Season the portobello caps with salt and pepper and roast in the oven (or toaster oven) until soft and juicy, about 20 minutes. Slice the zucchini into rounds and saute until cooked, about 10 minutes. Slice the tomatoes and leave them raw; saute the onion or shallot. Finally, brown the chicken tenders.
Step 4. Toss all of the salad ingredients together except for the the beet greens. Whisk together the salad dressing ingredients and adjust to your palate. Pour over the salad ingredients and toss again.
To plate, lay out a bed of greens, then cover with the remaining salad ingredients.