Happy Labor Day everyone! I hope you are all enjoying your holiday weekend. As you are reading this post I’m either getting ready to start my 2nd half marathon of the summer, in the middle of running it, or if you’re sleeping in I’ll have completed it. How are you spending your Labor Day? Hopefully whatever your plans are they are fun and involve family, friends, and lots of delicious food! I know I’ll be craving lots of food when my race is over, including this fresh and super yummy Caprese Couscous Salad.
If you are a fan of caprese salads, then you will absolutely love this version with pearl couscous (also called Israeli couscous) in it. A few weeks ago, Bob’s Red Mill generously sent me a few of their products to try out and this Whole Wheat Pearl Couscous was one of them. I’ve always been a fan of couscous, especially the pearl kind. I love the texture and the size of it. Pearl couscous makes a delicious side dish on it’s own with some herbs tossed in for flavor or you can add it into a salad like I did with this one. Bob’s Red Mill makes a delicious and healthy whole wheat version which made me very happy. I loved the nutty flavor that the whole wheat gave the couscous, not to mention I felt better having that second serving of the Caprese Couscous Salad knowing I was eating whole grains.
The other components of this salad are of course the usual suspects, tomatoes, mini fresh mozzarella balls often referred to as bocconcini, and basil. I was extra excited about making this salad because I was able to use the cherry tomatoes and basil from my garden! One of my favorite parts about this salad was probably the dressing. I decided to make a basil vinaigrette since I have such an abundance of basil. The vinaigrette was a combination of fresh basil, rice wine vinegar, grapeseed oil, dijon mustard, garlic, honey, salt, and pepper. I blended it all together in my blender so it was nice and smooth. The smell of the vinaigrette when I lifted the lid was incredible! So sweet and fresh from the basil, I knew it would be the perfect dressing for this salad. I ended up only needing about half of the vinaigrette for the salad which worked out well because I used the leftovers throughout the week on top of sautéed vegetables. The vinaigrette is slightly sweet and a little tangy from the rice wine vinegar and dijon. It compliments the simple fresh flavors of the salad perfectly!
This salad is great as a side dish with some grilled chicken or burgers, but it is also hearty enough to be eaten on it’s own if you prefer a vegetarian meal. It comes together quickly and will make an excellent addition to one last BBQ or picnic before summer slips away and the cool temperatures of fall take it’s place.