Wow September is flying! I feel as though I will wake up and it'll be November soon. Things have been busier than expected, but September has been good so far. I am lucky to live in Toronto which, unlike other parts of Canada, actually has an autumn. September and October bring vibrant leaves and a plethora of amazing produce. This means that well into September I have access to an amazing late summer harvest that includes tomatoes, eggplant, peppers, apples and pears.
It's so easy to eat in season this time of year. Even though the days are getting shorter, healthy salads are still a good lunchtime option due to the amount of vegetables that are available. However these days I am making heartier salads as opposed to lighter lettuce based ones. Kale, pasta, quinoa and couscous are now making regular appearances and mixed baby greens are sitting on the sidelines. I am determined to think outside the box and find robust, flavorful options that are satisfying even when there is a slight chill in the air. I am not ready to make the switch to soups and stews quite yet.
This salad utilizes the late September bounty that can be found in farmers markets and grocery stores. I am calling it a "salad" but really this is a chilled grain bowl. It could even be the starchy side dish of a meal. It can be eaten hot or cold depending on your mood or the weather. If you are having it chilled it tastes great when you mix in some arugula. The veggies can be roasted the day before you need them if you think that you'll be short on time. When it is all mixed together the salad can last about 3 days or so in the fridge which makes this a great dish for potlucks or packed lunches. If you would like to add some protein to this chopped chicken breast works well, or my personal favorite is adding a can of chickpeas.
Roasted Vegetable Couscous Salad
1 Eggplant, Diced
2 Zucchini, Diced
1 Red Pepper, Diced
1 Large Tomato, Cut into Wedges
2-3 TBSP Canola Oil
1 Cup Whole Wheat Couscous, Unprepared
1 Cup Water
2 Ounces Crumbled Feta
0.25 Cup Olive Oil
2 TBSP Apple Cider Vinegar
1 TBSP Chopped Garlic
2 TBSP Roasted Sunflower Seeds (optional)
To start heat your oven to 350 degrees
Prepare your veggies for roasting by tossing them in canola oil, salt and pepper
Spread all the vegetables in a thin layer on baking tray and cook for about 25 minutes or until they are nice and soft. Set aside.
When the tomatoes are cool enough to handle chop them into a big dice. Set aside.
Boil your water
Pour the boiling water over the couscous and cover.
Let side for 5 minutes then fluff with a fork. Set aside.
To prepare the dressing mix the olive oil, vinegar and garlic together. Add salt and pepper if necessary.
To assemble your salad simply mix the veggies, couscous, dressing and feta together. Top with sunflower seeds if you are using them.