Cake, Batter, and Bowl

Avocado Ranch Israeli Couscous Salad

Main Dishes

I’m not a huge main dish salad fan. It seems like whenever I just have greens with veggies and protein for lunch, I end up with a grumbling tummy only a couple hours later. My outlook recently changed after a lab potluck though. Sima brought in a lovely spinach salad topped with Israeli couscous and chicken mixed with a variety of goodies. I loved it and felt like the extra carbs on top turned it into a complete and satisfying meal. Of course, I had to put my own twist on the idea and here is the result!

I mixed some spiced up shrimp with the Israeli couscous, red pepper, corn, black beans, and grape tomatoes. For the dressing, I pulsed an avocado and some ranch dressing in my food processor until it was smooth, which ended up being quite tasty. Since the salad was just for us, I mixed all the dressing with the couscous and then placed it atop the undressed spinach. When we mixed the couscous with the spinach, I thought we got the perfect amount of dressing, but you could also serve the dressing on the side so everyone can add as much as they’d like.  Definitely lunch worthy!

Avocado Ranch Israeli Couscous Salad
Printable Recipe

Ingredients:

Shrimp:
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon ancho chile powder
1 teaspoon adobo sauce from chipotle peppers
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 pound peeled and deveined shrimp

Israeli Couscous:
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 red onion, chopped
1 red pepper, chopped
1 1/3 cups Israeli Couscous (1 8-ounce box from Trader Joe’s)
1 3/4 cups low sodium chicken broth

Dressing:
1 avocado, peeled and pitted
1/2 cup ranch dressing
1/2 teaspoon salt

Salad Assembly:
1 1/2 cups cooked corn
1 can 15.5-ounce black beans, rinsed and drained
1 pint grape tomatoes, chopped in half
10 ounces fresh baby spinach leaves

Directions:
To make the shrimp, place butter, honey, ancho chile powder, adobo sauce, and salt in a medium bowl and mix well. Add shrimp and mix until well covered. Heat a nonstick pan over medium high heat and place shrimp in the pan; saute for 3 minutes or until shrimp are opaque and cooked through. Remove shrimp with slotted spoon and place in a large bowl.

To make the couscous, heat canola oil over medium high heat in a large saucepan; add onion and red pepper and saute for 5 to 7 minutes or until tender. Add couscous and saute 2 minutes or until light brown. Add chicken broth to the pan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, put on lid, and simmer for 8 minutes or until broth is absorbed and couscous is tender. Put couscous in the bowl with the shrimp.

To make the dressing, place avocado, ranch dressing, and salt in a food processor and pulse until smooth. Place dressing in the bowl with the shrimp and couscous.

To assemble the salad, place corn, black beans, and grape tomatoes in the bowl with the shrimp, couscous, and dressing, and mix well. Place spinach leaves on a large platter and arrange couscous on top. Makes 6 servings.

Nutrition: 530 calories, 21.0g fat, 8.7g fiber, 27.1g protein per serving
Cost: $2.72 per serving

Southwestern Pepper Jack Mac & Cheese

Can you believe I never had mac & cheese growing up? I was actually first introduced to the blue box in college by my good friend Susie. We lived together the summer in between our sophomore and junior years and used to come home from our respective labs during...

Cumin Rubbed Salmon with a Fresh Corn and Red Pepper Sauce

Apolinaras kept popping his head in the kitchen last night while I was prepping dinner because he was so excited we were having salmon. Apparently he thought a little cheering from the sidelines would hurry things along because he kept doing little dances to amuse me....

Shrimp Fried Rice with Edamame, Corn, and Red Pepper Succotash

I'm back from San Diego and it was quite the trip! I'm already looking forward to going through my pictures and posting a recap this weekend, but for now, all I want to do is curl up and go to sleep. For some reason I thought it would be a great idea to take the...

Gnocchi with Pancetta, Mushrooms, and Gruyere

Apolinaras and I finally checked out Foundry on Elm, a newish hot spot in our neighborhood, on one of our recent date nights. It was packed on the Tuesday evening we went and we could see why after we tried the creative cocktails. Mine was called the Bee’s Knees and...

Goat Cheese Risotto with Yellow Squash and Zucchini

It’s Wednesday night, and if all goes well, this post will go live on Friday. I’m leaving for San Diego early tomorrow morning for another work conference and thought I’d see how the scheduled post function works! Hopefully by the time you’re reading this, I’ll be all...

Peanut Sauce Pasta with Chicken and Broccoli

My hubby found the lid of our food processer in the recycling today. How in the world did it get in there?!? Luckily he noticed it before emptying our bin on the curb and disaster was avoided. I haven’t gotten enough sleep this week, and apparently it caught up with...

Farfalle with Mushrooms and Goat Cheese Sauce

This pasta has Apolinaras’ name written all over it. I guess you could call him my muse from time to time. He looooves mushrooms and was so happy when I encouraged him to go ahead and put the pricey fresh shitakes in the grocery cart the other day. When I told him I...

Walnut Crusted Pineapple Chicken

The last part of our trip was spent on the Lithuanian coast in several resort towns by the Baltic Sea. We were there pretty early in the season so it was still a bit chilly at the beach and I just got my feet wet, although Apolinaras actually swam a couple of days! We...