I travel a lot, but I’ve never been away from home for over five weeks before. Traveling is always a fantastic experience, but after awhile, I think most of us start to miss home. The unpacking, repacking and moving around can get a little tiresome. Sometimes, I just want to be able to wear my sweatpants and whip up something in my kitchen.
Luckily, this past week, we spent the last few days of our adventure down under were in Rotorua, an inland town in New Zealand that’s fairly low key. Here, we were lucky enough to stay with a friend and although it was not my house, we did treat her kitchen like it was mine!
Amoung the different dishes we cooked up, one of them was this tasty riff on a tabouli salad. Since spring is almost here, this salad with grilled vegetables and the tangy chimichurri sauce (which you could also use to put on any grilled meat, so awesome!) is bright and light. Totally appropriate for a warm, sunny day.
I have gained a few pounds while eating traveling too, so this may just become a staple in my diet for the next couple months! Anyway…
What you’ll need…
1 clove garlic
1 lemon (zest and juice)
1 TBSP fresh parsley
1 TBSP fresh oregano
1 TBSP fresh rosemary
1 TBSP fresh mint
1 TBSP olive oil
salt and pepper
1 small eggplant (1? sliced)
1 red pepper (halved, seeds removed)
1 red onion (halved)
1 tomato (1? sliced)
1 bunch scallions
4 cups cooked couscous
1/2 cucumber (approximately 2 cups, 1/2? cubed)
1/2 cup kalamata olives (pitted, chopped)
1 TBSP lemon juice
1 TBSP white wine vinegar
salt and pepper
To whip up the chimichurri sauce, all you need to do is combine all ingredients in a food processor and puree until it forms a chunky paste – You can puree it until very fine, but I found when leaving it a bit more chunky, it mixed in with the couscous a bit easier. Season generously with salt and pepper and set aside for now.
Is it barbecue weather yet? If yes, drissle some olive oil on the first 5 ingredients and grill on a preheated barbecue until they’ve got some nice grill marks on them, about 1-2 minutes per side. If not, preheat your oven to 425 degrees and roast the vegetables for 20 minutes, turning over once. Remove from grill/oven and let cool for a few minutes.
Give all of the vegetables a rough chop and place into a large mixing bowl. Add the remaining ingredients into the bowl, along with the chimichurri sauce and give the salad a good toss. Finally, give it one last season with salt and pepper, if needed and let chill in the refrigerator until you’re ready to serve.
Let the salad sit for at least 20 minutes or so, so the flavours have some time to intermingle. Enjoy!
Dan Clapson is a food writer and culinary instructor based out of Calgary. He is constantly creating new recipes and striving to expand his culinary horizons. He thinks yam fries are overrated.