Lunch is an oft-neglected meal, isn’t it? People are always busy during the day, so they either go out or eat a sandwich they slapped together in the morning. But folks, it doesn’t have to be that way, and summer is the perfect time to start thinking about your lunch options.
Like pasta/rice/grainy salads. They’re a big time summer thing for me and I have a couple of favorites. This is the first. It’s a blend of couscous, chicken, grapes and scallions (oh, and toasted almonds, which I forgot to add this time around) mixed with a mustard vinaigrette. Sounds like a truly strange combination doesn’t it? I found the recipe somewhere and made it on a whim one day. I wasn’t expecting much, and was so pleasantly surprised to taste the results. It’s a great mix of flavors and textures, and it really is the perfect weekday lunch. I don’t think it has a name. Maybe couscous with chicken and grapes? Weak. Any better ideas? No matter what you call them, start playing around with lunchtime salads. I make mine over the weekend and enjoy them for lunch all week long.
- 2 C chicken stock (low sodium)
- 2 C couscous
- 1 T olive oil or butter
- 1 – 1 1/2 C chopped chicken
- 4 scallions, diced (green and white parts)
- 1 C grapes, halved
- 1/4 – 1/2 C toasted almonds
- 3 T mustard (I use Grey Poupon)
- 1/4 C olive oil
Cook the couscous by boiling the chicken broth and T of olive oil or butter. Remove from heat, pour in the couscous, cover and let sit for 5 minutes.
*Time Out* When I’m by myself, I often stop here, grate in 8 million pounds of Parmesan cheese and eat just plain couscous for lunch. It’s fabulous, and oh-so buttery with all that cheese. *Time In*
Fluff with a fork and spoon into a large bowl. I always do this over the sink as couscous is small and tends to stray. Add the chicken, scallions, grapes and almonds.
In a small bowl, whisk together the mustard, olive oil, salt and pepper. Pour over the couscous and toss to coat. You can do this in advance and let the dressing really sink in. The flavors will start to come together and the dish only gets better with a day in the fridge.