Bún Chả (Vietnamese Meatballs)

Bún chả (Vietnamese Meatballs) are simple, light, fresh, and perfect for a hot summer day or as a make-ahead meal.

The post Bún Chả (Vietnamese Meatballs) appeared first on Budget Bytes.

This light and fresh Bún Chả recipe features flavorful and juicy pork meatballs paired with vermicelli noodles and plenty of herbs and vegetables. Bún chả is light yet filling and it comes together effortlessly in a few straightforward steps. Served with a homemade dipping sauce, this refreshing recipe is perfect for a hot summer day or as a make-ahead meal.

Close up of Bún chả in a bowl with rice noodles and vegetables.

What is Bún Chả?

Growing up, I didn’t realize there was a name for these delicious juicy pork meatballs. They were just something my mom made for me because it was one of the five things that I was willing to eat without question. It’s a recipe that you can easily make, you can scale it up or down, and most importantly, it’s super flavorful. 

Bún chả, also known as Vietnamese pork meatballs with vermicelli noodles, is a popular Vietnamese dish that is thought to have originated in Hanoi. You can find them served anywhere from street food stalls to restaurants in Hanoi. While a popular lunchtime recipe, you can enjoy this recipe any time of the day. I love how refreshing the noodles, vegetables, and herbs are on a hot summer day. You can even find Anthony Bourdain and Barack Obama enjoying it on an episode of Parts Unknown!

What is fish sauce? 

Fish sauce is the secret ingredient of this entire recipe. It goes into the meatballs as well as the dipping sauce (nước chấm) and is an absolute umami bomb. It is a liquid condiment that is made from fermenting fish over time. It adds major savory, salty, and general deliciousness to the overall dish. You can find fish sauce in the international aisle in most grocery stores, or at an Asian grocer.

Bún chả being dipped in a bowl of sauce with ingredients on the sides.

What is lemongrass? 

Lemongrass is an aromatic herb that has a fragrant complex flavor that is bright and citrusy. You can purchase lemongrass fresh or frozen. I usually find frozen lemongrass at Asian grocers and like to stock up my freezer with them. If you can’t find lemongrass, lemon zest and some ginger could work in a pinch, but I highly recommend not substituting the lemongrass because it is key to achieving the authentic Vietnamese flavor profile.

When using fresh lemongrass, keep in mind that the bottom woody section should be discarded. I’ve been noticing more chain grocery stores carrying fresh lemongrass so you should be able to find it relatively easily. If not, check where the ginger paste is kept and you might find lemongrass paste instead for an easy swap!

How to store leftovers

This recipe is perfect for meal prepping! Store the rice noodles, veggies, and herbs in one container and the pork meatballs in another container. This makes reheating the meatballs much easier, especially at work. Everything should keep and stay fresh for up to 4 days when stored in an airtight container in the fridge. 

Tips for Making Bún Chả

  • Do not overpack the meatballs while shaping the meatballs as you do not want them to be dense. 
  • For uniformed meatballs, use a cookie scoop. This helps them cook evenly as well. You do not want to go any larger than around a golf ball’s size.
  • For the nước chấm, feel free to adjust the ingredients to suit your tastes. 
  • While I use a non-stick skillet, you can use a grilling pan or cast-iron skillet as well. 
  • When buying rice vermicelli noodles, make sure to double-check the ingredients. At first glance, they look similar to cellophane noodles but they are not the same.
Close up side view of Bún chả in a bowl with rice noodles and vegetables.
Close up side view of Bún chả in a bowl with rice noodles and vegetables.

Bún chả

Bún chả (Vietnamese Meatballs) are simple, light, fresh, and perfect for a hot summer day or as a make-ahead meal.
Course Dinner, Lunch, Main Course
Cuisine Vietnames
Total Cost $16.22 recipe / $4.06 serving
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 469kcal
Author Carmy Do

Ingredients

Meatballs

  • 1 lb. ground pork $4.49
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped $0.24
  • 1/4 cup chopped shallot $0.68
  • 4 Tbsp minced lemongrass $0.60
  • 2 Tbsp honey $0.24
  • 1 Tbsp fish sauce $0.23
  • 1 tsp salt $0.05
  • 1/4 tsp pepper $0.02

Dipping Sauce (​​Nuoc Cham)

  • 1/4 cup lime juice (about 2 limes) $1.20
  • 3/4 cup water $0.00
  • 3 Tbsp fish sauce $0.68
  • 1 Thai red chili pepper $0.10
  • 1 clove garlic, minced $0.08
  • 2 Tbsp sugar $0.02
  • 1 carrot, thinly sliced $0.16

Bowls

  • 8 oz. rice vermicelli noodles $2.99
  • 1 head butter lettuce $1.59
  • 1 handful fresh mint $2.19
  • 1 carrot, sliced $0.16
  • 1/2 cucumber, sliced $0.50

Instructions

For the Meatballs:

  • CHop the garlic and shallots, and mince the lemongrass.
  • In a large mixing bowl, mix together the pork, fish sauce, salt, pepper, honey, lemongrass, shallots, and garlic. Set the mixture aside for 1 to 2 hours in the fridge.
  • Shape the mixture into small meatballs (about 20 meatballs), and then gently flatten them a bit.
  • In a large skillet over medium heat, heat the oil and add the meatballs in a single layer. Cook the meatballs until they are golden and caramelized, around 2 to 3 minutes per side. Set the cooked meatballs aside.

For the Sauce:

  • Whisk the sauce ingredients together and adjust to your tastes. Optional: heat the water and whisk the sugar in to dissolve before adding the rest of the ingredients.

For the Bowls:

  • Prepare the vermicelli noodles according to package instructions (usually cook 2-3 minutes in a pot of boiling water).
  • Serve the noodles with the meatballs along with a handful of lettuce, mint, carrots, and cucumbers with the nuoc cham on the side.

Notes

Editor’s note: The prices listed above are from U.S. chain grocery stores. If you have an Asian market in your area you’ll be able to source ingredients like fish sauce, lemongrass, limes, Thai chilis, mint, and rice noodles for much cheaper and often with much higher quality.

Nutrition

Serving: 1bowl | Calories: 469kcal | Carbohydrates: 40g | Protein: 22g | Fat: 24g | Sodium: 2098mg | Fiber: 3g
Overhead view of Bún chả in a bowl with rice noodles and vegetables.

How to Make Bún chả – Step by Step Photos

Prepared aromatics for the meatballs on a cutting board.

First, prepare the aromatics for the meatballs. Mince three cloves of garlic, ¼ cup shallots, and 4 tablespoons lemongrass.

Meatball ingredients in a bowl.

Add the garlic, shallots, and lemongrass to a bowl with about one pound of ground pork, 2 Tablespoons of honey, 1 Tablespoon fish sauce, 1 teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Mix the ingredients together then set the mixture aside for 1 to 2 hours in the fridge so the flavors can blend.

Shaped meatballs in a casserole dish.

Shape the mixture into small meatballs, and then gently flatten them a bit. To help divide the mixture evenly, first, dive the meat into four equal pieces, then divide each quarter into five pieces to yield 20 meatballs.

Cooked meatballs in a skillet.

Heat a large skillet over medium. Once hot, add a tablespoon or two of cooking oil and swirl to coat. Add the meatballs to the hot skillet in a single layer. Cook the meatballs until they are golden and caramelized, around 2 to 3 minutes per side. Set the cooked meatballs aside.

Prepared dipping sauce in a small container with a whisk.

For the sauce, whisk together ¼ cup lime juice, ¾ cup water, 3 Tablespoons fish sauce, 1 minced clove of garlic, 1 finely chopped red chili, 2 Tablespoons of sugar, and some thinly sliced carrots (optional garnish). Taste the sauce and adjust the ingredients to your taste buds.

Cooked rice noodles draining in a sieve over a bowl.

Prepare the vermicelli noodles according to package instructions (they usually require cooking for 2-3 minutes in a pot of boiling water). Drain the noodles and set them aside.

Chopped vegetables on a cutting board.

Prepare the rest of the vegetables for your bowls. Slice a cucumber, slice a carrot into matchsticks, pull a handful of mint leaves from the stems, and wash some tender lettuce.

Finished Bún chả bowl from above.

Build the Bún chả bowls by adding the rice vermicelli noodles to a bowl along with some lettuce, cucumber, carrot, and Bún chả. Dip the Bún chả into the sauce, or drizzle a little over the bowl.

Bún chả in a bowl of dipping sauce.

SO fresh and so GOOD!

Overhead view of Bún chả in a bowl with noodles and vegetables, dipping sauce on the side.

The post Bún Chả (Vietnamese Meatballs) appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Panzanella

This panzanella salad is a quick and delicious way to use up day-old bread, ripe tomatoes, and other summer produce. For the ultimate convenience, you can even prep the ingredients ahead of time.

The post Panzanella appeared first on Budget Bytes.

My friends, don’t sleep on this simple Panzanella salad! It’s a quick and delicious way to use up day-old bread, ripe tomatoes, and other summer produce. For the ultimate convenience, you can even prep the ingredients ahead of time. What’s not to love?!?!

Overhead shot of panzanella salad in a white bowl.

What Is Panzanella?

Panzanella is a hearty Tuscan salad and an OG food waste recipe. It was created by Italian peasants to keep stale bread out of the trash and to use up garden produce before it spoiled. It can be made with almost any combination of fruits and veggies, but traditionally, the stars of the show are juicy summer tomatoes and crusty bread that’s had time to absorb the salad’s tangy dressing.

Ingredients You’ll Need

You’ll need some day-old bread, ripe tomatoes, some fresh greens, and any other summer fruit and veg you want to take advantage of. You can dress it with your favorite bottled dressing, or you can use our easy homemade balsamic vinaigrette. Beth and I added mozzarella pearls because, YES. Then we just drizzled it with a little olive oil and vinegar that we emulsified in a mason jar. (That’s just chef-speak for shaking the ever-living life out of it until the oil and vinegar transform into a creamy dressing.)

How Long Does Panzanella Last?

While it lives forever in my dreams, in real life, Panzanella doesn’t last longer than a day. You’ll need to make it an hour or so before serving to give the bread time to soak up the dressing.

Can I Meal-Prep Panzanella?

I’ve had lots of success prepping Panzanella components ahead of time. Chop and toast the bread, cool it, then store it in an air-tight container with a folded paper towel in it to absorb humidity. Slice and salt the tomatoes and store them in an airtight container as well. The salt forces them to release their juices, which you can then incorporate into your dressing. Chop the rest of your ingredients and also store them in your fridge in an airtight container. Then it’s as easy as mixing everything together with greens and dressing. Toasted bread will stay fresh at room temperature for a few days. Chopped produce will also stay fresh for a few days in the fridge.

Side view of panzanella salad in a white bowl.
Overhead shot of panzanella salad in a white bowl with wood serving spoons next to it.

Panzanella

This scrumptious Panzanella salad is a quick and delicious way to use up day-old bread, ripe tomatoes, and other summer produce. For the ultimate convenience, you can even prep the ingredients ahead of time.
Course Salad
Cuisine Italian
Total Cost $13.54 recipe / $2.26 serving
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Resting Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 40 minutes
Servings 6 2 cups each
Calories 254kcal
Author Monti – Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 3 cups bread, cubed $2.00
  • 1/4 cup olive oil, divided $0.64
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes $3.49
  • 1 nectarine $0.90
  • 1 cucumber $0.69
  • 1/2 red onion $0.40
  • 10 oz. baby spring mix $3.49
  • 4 oz. mozzarella pearls $1.75
  • 1 tsp salt $0.08
  • 1 Tbsp red wine vinegar $0.10

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper. Slice the bread into 2 x 2-inch cubes and place in the sheet pan. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and toss to combine. Bake until toasted, about 20 minutes.
  • While the bread toasts, wash all of the produce. Slice cherry tomatoes in half. Cut the cucumber in 1/2 inch thick quarter rounds. Slice the nectarine in 1/2 inch thick slices. Slice the red onion in 1/4 inch thick half moons.
  • Once the bread has toasted, pull it from the oven, and allow it to cool.
  • Add the toasted bread to a very large bowl and top with salad greens. Top the greens with tomatoes, nectarines, cucumbers, red onions, and mozzarella pearls.
  • Add remaining olive oil, vinegar, and salt to a small mason jar or other container with a tight-fitting lid. Close the lid tightly and shake the oil and vinegar until combined. Dress the salad. Toss to coat.
  • Let the salad sit for at least an hour to allow the bread to soak up the dressing. Serve and enjoy!

Nutrition

Serving: 2cups | Calories: 254kcal | Carbohydrates: 23g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 15g | Sodium: 664mg | Fiber: 3g
Overhead shot of panzanella salad in a white bowl with wood serving spoons next to it.

How to Make Panzanella- Step by Step Photos

Overhead shot of cubed bread in a sheet pan being dressed with olive oil .

Slice three cups of day-old (or fresh) bread into 2 x 2-inch cubes and place in the sheet pan. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and toss to combine. Bake until toasted, about 20 minutes.

Overhead shot of chopped onions, tomatoes, cucumbers, and nectarines on a wood cutting board.

While the bread toasts, wash all of the produce. Slice the pint of cherry tomatoes in half. Cut the cucumber in 1/2 inch thick quarter rounds. Slice the nectarine into 1/2 inch thick slices. Slice half of a red onion in 1/4 inch thick half moons.

Overhead shot of panzanella salad croutons in a sheet pan.

Once the bread has toasted, pull it from the oven, and allow it to cool.

Overhead shot of panzanella salad components.in a white bowl.

Add the toasted bread to a very large bowl and top with 10 oz. of salad greens. Top the greens with tomatoes, nectarines, cucumbers, and red onions. Finish with mozzarella pearls (not pictured here.)

Overhead shot of panzanella salad being dressed in a white bowl with wood serving spoons next to it.

Add the remaining 3 tablespoons of olive oil, the tablespoon of vinegar, and the teaspoon of salt to a small mason jar or another container with a tight-fitting lid. Close the lid tightly and shake the oil and vinegar until combined. Dress the salad. Toss to coat.

Overhead shot of panzanella salad in a white bowl.

Let the salad sit for at least an hour to allow the bread to soak up the dressing. Serve and enjoy!

Side shot of panzanella salad in a white bowl.

Check out these other great summer salads

The post Panzanella appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Creamy Sesame Noodle Salad (30 Minutes!)

When the weather is hot, we find ourselves craving cooling, satisfying meals that come together fast. Enter this 30-minute Creamy Sesame Noodle Salad! It’s fresh, saucy, filling, SO flavorful, and delicious served warm or cold.
We love it for picnics i…

Creamy Sesame Noodle Salad (30 Minutes!)

When the weather is hot, we find ourselves craving cooling, satisfying meals that come together fast. Enter this 30-minute Creamy Sesame Noodle Salad! It’s fresh, saucy, filling, SO flavorful, and delicious served warm or cold.

We love it for picnics in the park, as a side dish for BBQs, or as part of a summer meal. Make it a meal by pairing with tempeh or grilled tofu or chicken skewers (recipes coming soon!).

Creamy Sesame Noodle Salad (30 Minutes!) from Minimalist Baker →

Fresh Spring Rolls with Peanut Sauce

Fresh Spring Rolls are probably my favorite appetizer of all time! I don’t know if it’s the fresh and colorful veggies or the dreamy peanut sauce that they get dunked in. This peanut sauce is SO good you will want to drink it and lick the b…

Fresh Spring Rolls are probably my favorite appetizer of all time! I don’t know if it’s the fresh and colorful veggies or the dreamy peanut sauce that they get dunked in. This peanut sauce is SO good you will want to drink it and lick the bowl clean!  I love to pick a variety of…

Chipotle Hummus Sandwich with Smoky Tempeh Bacon

A smoky, spicy, satisfying plant-based sandwich?! Count us in! This quick and easy sandwich is bursting with flavor (plus protein and fiber) thanks to spicy chipotle hummus, smoky tempeh bacon, and tons of fresh veggies.
It’s ideal for meal prep or any…

Chipotle Hummus Sandwich with Smoky Tempeh Bacon

A smoky, spicy, satisfying plant-based sandwich?! Count us in! This quick and easy sandwich is bursting with flavor (plus protein and fiber) thanks to spicy chipotle hummus, smoky tempeh bacon, and tons of fresh veggies.

It’s ideal for meal prep or any time you’re craving something savory and comforting and looking to stay full and satisfied!

Chipotle Hummus Sandwich with Smoky Tempeh Bacon from Minimalist Baker →

Smoky Summer Salad with Lime-Crusted Salmon (30 Minutes!)

Summertime calls for quick, fresh, and satisfying meals that don’t require turning on the oven — and this salad hits all those marks! Flavorful, crispy salmon, fiber-packed black beans, and crunchy, colorful greens pair perfectly with our go-to 5-Minut…

Smoky Summer Salad with Lime-Crusted Salmon (30 Minutes!)

Summertime calls for quick, fresh, and satisfying meals that don’t require turning on the oven — and this salad hits all those marks! Flavorful, crispy salmon, fiber-packed black beans, and crunchy, colorful greens pair perfectly with our go-to 5-Minute Smoky Chipotle Dressing and Peach Cucumber Salsa. Prepare your tastebuds for major deliciousness!

This 30-minute meal is rich in protein, antioxidants, and vitamins and minerals and is the answer for a nourishing lunch or dinner, especially on warm summer days.

Smoky Summer Salad with Lime-Crusted Salmon (30 Minutes!) from Minimalist Baker →

Easy Peach Cucumber Salsa

Summertime calls for salsa! And what better way to brighten up your taste buds and salvage your quickly (over) ripening peaches than with a fresh and sweet peach salsa?! 
This versatile condiment is perfect for dipping tortilla chips or topping ta…

Easy Peach Cucumber Salsa

Summertime calls for salsa! And what better way to brighten up your taste buds and salvage your quickly (over) ripening peaches than with a fresh and sweet peach salsa?! 

This versatile condiment is perfect for dipping tortilla chips or topping tacos, bowls, fish, chicken, and salads (recipe coming soon!). It’s quick and easy to make, with just 15 minutes, 7 ingredients, and 1 bowl required!

Easy Peach Cucumber Salsa from Minimalist Baker →

Cucumber Salad

This cucumber salad recipe is crunchy, tangy and cool! Flavored with onion and dill, it’s refreshing and quick to whip…

A Couple Cooks – Recipes worth repeating.

This cucumber salad recipe is crunchy, tangy and cool! Flavored with onion and dill, it’s refreshing and quick to whip up.

Cucumber Salad

Here’s one of our favorite side dishes that’s packed with flavor and fits almost any diet: Cucumber Salad! It’s simple and punchy, with a vinegar-based dressing that packs in tangy, sweet and salty flavor. It’s ideal for just about anytime: summer cookouts or pitch-ins, lunches, or an easy make-ahead side dish you can keep in the fridge for dinners all week. This is one of our favorite because it’s so simple and packed with flavor (plus we both love pickles so it checks that box!).

Ingredients in this cucumber salad recipe

This cucumber salad recipe is actually more like quick-pickled cucumbers and onions than a salad (similar to this German Gurkensalat). While we love a creamy cucumber salad, the vinegar-based cucumber salad is our preference. It’s so easy, holds up well over time, and has incredible flavor. Here are the ingredients you’ll need:

  • English cucumbers: look for the long, thin English cucumbers that come plastic-wrapped in the grocery store.
  • White onion and red onion: or just use one type of onion. We like using both to get the bright color of red and the mild flavor of white.
  • Fresh dill: it’s best with fresh herbs, but you can substitute dried dill here and it’s still fantastic.
  • White vinegar: make sure it’s not white wine vinegar! This is straight white vinegar, which has a piercing straightforward flavor.
  • Granulated sugar: a bit of sugar balances the acidity.
  • Kosher salt and black pepper
Cucumber salad recipe

English cucumber vs standard cucumbers

The best type of cucumber to use in a cucumber salad? English cucumber, aka Persian cucumber or seedless cucumber. It’s got a much better texture and flavor compared to a standard cucumber. Here’s a breakdown:

  • English cucumbers are long and straight, with a thin, bright green skin with ridges. The seeds are very small and the flavor is sweet and mild. Because of the thin skin and small seeds, it doesn’t need to be peeled or seeded before eating. You can find English cucumbers next to the standard cucumbers in the produce section: it’s sold with a plastic covering to protect its delicate skin.
  • Standard slicing cucumbers are shorter, with thick, dark green skin and very large seeds. The thick skin and seeds can be bitter, so they’re often removed when cooking.

Want to use standard cucumbers? You can substitute the same weight of standard cucumbers here and it will taste great too! Make sure to slice them very thinly, or you can peel them if you’re sensitive to the bitter flavor of the skin.

English cucumber

Tips for making cucumber salad

Got your cucumbers? Here are a few tips for making this cucumber salad recipe, the ideal summer side dish for cookouts, pitch-ins and more! Here’s what to know:

  • Use a mandolin for easy slicing. mandolin is a slicing blade that makes it easy to cut vegetables uniformly. If you’ve got one, it makes this salad recipe a breeze! Make sure to wear the protective gloves that come with the blade to prevent injury.
  • Don’t have one? Use a chef’s knife to cut the cucumber as thinly as possible.
  • French cut the onions. Cut the onion from the root end to stem end to make the most attractive-sized pieces (here’s a video).
  • Refrigerate for 1 hour. You can eat this salad right away, but it’s best after 1 hour of refrigeration. This chills the salad and softens the vegetables.
Cucumber Salad

Leftover storage

This cucumber salad recipe is great for making in advance and holds up well in the refrigerator. Store cucumber salad for up to 7 days refrigerated. It tastes even better after a few days of refrigeration. Use it for side dishes all week long!

More cucumber salad recipes

There are lots of variations on this theme! Here are a few more cucumber salad recipes:

This cucumber salad recipe is…

Vegetarian, vegan, plant-based, dairy-free and gluten-free.

Print
Cucumber Salad

Cucumber Salad


  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: 8

Ingredients

  • 2 English cucumbers* (1 3/4 to 2 pounds)
  • 1/2 white onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced (or more white onion)
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh dill or 1 teaspoon dried dill
  • ½ cup white vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Fresh ground black pepper, to taste

Instructions

  1. Slice the cucumbers as thin as possible, using a mandolin if desired. Thinly slice the onion.
  2. In a small bowl, mix the white vinegar, water, sugar, salt, and pepper. Pour the mixture over the cucumbers and onions, mixing everything together to ensure even coverage. You can serve immediately, but it’s best to refrigerate 1 hour so the vegetables become softer.
  3. Stir again to evenly mix the dressing. Then serve with a slotted spoon. Store refrigerated for up to 7 days.

Notes

*English cucumbers are seedless cucumbers with a very thin skin and mild flavor: they’re worth seeking out for this recipe. If you’d like, you can use the same weight of standard cucumbers: make sure to slice them very thinly or peel them if you’re sensitive to the bitter flavor of the skin.

  • Category: Side dish
  • Method: No Cook
  • Cuisine: Vegetables
  • Diet: Vegan

Keywords: Cucumber salad, cucumber salad recipe

A Couple Cooks - Recipes worth repeating.

Loaded Hummus Pitas

Loaded hummus pitas are a quick and easy no-cook meal for summer, and a great way to use up leftovers in the fridge.

The post Loaded Hummus Pitas appeared first on Budget Bytes.

When it’s WAY too hot in the kitchen, fill up and stay cool with these easy-to-make, no-cook, loaded hummus pitas. Though this summer recipe is Mediterranean-inspired, pita bread and hummus are a blank canvas. So if you have any leftover veggies in the fridge, add them to the mix to create a delicious lunch in a snap!

Loaded hummus pita on a plate surrounded by ingredients.

Do I have to use pita bread?

No, you don’t HAVE TO use pita. Naan is a great substitute. In fact, any sturdy sliced bread you have on hand will work great. This is also a great recipe to use up the last of those tortillas you’ve had hanging out in the back of the fridge for the last three weeks. (Is that just me?) The key is to use bread you don’t have to toast. Though if you WANT TO toast your bread, go for it. You can warm up a pita (or naan or tortillas) on the stove, in a dry pan over medium heat, or in a 350-degree preheated oven.

Do I have to use hummus?

For the ultimate convenience, reach for creamy store-bought hummus. Or if that’s not in your budget, you can always make your own. I’ve got some great hummus recipes that will only take you five minutes to whip up. If you’re not a hummus fan, try Greek yogurt or mashed avocado.

What else can I add to Loaded Hummus Pitas?

This recipe is endlessly customizable, which is music to my ears when it’s close to the end of the week and I’m trying to use up leftover odds and ends. Do you have some greens left over from yesterday’s salad? Use them! Do you still have some of the sliced radishes and raw diced onions from a take-out taco adventure? Go for it! Also try adding:

  • Roasted summer vegetables
  • Chopped cauliflower florets
  • Chopped broccoli florets
  • Sliced, pitted olives
  • Sliced radish
  • Sliced sweet peppers
  • Pickled onions
  • Artichoke hearts
  • Shredded carrots
  • Asparagus ends
  • Chopped cold cuts
Close up of loaded hummus pita.
close up view of loaded hummus pita.

Loaded Hummus Pitas

Loaded hummus pitas are a quick and easy no-cook meal for summer, and a great way to use up leftovers in the fridge.
Course Lunch
Cuisine Mediterranean
Total Cost $7.70 recipe / $1.93 each
Prep Time 20 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 4 pitas
Calories 345kcal
Author Monti – Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cucumber $0.53
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes $1.08
  • 1/4 red onion $0.09
  • 8 kalamata olives $0.75
  • 1 Tbsp chopped parsley $0.10
  • 2 oz. feta, crumbled $0.82
  • 4 pitas $1.99
  • 1 cup hummus $2.20
  • 2 tsp olive oil $0.11
  • 1 pinch salt $0.01
  • 1 pinch pepper $0.01

Instructions

  • Dice the cucumber into small ¼-inch pieces. Slice the grape tomatoes in half. Dice the red onion. Roughly chop the parsley and crumble the feta.
  • To assemble the pitas, spread ¼ cup hummus over the surface of each pita. Top with cucumber, tomato, red onion, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Finish with a little crumbled feta, chopped parsley, and a light drizzle of olive oil.

Nutrition

Serving: 1pita | Calories: 345kcal | Carbohydrates: 46g | Protein: 13g | Fat: 13g | Sodium: 814mg | Fiber: 6g
Close up of hand holding loaded hummus pita.

How to Make Loaded Hummus Pitas – Step by Step Photos

Overhead shot of ingredients, including pitas, diced onions, sliced kalamata olives, crumbled feta, sliced tomatoes, and chopped parsley.

For this recipe, you’ll need four pitas and a cup of hummus. You’ll also need to small dice half of a cucumber and a quarter of a red onion, slice a cup of grape tomatoes into halves, chop a tablespoon of fresh parsley, crumbled two ounces of feta cheese, and slice about eight kalamata olives.

Pita with a quarter cup of hummus spread on it.

Spread about a quarter cup of hummus on each pita.

Pita topped with chopped cucumber, onion, and tomatoes.

Add the chopped cucumber, onion, and tomatoes to each pita, then add a pinch of salt and pepper.

Pitas loaded with feta cheese, kalamata olives, and a sprinkle of chopped parsley.

Top each pita with a half-ounce of feta cheese, two kalamata olives, and a sprinkle of chopped parsley.

Finishing loaded hummus pitas with a drizzle of olive oil, salt, and pe

Finish with a drizzle of olive oil and enjoy!

close up view of loaded hummus pita.

Cold, crunchy, delicious, and filling! 🙌

The post Loaded Hummus Pitas appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Lemony Cucumber Couscous Salad

Lemony Cucumber Couscous Salad is a light, fresh, and vibrant pasta salad, and the perfect side dish for any summer meal.

The post Lemony Cucumber Couscous Salad appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Not a summer goes by without me making this incredible Lemony Cucumber Couscous Salad. It’s so fresh and delicious, quick to make, AND it stays good in the fridge for days. What more could you want from a summer salad?? Plus, it’s a great dish to bring to all those summer potlucks and BBQs, too!

Originally posted 6-19-2013, updated 6-18-2022.

Overhead view of a bowl of lemony cucumber couscous salad with lemons on the side.

What is Couscous?

Couscous is a small, ball-shaped pasta. It cooks really fast, is a fun texture, and is a great way to bulk up salads. The variety used for this Lemony Cucumber Couscous Salad is a larger-sized couscous called pearl couscous, or sometimes Israeli couscous or giant couscous. If you can’t find pearl couscous, you can use regular couscous or even orzo in its place (orzo would be my first choice since it’s similar in size). Regular couscous cooks a little differently, so take a look at this couscous salad (made with regular-sized couscous) for cooking instructions and size reference.

Can I Use Bottled Lemon Juice?

Fresh lemon is key to achieving the powerfully fresh lemon flavor in this Lemony Cucumber Couscous Salad, so I do not suggest substituting the fresh lemon with bottled lemon juice. The lemon zest alone is responsible for most of the lemon flavor in this salad, and, unfortunately, you just can’t get that from bottled juice.

What to Serve with Lemony Cucumber Couscous Salad

This super fresh summer salad is a great side dish for anything you might cook on the grill, or you could serve it with something like Garlic Marinated Chicken, a giant Veggie Sandwich, or Mediterranean Turkey Burgers.

How Are the Leftovers?

I love this salad so much simply because it stays good in the fridge for days. The couscous sort of acts like a moisture regulator, keeping the cucumbers from getting soft or soggy and keeping the salad almost as perfect as it was on day one. So if you’re looking for something to meal prep for lunch this summer, this couscous salad is it!

Close up side view of lemony cucumber couscous salad in a bowl.

Overhead view of lemony cucumber couscous salad in a bowl garnished with lemons.

Lemony Cucumber Couscous Salad

Lemony Cucumber Couscous Salad is a light, fresh, and vibrant pasta salad perfect for any summer meal. 
Course Lunch, Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine Middle-Eastern
Total Cost $6.46 recipe / $1.08 serving
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 6 1 cup each
Calories 250kcal
Author Beth - Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 1.5 cups pearl couscous $2.20
  • 1 fresh lemon $0.89
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil $0.32
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder $0.02
  • 1/4 tsp salt $0.02
  • 1 English cucumber $1.49
  • 1/4 bunch parsley $0.27
  • 1/4 tsp freshly cracked pepper $0.02
  • 3 oz. feta cheese, crumbled $1.23

Instructions

  • Bring a pot of water to a boil. Add the couscous and continue to boil for about minutes, or until the couscous is tender. Drain the couscous in a colander or wire strainer. Rinse briefly with cool water to cool off the couscous, then allow to drain while you prepare the rest of the salad.
  • Zest the lemon and then squeeze the juice. You'll need about ½ tsp of zest and 3 Tbsp of juice.
  • Add the lemon juice, olive oil, garlic powder, salt, and some freshly cracked pepper to a bowl and stir to combine.
  • Chop the cucumber into quarter-rounds and roughly chop the parsley.
  • Add the cooled and drained couscous to a large bowl along with the cucumber, parsley, lemon zest, and feta. Pour the dressing over top, then stir to combine. Serve immediately or refrigerate until ready to eat.

Video

Notes

If you are substituting regular couscous for Israeli couscous, be aware that the cooking instructions are different. You can find instructions and step by step photos in this recipe post. You can substitute orzo for the couscous without any adjustments.

Nutrition

Serving: 1cup | Calories: 250kcal | Carbohydrates: 36g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 8g | Sodium: 265mg | Fiber: 3g

Side view of a bowl of lemony cucumber couscous salad.

How to Make Lemony Cucumber Couscous Salad – Step by Step Photos

A package of pearl couscous.

This is what pearl or Israeli couscous looks like. It cooks exactly like pasta. For reference, check out this couscous salad to see the size of regular couscous. You’ll need about 1.5 cups of pearl couscous for this recipe.

Cooked couscous draining in a colander.

To cook the couscous, bring a pot of water to a rolling boil, add the couscous, and then continue to boil until the couscous is tender. Since the couscous is small, it cooks very quickly (about 5 minutes). Drain the couscous and then rinse briefly with cool water to bring the temperature down. 

Zested and juiced lemon.

While the couscous is cooking and cooling, prepare the rest of the salad. Start by zesting and juicing one lemon. You’ll need about 1 tsp zest and 3 Tbsp juice.

Lemony dressing in a bowl with a whisk.

To make the lemony dressing, whisk together 3 Tbsp lemon juice, 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1/4 tsp of garlic powder, 1/4 tsp of salt, and some freshly cracked pepper. If you’re a garlic lover, you can mince up a clove of fresh garlic instead of garlic powder. I decided that I wanted the salad to have just a hint of garlic flavor, so I added a touch of powdered garlic instead of fresh.

Chopped parsley and cucumber on a cutting board.

Roughly chop ¼ bunch parsley (about ½ cup chopped) and slice one cucumber into quarter-rounds.

Salad ingredients in the bowl, not mixed.

Transfer the cooked and cooled couscous to a large bowl, then add the chopped parsley and cucumber, and about 3 oz. crumbled feta.

Dressing being poured over the salad.

Pour the prepared dressing over the salad ingredients in the bowl.

Finished lemony cucumber couscous salad in the bowl with a large spoon.

Stir the salad until everything is evenly mixed and coated in dressing. You can give it a taste here and adjust the salt, pepper, or any other ingredients to your liking.

Overhead view of lemony cucumber couscous salad in a bowl garnished with lemons.

And now you’re ready to eat! Or, you can chill it until it’s time for dinner. The flavors get even better as it chills and once it’s cold the salad is extra refreshing!

Close up side view of a bowl of lemony cucumber couscous salad.

Seriously, this Lemony Cucumber Couscous Salad is my favorite summer treat. Sometimes I add a grilled chicken breast on top and make it a meal. A dollop of hummus is also good in there!

Lemony Cucumber Couscous Salad is a light, fresh, and vibrant pasta salad perfect for any summer meal. BudgetBytes.com

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