A delicious vegan Raw Beet Salad with Avocado, tender greens, sprouts, toasted pumpkin seeds, pickled shallots, tossed in a flavorful, creamy, vegan Cashew Basil Dressing. Vegan! This Raw Beet Salad is packed full of nutrients. It’s loaded up w…
Lemony Cucumber Couscous Salad is a light, fresh, and vibrant pasta salad, and the perfect side dish for any summer meal.
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.
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!
Lemony Cucumber Couscous Salad
- 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
- 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.
How to Make Lemony Cucumber Couscous Salad – Step by Step Photos
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.
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.
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.
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.
Roughly chop ¼ bunch parsley (about ½ cup chopped) and slice one cucumber into quarter-rounds.
Transfer the cooked and cooled couscous to a large bowl, then add the chopped parsley and cucumber, and about 3 oz. crumbled feta.
Pour the prepared dressing over the salad ingredients in the bowl.
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.
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!
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!
Rich and luscious Coconut Creamed Spinach has a silky melt-in-your-mouth texture. Simple to put together and makes an easy delicious side dish. Vegan and Gluten-Free! Let’s get loose with compassion, let’s drown in the delicious ambiance o…
Homemade strawberry syrup is so easy to make and it tastes great in and on everything from yogurt and ice cream to waffles and pancakes!
Strawberry season is so fleeting and I’m always tempted to buy a ton of strawberries when they’re on sale at the height of the season. So I like to make a quick batch of this strawberry syrup to enjoy that fresh strawberry flavor a little longer. You can use it in all sorts of things from strawberry lemonade, to homemade ice cream (recipe coming soon), or just as a topper for your yogurt, ice cream, waffles, and pancakes. Bonus: if you cook it down a little longer it will thicken up even more and make a delicious homemade strawberry jam!
What’s in Strawberry Syrup?
Strawberry syrup, at its most basic, is just fresh strawberries and sugar cooked down until they form a delicious and vibrant syrup. I’ve added a little bit of vanilla extract and salt for depth, which really gives the strawberry syrup more dimension. It’s so good that you’ll want to just eat it by the spoonful!
Make it Chunky or Smooth
I like my strawberry syrup to be a little bit chunky with bits of strawberry still in the syrup, but if you prefer a smooth and clear syrup, simply strain the mixture through a fine wire mesh strainer to remove the remaining strawberry flesh. The total volume of the syrup will be slightly reduced after straining.
How to Use Strawberry Syrup
I love spooning strawberry syrup over pancakes, waffles, French toast, ice cream sundaes, or yogurt parfaits. But you can also use it to make lemonade, mix it into cocktails and homemade popsicles, drizzle it over cakes, or blend it into smoothies.
Make Strawberry Syrup or Strawberry Jam
With this one simple recipe you can make either strawberry syrup or strawberry jam! The only difference is how long you simmer the strawberries. A shorter simmer time will have less evaporation and a more syrupy consistency. Simmer longer to evaporate more water and create a thicker, jam-like consistency. And if you accidentally simmer too long and make the syrup thicker than you’d like, you can simply stir in a bit of water to thin it out again.
How Long Does Strawberry Syrup Last?
You can keep this homemade strawberry syrup in the refrigerator for about three weeks, or freeze it for longer storage.
- 1 lb. fresh strawberries $1.99
- 3/4 cup sugar $0.12
- 1/4 tsp vanilla extract $0.25
- 1/8 tsp salt $0.01
- Wash and chop the strawberries into ¼-inch pieces.
- Add the chopped strawberries and sugar to a saucepot. Stir and cook over medium heat until the strawberries release their liquid and form a syrup in the saucepot.
- Let the strawberries simmer in the syrup, stirring occasionally, until they break down and lose their shape and the syrup has thickened to your desired consistency (5-10 minutes). Keep in mind the syrup will thicken more after cooling.
- Remove the syrup from the heat and stir in the vanilla extract and salt. Let the syrup cool. Use the syrup as-is, or strain through a wire mesh strainer for a clear, smooth syrup.
How to Make Strawberry Syrup – Step by Step Photos
Begin by washing and chopping one pound of fresh strawberries into ¼-inch pieces.
Add the chopped strawberries to a medium saucepot along with ¾ cup of sugar.
Begin to stir and cook the strawberries over medium heat. The sugar will immediately start to draw the water out of the strawberries, creating a syrup.
Let the strawberries simmer over medium to medium-low heat for 5-10 minutes, or until the strawberries have broken down and lost their shape, and the syrup has thickened to your desired consistency. Keep in mind that the syrup will thicken further as it cools.
Remove the syrup from the heat and stir in 1/4 tsp vanilla extract and 1/8 tsp salt. You can either use your syrup as-is with the strawberry chunks in it or strain it through a fine wire mesh strainer to make a clear, smooth syrup. I like the bits of strawberry in mine. ;)
Keep your strawberry syrup in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to three weeks. Spoon it over all of your favorite summer foods!
Succulent Grilled Bok Choy with flavorful Ponzu Sauce is tender and juicy with toasty savory flavor. An easy side dish that is delicious and healthy! The flower never had a to-do list, not one day of her life. She just pointed her whole self toward l…
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A quick and easy recipe for Roasted Carrots with cumin and coriander seeds, over a creamy Maple-Tahini Sauce, sprinkled with Pistachios, Dukkah and Aleppo chili flakes- a tasty vegan side dish that pairs with many things. Here’s a recipe for Roa…
Wilted spinach salad with bacon, white beans, and a tangy Dijon vinaigrette is a quick, easy, and light summer meal.
If you’re looking for a quick, filling, and light summer meal, I’ve got you! This Wilted Spinach Salad can be a light main dish or a side to go with your summer grilling. And, as always, this classic salad has plenty of things you can add in or sub to make it your own. Pair it with a crisp glass of white wine and you’ll have the perfect meal for enjoying outdoors on a balmy summer day!
What’s in a Wilted Spinach Salad?
The classic wilted spinach salad is made by cooking bacon, then using the bacon fat to make a warm vinaigrette which is then poured over fresh spinach to slightly wilt the spinach. Hard boiled eggs and red onions are also often added to the salad.
My version of a wilted spinach salad is a little bit different. I’ve really been digging the convenience of canned beans lately, so I swapped the usual hard boiled egg for some cannellini beans. I also used a bit of garlic instead of fresh red onion, and I made my vinaigrette right in the skillet instead of trying to pour off the bacon grease into another container. The result is a quick, super filling yet light, and delicious meal.
What Else Can I Add?
You probably already know by now that I love recipes where you can add all sorts of ingredients and make your own customized creation. This salad definitely fits that category! Here are a few other ingredients you can add to the salad below:
- Hard boiled eggs
- Red onion
- Crispy fried onions
- Blue cheese
- Goat cheese
- Boiled baby potatoes (this would almost be like a mix between German potato salad and spinach salad)
- Apples (instead of white beans)
- Walnuts (instead of white beans)
- Thinly sliced radish
How Are the Leftovers?
This salad is definitely best when made fresh, as you want the spinach to be just lightly wilted. If you reheat the salad, the spinach will wilt further and become quite flat. It will likely still taste great, but the texture will not be as good as the first day.
Wilted Spinach Salad
- 6 oz. bacon $2.06
- 2 cloves garlic, minced $0.16
- 2 15oz. cans cannellini beans, rinsed and drained $1.78
- 3 Tbsp apple cider vinegar $0.18
- 2 tsp Dijon mustard $0.12
- 1 tsp sugar $0.01
- 1/4 tsp freshly cracked black pepper $0.02
- 1/8 tsp salt $0.01
- 8 oz. fresh spinach $1.99
- Cook the bacon in a skillet over medium heat until it is brown and crispy. Transfer the cooked bacon to a paper towel-lined plate, leaving the bacon grease in the skillet.
- Add the minced garlic to the skillet and sauté over medium heat for about one minute.
- Add the rinsed and drained beans, vinegar, Dijon, sugar, pepper, and salt to the skillet. Continue to cook and stir over medium heat until the beans are heated through and a sauce has formed.
- Add the fresh spinach to the skillet, carefully stirring it into the hot beans until it is partially wilted. Remove the skillet from the heat.
- Crumble the bacon over top and fold to combine. Taste and add salt or pepper to your liking. Serve warm!
How to Make Wilted Spinach Salad – Step by Step Photos
Cook 6oz. bacon in a skillet over medium heat until brown and crispy. Remove the cooked bacon to a paper towel-lined plate and leave the bacon grease in the skillet.
Add two minced cloves of garlic to the skillet and sauté in the bacon fat for about one minute.
Add two rinsed and drained 15oz. cans of cannellini beans to the skillet along with 3 Tbsp apple cider vinegar, 2 tsp Dijon mustard, 1 tsp sugar, ¼ tsp pepper, and ⅛ tsp salt.
Heat and stir the ingredients until everything is heated through and the vinaigrette ingredients have combined.
Add 8oz. fresh spinach and carefully stir until the heat partially wilts the spinach. Remove the skillet from the heat.
Crumble the cooked bacon over the skillet and fold to combine. Taste the salad and add salt and pepper to your liking. Serve warm!
Try These Other Spinach Salad Recipes:
- Tomato Mozzarella Pasta Salad
- Roasted Vegetable Salad Meal Prep
- Spinach and Orzo Salad
- Chicken and Mandarin Salad
These homemade blueberry muffins are fluffy and moist with a deliciously crunchy crumble topping. They’re freezer-friendly, too!
If someone gave me some amazing homemade blueberry muffins I’d be like, “wow, that person has their life together.” 😆 Is that just me? Imagine making a batch of freshly baked homemade muffins for your overnight guests, as a “thank you” or “get well” for a friend or neighbor, or just because you want to do something special for yourself. Whatever the occasion, these blueberry muffins are sure to impress. Plus, they’re freezer-friendly, so you can eat one now and save the rest for later!
Use Fresh or Frozen Blueberries
You can use either fresh or frozen blueberries for these muffins. If using frozen berries, you’ll want to take one quick extra step to make sure the frozen berries don’t turn your batter a blue-ish grey color. Simply dust about ½ tsp flour onto the frozen berries and toss until they’re coated before adding the berries to the batter.
Use Butter AND Oil for Delicious and Moist Muffins
Just like with my Super Fudgy Brownie recipe, I used a combination of butter and oil for these muffins. Butter gives the muffins that delicious buttery flavor, while oil keeps the muffins moist even after they cool. It’s a one-two punch that ensures the most delicious and moist muffins you’ve ever had!
I topped my muffins with a crunchy crumbly topping, but that’s totally optional. You can either leave the muffin tops plain, sprinkle on a little coarse sugar to give them a little sparkle, or even top them with a lemon glaze (like the one used in this scone recipe) after they cool.
How to Freeze Blueberry Muffins
Baked goods like muffins are great for keeping in the freezer and enjoying one at a time when you get the craving. To freeze these blueberry muffins, make sure to allow them to cool completely to room temperature after baking, then transfer them to a gallon-sized freezer bag and store in the freezer for about three months. Frozen blueberry muffins can be thawed at room temperature, or microwaved for 15-30 seconds straight from the freezer.
- 1.5 cups all-purpose flour $0.18
- 2 tsp baking powder $0.04
- 3/4 tsp salt $0.04
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon $0.02
- 1/8 tsp nutmeg $0.02
- 1 cup plain yogurt* $0.85
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar $0.08
- 4 Tbsp melted butter $0.40
- 2 Tbsp cooking oil $0.08
- 1 large egg $0.21
- 1.5 tsp vanilla extract $0.42
- 1 cup blueberries $1.33
Crumble Topping (optional)
- 1 Tbsp melted butter $0.10
- 2 Tbsp granulated sugar $0.02
- 1/8 tsp cinnamon $0.02
- 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour $0.02
- If using the crumble topping, prepare that first. Stir together the melted butter, sugar, and cinnamon, then add in the flour and stir until it resembles damp sand. Set the topping aside.
- Preheat the oven to 375ºF. Whisk together the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg) in a large bowl until well combined.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the yogurt, sugar, melted butter, oil, egg, and vanilla extract.
- Pour the wet ingredients into the bowl of dry ingredients and stir until they're about 75% combined (there should still be pockets of dry flour throughout).
- If using frozen blueberries, dust them with about 1/2 tsp flour first. Add the blueberries to the batter and finish folding until the blueberries are evenly incorporated and there are no more dry pockets of dry flour in the batter. It's okay if it's lumpy, just make sure to avoid over stirring.
- Divide the batter between eight wells of a greased or lined muffin tin. Top the unbaked muffins with the crumble topping.
- Bake the muffins for about 35 minutes, or until golden brown on top. Allow the muffins to cool for about 5 minutes in the muffin tin, then loosen the edges with a knife and transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling.
How to Make Make Blueberry Muffins – Step by Step Photos
I like to make the crumble topping first, so it’s ready to go on the muffins as soon as the batter is mixed. In a small bowl, stir together 1 Tbsp melted butter with 2 Tbsp sugar and ⅛ tsp cinnamon. Then stir in 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour until the mixture looks a bit like damp sand.
Preheat the oven to 375ºF. Add 1.5 cups all-purpose flour, 2 tsp baking powder, ¾ tsp salt, ¼ tsp cinnamon, and ⅛ tsp nutmeg to a bowl. Whisk the dry ingredients together until very well combined.
In a separate bowl, whisk together 1 cup plain yogurt, 1/2 cup sugar, 4 Tbsp melted butter, 2 Tbsp cooking oil, 1 large egg, and 1.5 tsp vanilla extract. Whisk until smooth.
Pour the wet ingredients into the bowl of dry ingredients.
It’s VERY important not to overmix the muffin batter, so only stir the wet and dry ingredients together until they’re about 75% combined before adding the blueberries.
You can use either fresh or frozen blueberries. If using frozen blueberries, you’ll want to dust them with about ½ tsp of all-purpose flour before adding to the batter. This helps their color from bleeding into the batter.
Fold 1 cup blueberries into the muffin batter, making sure to not over stir. The batter will still be lumpy, just make sure the blueberries are evenly distributed and there are no pockets of dry flour left on the bottom.
Prepare a muffin tin with your preferred method (paper liners, butter, or oil–I used oil), then divide the muffin batter between eight of the wells in the tin. Top the muffin batter with the prepared crumble topping (or a pinch of granulated sugar).
Bake the muffins for about 35 minutes, or until they are nicely golden brown on top. Let the muffins cool for about 5 minutes in the tin, then use a knife to loosen the edges and transfer the muffins to a wire rack to finish cooling.
These blueberry muffins are seriously SO good!!
Here is a simple recipe for Soba Noodle Salad, loaded with seasonal veggies, that is adaptable and vegan! For a protein boost, top with savory tofu, smoked salmon, grilled chicken. Quick, easy and full of earthy-crunchy goodness. (updated 3/2022) Whe…