Inspired by the succulent flavors of Sicily, Giada de Laurentiis‘s latest Mediterranean Couscous salad recipe dances with zesty flavor and satisfying crunch. It’s the perfect Springtime salad for lunch or a hearty side dish for a dinner gathering.
If anyone knows Mediterranean cuisine, it’s Giada. She was born in Italy and has been known to loosely follow the Meditteranean diet, consisting of vegetables, olive oil, whole grains, and seafood. Giada de Laurentiis presents her simple Italian dishes in a modern, health-conscious style, making it possible for almost anyone to enjoy her creations. (Check out her recent salmon dinner recipe here.)
This time Giada awes us with a Mediterranean couscous salad, which contains lemon, basil, mint, almonds, tart cranberries, and of course, couscous.
Related: 16 Famous Celebs Share How They Make Their Morning Oatmeal
Couscous is rich in selenium, an essential mineral powerful in antioxidants that decreases inflammation and helps repair damaged cells. It also plays a role in thyroid health and may lower your risk of heart disease. Selenium also reduces LDL cholesterol and plaque buildup on the arterial walls and veins. Consuming just one cup of couscous contains over 60 percent of the daily recommended intake.
Cranberries are ultra-rich in vitamin C and a spectrum of B vitamins essential for maintaining a healthy weight and regulating metabolism. They help boost the immune system, support heart health, and may combat urinary tract infections. Cranberries offer anti-aging benefits and reduction in skin inflammation. This tiny tart berry packs quite the health punch with its abundance of healthy attributes.
Let’s not forget almonds. These crunchy tree nuts are highly nutritious and rich in antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and healthy fats. The antioxidants in almonds protect your cells from oxidative damage, a contributor to disease and premature aging. Almonds are high in magnesium, a mineral in which many people are deficient. Magnesium offers support to type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome. Eating just a handful of almonds a day can lead to a reduction in bad cholesterol (LDL) levels, possibly reducing the risk of heart disease.
Serve this heart-healthy dish for lunch, or accompany it with a lean protein such as seafood, for dinner.
Giada de Laurentiis’s Mediterranean Couscous Salad
Cook Time: 10 minutes
3 tablespoons, plus ¼ cup of extra-virgin olive oil
2 minced garlic cloves
1 1-pound box Israeli couscous, orzo, or fregola
3 cups chicken or vegetable stock
2 lemons, juiced
1 lemon, zested
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
1/2 cup chopped fresh mint leaves
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted
1. Warm 3 tablespoons of the olive oil over medium heat in a medium saucepan, add the garlic, and cook for 1 minute. Add the couscous, stir and cook until lightly toasted and slightly browned, stirring often, about 5 minutes. Carefully incorporate the vegetable stock and the juice of 1 lemon, and bring it to a rolling boil. Reduce the heat, cover, and simmer until the couscous is slightly tender, stirring occasionally for 8 to 10 minutes. drain.
2. In a large bowl, combine the cooked couscous with the remaining olive oil, salt, remaining lemon juice, zest, and pepper and allow to cool.
3. When the couscous is room temperature, add the herbs, almonds, and dried cranberries. Toss to combine and serve.
NUTRITION PER SERVING: 449 Calories, 11g Fat, 73g Carbohydrates, 14g Protein, 375mg Sodium, 6g Fiber, 7g Sugar, 4mg Cholesterol
For more, check out Giada de Laurentiis Reveals Her Exact 3-Day Weight Loss Plan.
Shaye was born and raised in Houston, TX. She is a freelance Lifestyle/Beauty/Wellness writer and a licensed Cosmetologist with several years of writing experience. Read more