Mediterranean Pearl Couscous and Shrimp Salad

pearl couscous1So this morning I ran the last 6 miles I needed to complete my 100 mile challenge for the month of July. My friend Sara invited me to join her in challenging myself and I have to say… I was challenged.  There were definitely some morning where I couldn’t make myself get up to do the work, and I regretted those when I had to double up on my mileage the next day. But it was totally worth it in the end.

Since I’m done with my running challenge, I recently accepted a work out bet for August. It starts today and goes on for 15 days— whoever works out the most wins.  My love of winning is unmatched, so I will do absolutely anything to win this thing — that includes 2.5 hours of running and bikram in the mornings and 2 hours of spin and barre class in the evenings.

pearl cous cous 3Just typing that made me tired. Since the next two weeks will be physically trying, I will be particularly focused on eating clean and drinking lots of water. I want to eat enough to carry me through my work day and my work outs, but of course I want it to be light, interesting and nutritious. This salad is packed with fun veggies, some great protein and enough carbs to get you through an evening run.  Serve it over arugula for an extra punch of nutrition.

Pearl couscous is sometimes referred to as Israeli couscous and is essentially a tiny round pasta made with semolina or wheat. It has a slightly dense, chewy texture that holds up very well to toppings and absorbs the flavor in any salad dressing you throw at it.  Just a quick tip — after you cook your couscous according to package instructions, drain it under cold water and then toss it generously with olive oil so that the grains don’t stick together.  This salad is great for lunch or as a side dish and it will only get better overnight as the flavors meld together.

pearl cous cous 2

Mediterranean Pearl Couscous and Shrimp Salad
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Serves: 4-6
Ingredients
  • 2 cups of dry pearl couscous
  • 1 cup of artichoke hearts, chopped
  • 1 cup of pequillo peppers, chopped
  • 1 cup of orange peppers, chopped
  • ½ cup of scallions, chopped
  • ½ pound of shrimp, peeled
  • 2 tablespoons of fresh oregano (or 1 teaspoon dry)
  • 2 teaspoons of paprika, divided
  • ¼ cup of fresh lemon juice
  • ¼ cup of extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Extra olive oil for cooking the shrimp and tossing the couscous
Instructions
  1. Cook the pearl couscous according to package instructions. As soon as it is tender, drain the couscous, run it under cold water for about 1 minuted and then, while it is still in the colander, toss it in a couple of tablespoons of olive oil. Allow the couscous to cool to room temperature.
  2. In a small bowl, toss the shrimp with a tablespoon of olive oil, half of the paprika and pinch of salt and pepper. Heat a large pan over medium heat and then sauté the shrimp for 2 minutes on each side, until it is pink all the way through. Remove the shrimp from heat and allow to cool. Chop the cooled shrimp into bite-size pieces.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together the extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice, oregano, the other half of the paprika and a generous pinch of both salt and pepper, whisk together and taste for seasoning.
  4. In a large bowl, toss together the cooled couscous with the vegetables and shrimp. Drizzle on half of the dressing and lightly toss the salad.
  5. Serve by itself or over arugula, add more dressing as needed.

 

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