Mediter-Asian Couscous Salad

Sweet Miso Dressing:

1 Cup Plain, Unsweetened Soy Yogurt

1/4 Cup Rice Vinegar

1/4 Cup Olive Oil

1/3 Cup White Miso Paste

3 Tablespoons Honey-Flavored Agave, or Amber Agave Nectar

2 Tablespoons Mirin

1 Tablespoon Tamari or Soy Sauce

Mediter-Asian Salad:

1/2 Pound (1 1/4 Cups) Israeli (Pearl) Couscous*

1 Cup Kalamata Olives, Pitted and Sliced

1 1/2 Cups Diced English Cucumber

1 Small Tomato, Diced

1/2 Cup Chopped Roasted Red Pepper

1/4 Cup Finely Diced Red Onion

1 Cup Shelled Edamame (Thawed if Frozen)

1/3 - 1/2 Cup Thinly Sliced Scallions

10 - 12 Fresh Mint Leaves, Chiffonade

1/4 Cup Toasted Pine Nuts

*For this particular rendition pictured above, I used the Harvest Grains Blend from Trader Joe's, which simply adds some orzo pasta, quinoa, small beans and such into the mix. Pearl couscous is simply more accessible, in case you don't have a local Trader Joe's to raid.

First things first, whisk together all of the ingredients for the dressing in a medium-sized bowl, and set aside for the time being.

Moving on to the bulk of the salad, cook you Israeli couscous or couscous blend according to the package, drain (or if it's meant to absorb all of the liquid while cooking, simply transfer it to a strainer) and rinse under cold water until cool to the touch. This will both help to stop the cooking and get it down to a workable temperature. Move the cooked couscous into a large bowl, and add in all of the cut veggies, edamame, and herbs. Toss lightly to evenly distribute all of the ingredients. Start by mixing in about 1/2 cup of your prepared miso dressing, mix to incorporate and coat all of the goods, and stir in an additional splash or two until it's dressed to your liking.

If you want to make this salad in advance, mix in only the initial 1/2 cup of dressing for now, and incorporate the final addition right before serving. Sprinkle the pine nuts over the top to finish.

Store in a large, air-tight container for 3 - 4 days. Separately, the dressing will keep for 7 - 10 days.

Serves 6 - 8

©Hannah Kaminsky