Mediterranean Pearl Cous Cous Salad

Today marks the first day of ‘meat-free week‘ 2014.

Yes, I know. Every week is meat-free week here at little vegan bear, but nevertheless, I am going to share a recipe with you all to mark the occasion. I whipped up a big bowl of this salad last night to take to work for lunch this week, as I am finding that it is better to plan ahead and be prepared, or else I will be tempted by the delicious food calling my name from Smith and Gertrude streets. Sneaky cafes!

The salad is a little Mediterranean inspired, full of tang. I had thought that the combination of mint and basil might be a little strange, but I think it worked quite well as they are only used in small amounts and actually compliment each other nicely. This salad is a great side dish, or works well with a big side of leafy greens.

ImageMediterranean Pearl Cous Cous Salad

250g tofu, pressed and cubed
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp sea salt

Rest of salad:
2 cups dry pearl cous cous
1 tsp veg stock powder
1/2 cup sundried tomatoes, rehydrated (approx 1 cup once rehydrated – or use semi-dried)
1/3 cup kalamata olives, sliced
1 cup cucumber, diced
1/2 red onion, finely diced
2 cups baby kale, roughly chopped

1 Tbsp lemon zest
Juice of one lemon
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
2 Tbsp fresh mint, chopped
2 Tbsp fresh basil, chopped

1/4 tsp sea salt
Healthy dose of cracked pepper

Start by marinating the to-feta. Whisk together all ingredients apart from the tofu until combined. Add tofu and stir to coat all pieces in marinade. Set aside for a couple of hours (or overnight)

Next, cook the cous cous according to packet instructions. I think the one I used directed 1 1/4 cups of water to 1 cup of cous cous. Add the stock powder to the pot while cooking for a little extra flavour. Once it’s done, transfer to a bowl and set aside to cool.

Give the kale a good scrunching (just moosh or massage it between your fingers) to break up the fibres a little bit. Add it along with the rest of the salad ingredients to the bowl once the cous cous has cooled. Throw in the to-feta and stir to combine.

For the dressing, simply whisk all the ingredients together. Pour over salad and mix to distribute evenly. Store salad in the fridge until ready to use.