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Couscous salad has BLT leanings

Jim Romanoff
For the Associated Press

To combat lunch bag boredom, you need to straddle that fine line between exciting and familiar, which is just what this toasted couscous BLT salad does.

Exotic, large pearl couscous gets dressed up with all the ingredients of that perennial favorite – the bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwich – and tossed in a lemony dressing to create a packable salad that will appeal to the whole family.

To give even more heft to this lunch, and perhaps turn it into an easy light supper, add thickly sliced or diced smoked turkey or chicken.

Toasted Couscous

BLT Salad

Start to finish: 35 minutes (20 minutes active)

Servings: 4

6 ounces bacon, cut crosswise into 1⁄4-inch strips

1⁄2 cup large pearl couscous

1 tablespoon cider vinegar

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1⁄2 teaspoon Dijon mustard

2 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

2 cups chopped iceberg lettuce

2 cups diced tomatoes

Salt and ground black pepper, to taste

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, cook bacon, stirring often, until crisp, about 10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer bacon to a plate lined with paper towels to drain. Pour off all but 1 tablespoon of the bacon fat from the saucepan.

Return saucepan to stove over medium-high. Add couscous and toast, stirring often, until lightly browned, 2 to 4 minutes. Spread toasted couscous on a baking sheet to cool for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, to make dressing, in a small bowl, whisk together vinegar, lemon juice and mustard. While whisking vigorously, drizzle in olive oil. Set aside.

In a large bowl, combine lettuce and tomatoes.

When couscous has cooled, transfer to bowl with lettuce and tomatoes. Add reserved bacon and dressing, then toss well to coat. Season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately or store, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 1 day.

Per serving: 353 calories; 238 calories from fat; 26 g fat (7 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 29 mg cholesterol; 21 g carbohydrate; 8 g protein; 3 g fibre; 379 mg sodium.