Grilled Greens Salad with Couscous
A concept recipe for using Spring farm share greens in a hearty main dish salad. Grill greens, a protein, and some other vegetables, then toss with a grain and some cheese for a simple salad supper.
This time of year I'm often out grilling in my driveway. My neighbor comes over to see what I'm grilling, and I check in to see what he's grilling. Since I started throwing the farm share on the grill, my grill plan starts with vegetables. There's nothing like the flavor of meat cooked over flame . . . but don't forget about the effect that fire has on vegetables!
Today's recipe is another concept recipe for using whatever cooking greens appear in your Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farm share. I've used Napa cabbage, Bok choy, and pak choi in this type of recipe, but I am sure that Romaine and radicchio would also work. I know that grilling radicchio won't fly with my kids so I'll save that for another salad.
Inside the house, make a pot of couscous or another quick cooking grain (Trader Joes has some terrific 10 minute farro and barley bags, or if you've got more time how about wild rice, or jasmine rice, or bulgur wheat--there are endless possibilities). Once the grain is about done, head out to the grill.
You're simply going to take your greens, slice them in half, brush with cooking oil, and give them a few minutes on a medium grill. Easy. While you're at it, grab some additional vegetables (peppers, onions, radishes, peas, and/or green beans) and give them the same treatment. Add a protein. I raided my freezer and grabbed a package of smoked sausage which added additional flavor.
Once all of the vegetables and protein are finished on the grill, chop them into small pieces and toss everything together with your grain. I do this in a large bowl. I drizzle a bit of olive oil over top, and toss again. Add a little drizzle of acid (half a lemon squeezed over the bowl, or a splash of balsamic vinegar) and toss again. A bit of cheese, another toss. Finally some salt and pepper--and the big bowl is ready to dig in.
It's a relaxed meal because there are no hard and fast rules of what needs to go into it, and you taste as you go. My kids like the chunks of meat, my spouse likes the filling-ness of the grain, and I like that leftovers can be served cold or at room temperature.
Give this type of recipe a try, and make it your own with what you've got on hand.
For more recipes using Bok choy, please see my Bok Choy Recipes Collection. For additional recipes using cooking greens, please see my Recipes Using Cooking Greens. For recipes using peppers, please see my Pepper Recipes Collection. These collections are part of the Visual Recipe Index by Ingredient, a resource for folks like me eating from the farm share, the farmer's market, the garden, the neighbor's garden, and great deals on ugly produce at the grocery store.
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Grilled Greens Salad with Couscous (serves 4-6)
- 1 to 1+½ cups couscous (such as a box like Near East brand) or the grain of your choice, plus the fluid to prepare it (water, or vegetable/chicken/beef broth)
- cooking oil of your choice (probably ¼ cup/2 ounces is plenty for brushing)
- salt (I use kosher) and pepper (I grind as I go)
- 1 large head Bok choy (or Romaine, or the cooking green of your choice)
- 1 large bell pepper
- Optional vegetables--radishes, green beans, spring onions, snap peas, broccoli, or carrots
- 1 pound smoked sausage (or the protein of your choice)
- a tablespoon or three of olive oil
- a couple teaspoons of balsamic vinegar or juice from half a lemon
- ½ cup crumbled feta cheese
- Prepare couscous (or grain of your choice) according to package directions. Use vegetable, chicken or beef broth if you'd like to boost the flavor of the final dish.
- Preheat grill to medium heat.
- Slice bok choy in half lengthwise, as shown, and brush with cooking oil. Slice pepper and any other vegetables into half or quarters (keep them in fairly large pieces for ease of grilling) and brush with oil.
- Season vegetables with a generous pinch of salt, then place salted side down onto grill.
- Add the sausage to the grill just to warm it through and get some nice grill marks (I used fully cooked sausage--if starting with a raw protein, cook it thoroughly of course). Close grill.
- After 5 to 7 minutes or so, when the bok choy has grill marks and is starting to wilt and the peppers have started to soften, flip over the vegetables and sausage. Close grill.
- After another 5 minutes or so, when both sides of all items have brown marks and are soft, remove from grill.
- Chop all grilled items into bite-sized pieces.
- In a large bowl, toss with prepared couscous. Add a drizzle of olive oil and toss again. Add a splash of balsamic vinegar and toss again.
- Scatter cheese over top, and add a few grinds of pepper. Toss together and taste. Do you need to add some salt, or is it ok to salt at the table? Serve slightly warm or at room temperature.
- Leftovers can be eaten cold or at room temperature, but I wouldn't bother nuking them to reheat.