If I had to pick my season, I would certainly be more of a summer person. The sun, the weather, getting to spend time outdoors, shorts, flip flops, lake trips. If you can't tell by where my husband and I decided to move (Arizona), we dig this stuff. Despite my love of the season, I haven't yet experienced the full wrath of an Arizona summer, so I've been trying to work-up my repertoire of "oven-free" meals to give my air conditioner a bit of a break as the thermometer climbs this summer. :)
The other bonus of "don't heat up the house" recipes is that they are typically pretty quick. Quick. Cool. Delicious. Triple score! This is a no-bake recipe that I found at Multiply Delicious, and I was sold after noticing both asparagus and balsamic vinegar on the ingredient list. The recipe is easily adaptable and could fit different grains (quinoa anyone?), different vegetables, or even the addition of chicken if you need to please a meat-eater in the house. We made it exactly as written with the only exception of brown balsamic vinegar for the white (it's really only a difference of appearance).
Our verdict: It was a great meal! The flavors of the dish really shined despite a relatively simple ingredient list. Light. Fresh. Healthy. It is certainly a meal I am going to keep in my north of 100 degrees folder. Enjoy!
Asparagus Primavera with Couscous
From Multiply Delicious
1-1/2 cups dry couscous
1 lb. asparagus, rinsed and woody bottoms snapped off
1 cup shredded carrots
1 can (15 oz) White Northern beans, rinsed and drained
2 cups loosely packed baby spinach, cut into strips
2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar (white if possible)
2 Tbsp. orange juice
1 tsp. garlic minced (I used 2 cloves)
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Fill a shallow pot with about 1-inch of water and bring to a boil. In a separate medium pot, bring 1-1/2 cups water to a boil (can use chicken broth if desired), then add couscous. Remove from heat, stir and cover. Couscous will be ready in 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork and set aside.
Cut asparagus into pieces. Place asparagus and carrots into shallow pot of boiling water, reduce heat to low, cover and let simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and drain immediately.
In a large salad bowl, toss remaining ingredients, except Parmesan. Add asparagus and carrots and toss again. To serve, spoon about 1 cup of couscous onto each plate. Spoon salad over the top, dividing evenly and garnish with grated Parmesan cheese.