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Couscous, Chick Pea and Basil Salad

We have a large garden at one of the local community gardens this summer. We have everything from basil to tomatoes growing. Everything is getting huge and already producing quite a crop.

The swiss chard is already out of control, as are the cucumbers, basil, peppers, mint, lettuce, radishes, etc. I have started utilizing some of the garden loot. This salad makes good use of my favorite. . .fresh basil.

The good thing about growing at the community garden is that there is plenty of space and lots of sun. Great growing location.

The problem with it is that critters (groundhogs to be precise) think we planted a big salad bar for them. They have been chewing through the fence and burrowing under it to enjoy my green beans, collards, radish tops & spinach. Not to mention the broccoli, cabbage and brussel sprouts of every other gardener. Lately they have even been munching the green tomatoes.

Several have been live trapped. But I am pretty sure they have 100 cousins cause the grazing continues. I chalk part of it up to the extreme heat and drought we have been experiencing. I am sure they are desperate for a meal. BUT they are also opportunistic little maniacs and I just want them to GO AWAY!!!!

Luckily they do not seem to like basil, which I adore. A large batch of freezer pesto is in my future to hold me over until spring!

Even with the veggie theft I am going to have a much larger yield than last year in my own yard. The garden I had the last couple years at home was only a fraction of the size and got very little sun. I got a few tomatoes, a few herbs, pathetic peppers, etc. . .

This year I hope to can some tomatoes, make pickles (I already made them once this summer!), freeze some assorted vegetables, and enjoy whatever else I harvest. I can’t wait for the tomatoes to get ripe! I am my father’s daughter so I love a good tomato sandwich. Just toast, tomato and a little mayo. Hold the bacon please.

I love couscous, too. This combo is awesome. It is so easy and perfect to eat hot or cold. We had it with fantastic rotisserie chicken that Tim made. I’m a rotisserie convert now, thanks to him. He’s so proud!

The couscous is adaptable to whatever fresh veggies you have on hand. A good thing since I will have a plethora to use, including many eggplant that I am not entirely sure what to do with! Live and learn!

Couscous, Chick Pea and Basil Salad

1 1/4 cup water

1 cup couscous

1 tsp salt

1 can chick peas, drained and rinsed

1/4 cup fat-free feta cheese

1 chopped tomato

2-3 Tbsp basil, cut into long strips (chiffonade)

2 green onions, diced

Vinaigrette

3 Tbsp olive oil

2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar

Bring water to a boil in a pot with a lid on the stove top. Add salt. Stir in couscous, put lid on pot and remove from heat. Allow to sit, covered, for 10 minutes.

Once the couscous has absorbed all the water, fluff it with a fork. Stir in the chick peas, feta, tomato, basil, green onions.

In a small bowl whisk together the oil and vinegar and toss with the couscous mixture. Serve warm, cold or at room temp.

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