This gorgeous weather has been holding up and Mr. S. and I just wrapped up our 2nd annual big summer BBQ this weekend. We each got to invite a couple of friends and their kidlets over for some eats, drinks and merriment in the backyard on Saturday night. We ended up with around thirty five people and it was great to see everyone intermingling and getting to know each other. It was a good amount of people- enough to make it a party but not too many where it was overwhelming. The dog was on cloud 9 chasing after all the kidlets and getting fed under the table; in fact post-BBQ, he snuggled up against me all tuckered out and his breath reeked overwhelmingly like tri-tip. Bad Pepper-pup! :)  It was a fun time but man was I pooped the next day.

Anyhow, I wanted to have at least one colorful dish on the table that showcased some bright summer veggies from the farmers' market so I decided to make an Israeli couscous salad that I came across on Bon Appetit (* I subbed in some red bell pepper for the frozen green peas to give it some extra pop of color).

Israeli couscous, also called "p'titim", is a tiny pearl shaped, semolina pasta. If you've never cooked with it before- it cooks fast, it's versatile and it's cheap (you can buy a box of it at Trader Joe's for a few bucks and many places sell it in bulk). Give it a whirl!

Israeli Couscous Salad


- 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided

- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

- 2 large garlic cloves, minced, divided

- 1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon peel

- 1 1/3 cups Israeli couscous (6 to 7 ounces)

- 1 3/4 cups (or more) vegetable broth

- 2 1/2 cups slender asparagus spears, trimmed, cut diagonally into 3/4-inch pieces

- 2 1/2 cups fresh sugar snap peas, trimmed 

- 1 cup shelled fresh green peas or frozen, thawed

- 1/3 cup chopped fresh chives

- 1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese


- Whisk 2 tablespoons oil, lemon juice, 1 garlic clove, and lemon peel in small bowl; set dressing aside.

- Heat 1 tablespoon oil in heavy medium saucepan over medium heat.

- Add couscous, sprinkle with salt, and sauté until most of couscous is golden brown, about 5 minutes.

- Add 1 3/4 cups broth, increase heat, and bring to boil.

- Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until liquid is absorbed and couscous is tender, about 10 minutes, adding more broth by tablespoonfuls if too dry.

- Meanwhile, heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in heavy large nonstick skillet over high heat.

- Add asparagus, sugar snap peas, green peas, and remaining garlic clove.

- Sprinkle with salt and pepper; sauté until crisp-tender, about 3 minutes. Transfer vegetables to large bowl.

- Add couscous to bowl with vegetables.

- Drizzle dressing over.

- Add chives and cheese; toss.

- Season with salt and pepper.
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