Here’s a secret I’m going to share… my New Years resolution is to stock my pantry and refrigerator with all the staple ingredients I need to make quick healthy meals that are simple in a pinch, and taste amazing. Sounds super-easy and thought I would already have that covered? Well, I often find that I have too much of one thing, and not enough of the next when planning for meals at work and at home. So I’ve created a master list of pantry ingredients to always have on hand, and a list of standby recipes to match. Streamlined and efficient, and it’s already working wonderfully!
I’ve started with this quick and easy salad filled with fresh ingredients, and its a big hit every single time I make it for my family. This salad is beautiful, bright, and really healthy! The secret to the success of this recipe is two things: ONE: Toast the pearl couscous before cooking. It gives it an incredible flavor and the colour is lovely, and TWO: Slice your pork chop thinly and fan it out on top of your salad before serving. Its a thoughtful presentation that takes only a second, and makes this salad really pretty. I serve it with some sparkling water and a slice of crusty bread.
When it comes to grilling or cooking your pork loin, I use my cast iron pan to get a beautiful golden brown crust on the outside. You could also use leftover chops from the night before, or bake them in the oven. Any way works wonderfully; just make sure that the internal temperature of the meat reaches 160 degrees F.
One more quick thing…lets get back to the couscous… have you used pearl couscous before? I love this as an alternative to the usual, and it has a more ‘pasta-like’ appearance and texture when cooked. It is charming and round, like little pearls, and I think that it makes any salad or dish stand out.
Try this salad for your next pot-luck!
- 1-6oz (170g) boneless Ontario Pork loin chop, grilled and sliced into
- 1/2-inch (5 cm) segments
- 1 cup (250 mL) pearl couscous
- 2 tbsp (30 mL) butter
- 1 1/4 cups (300 mL) low sodium chicken broth
- 1/2 cup (125 mL) red onion, finely chopped
- 1 cup (250 mL) grape tomatoes, halved
- 1/2 cup (125 mL) kalamata olives, pitted and halved
- 1/4 cup (75 mL) chopped fresh basil leaves
- 1/2 cup (125 mL) arugula
- 1/2 cup (125 mL) crumbled feta
- 3 tbsp (45 mL) toasted pine nuts
- 3 tbsp (45 mL) extra virgin olive oil
- 3 tbsp (45 mL) red wine vinegar
- 1 tsp (5 mL) Italian seasoning
- 1 tsp (5 mL) garlic, minced
- 1/2 tsp (2 mL) fresh ground pepper
- Melt butter over medium heat in a medium saucepan. Add couscous and cook, stirring constantly until toasted, about 4 minutes.
- Stir in chicken stock and bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to low, and cook for 10 minutes or until water is absorbed. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
- In a large bowl combine red onion, grape tomatoes, olives, basil leaves, and arugula.
- In a small bowl whisk together olive oil, red wine vinegar, Italian seasoning, garlic, salt and pepper.
- Pour dressing over salad, add cooled couscous, and mix gently to combine.
- Divide onto plates and top each portion with sliced pork, feta cheese and toasted pine nuts.