Veggie Packed Couscous with Lemon Oregano Chicken

Veggie Packed Couscous Salad with Lemon Oregano Chicken

One of the best parts about pilafs is how much good stuff you can pack into them, without the dish feeling overly heavy.

Simply cook a grain or starch, toss it with a whole bunch of veggies and herbs, drizzle with a flavorful dressing, and top with a protein of your choice.

Voila! You’ve got a balanced meal in a bowl.

Veggie Packed Couscous Salad with Lemon Oregano Chicken

This delicious recipe takes things to flavor town.

Tender, fluffy, buttery couscous, tossed with crisp tender broccoli and asparagus, sweet bell pepper and tomato, fresh cucumber, parsley, and green onion, briny olives, and tangy feta cheese. A drizzle of lemon-garlic-oregano dressing and a liberal pinch of salt and pepper ties it all together.

What makes it even better?

Marinating chicken in a lemon-garlic-oregano marinade, then grilling for extra smoky flavor, and serving on top of the couscous salad.

Sure, this dish requires a lot of chopping of veggies, but boy, is it worth it. And it makes A TON, so you’ll have plenty of leftovers for lunches during the week. Enjoy!

Veggie Packed Couscous Salad with Lemon Oregano Chicken

Veggie Packed Couscous with Lemon Oregano Chicken
Prep Time
1 hr
Cook Time
20 mins
Total Time
1 hr 20 mins
 
Servings: 6
Ingredients
For the chicken:
  • 1.5 pounds boneless skinless chicken breast cutlets
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh oregano
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
For the couscous:
  • 10 ounce uncooked plain couscous
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil or butter
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pound asparagus, woody ends removed, spears cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 3/4 pound broccoli, florets cut into 1/2 inch pieces, stems saved for another use
  • 2 small red bell peppers, seeded & diced
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 1/2 large English cucumber, diced
  • 1 cup halved kalamata olives
  • 1/2 cup sliced green onion
  • 1/2 cup minced parsley
  • 6 ounces crumbed feta
For the dressing:
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • pita bread (optional)
Instructions
For the chicken:
  1. Add the chicken cutlets to a large ziplock bag or medium baking dish and set aside.

  2. Whisk together the chicken marinade ingredients (olive oil, lemon juice, lemon zest, garlic, oregano, salt, and pepper) in a small bowl. 

  3. Pour the marinade over the chicken and toss to coat well. Let rest at room temperature while you prepare the rest of the salad.

For the couscous:
  1. Add the dry couscous, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1 tablespoon olive oil or butter to a large heat-proof bowl. Pour two cups of boiling water over the couscous, cover with a large plate, and let steam for five minutes. When the couscous is done cooking, remove the plate, and fluff with a fork. Set aside and let cool.

  2. Meanwhile, add two tablespoons of olive oil to a large nonstick skillet and warm over medium heat. Add the chopped asparagus and broccoli, and sauté for about 5 minutes, until the vegetables are bright green and crisp tender. Add the broccoli and asparagus to the bowl with the couscous and let cool.

  3. While the vegetables and couscous cool, make the dressing. Whisk together all of the dressing ingredients (extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice, honey, garlic, oregano, salt, and pepper) in a small bowl and set aside. 

  4. When the vegetables and couscous are no longer piping hot, add the bell peppers, tomatoes, cucumber, olives, green onion, parsley, and feta to the bowl. Pour the dressing over the salad and mix until evenly coated. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside.

  5. Finally, warm a grill pan over high heat on the stove. Add the chicken cutlets and cook, about 3 minutes on each side, until the chicken is cooked through & has grill marks. Remove from the grill and let cool for 5 minutes. Slice into strips, and set aside. 

  6. If desired, brush pita bread with plain or garlic olive oil and lightly grill. Serve on the side of the salads. 

  7. When ready to eat, spoon the couscous into individual serving bowls, top with sliced chicken, and enjoy. 

Confit Turkey Salad with Orange Vinaigrette

Turkey Confit Salad With Orange Vinaigrette

Did you watch the 2013 season of Top Chef Masters?

If you did, then you probably remember chef Sang Yoon. Yep. The ketchup-hater.

Well, he owns two fabulous restaurants that are just a few minutes from our apartment.

Lukshon, an asian-fusion restaurant is one of my absolute favorites. It’s home to my favorite sparkling rose, luscious silky broths, and succulent spicy noodles. It’s my go-to place for a celebratory dinner or date night.

But realistically, we can be found more often at Father’s Office, Yoon’s casual, cooler, sister restaurant that serves up one of the best burgers in LA, thin and crispy fries, and a huge selection of craft beers.

Turkey Confit Salad With Orange Vinaigrette and Figs

I almost always get the burger at Father’s Office (and yes, there’s no ketchup allowed, only aioli), but one time I went rogue and got the salad.

I know… a SALAD at a burger joint??

But this wasn’t just any salad. It was a duck confit salad over bitter greens with a delicate orange vinaigrette.

And omg it was so good, I ordered it again the next time we went to Father’s Office.

And then I got a little obsessed and tried to recreate it home.

Turkey Drumstick Confit Salad With Orange Vinaigrette

I don’t know about you, but duck isn’t sold at my local Sprouts, so I swapped in a prehistoric looking whole turkey drumstick instead. It has the same vibe as a whole confited duck leg, and turkey legs are actually pretty cheap!

Next step? Figuring out how the heck to confit something.

P.S. if you don’t know how to pronounce confit, it’s “con-fee”

Turkey Confit Salad With Orange Vinaigrette, Cashews, and Figs

The confiting process is actually relatively simple and hands-off.

You simply submerge your piece of meat (or veggies- garlic confit is super popular) in a pot of olive oil and slowly simmer for hours and hours until the meat is fall off the bone tender.

I like to finish the turkey with a quick high-heat cook in the oven to crisp up the skin, because let’s be honest, crispy skin is the best part of home cooked poultry, am I right?

But really, once the confit is in the oven, you can hang out and do something else for the afternoon while the meat simmers away, and it’ll be ready and waiting for you come dinner time.

Confited meats are super rich.

I mean, you DID just cook it entirely submerged in oil for hours 😉

So to balance it out, it’s perfect served atop a lightly dressed bed of bitter greens, with a fresh orange vinaigrette, crunchy salty nuts, and delightfully sweet dried figs.

Nom nom nom.

This meal is definitely a cooking project, but I can’t think of a better way to spend a Sunday afternoon! You get to be creative and try a new cooking techqniue, AND totally impress yourself and your family with a restaurant quality salad with fancy confited meat 🙂

Turkey Confit Salad With Fresh Orange Vinaigrette

Confit Turkey Salad with Orange Vinaigrette
Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
4 hrs 30 mins
Total Time
4 hrs 50 mins
 
Course: Salad
Cuisine: American
Servings: 4
Author: Erica Julson
Ingredients
  • 4 whole turkey drumsticks
  • Sprinkle of kosher salt
  • Sprinkle of ground black pepper
  • 1.5 liters olive oil
  • Cloves from 1 head of garlic, peeled
  • 1 shallot, halved and peeled
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 large head curly green leaf lettuce, leaves washed and roughly chopped
  • 1 small head radicchio, quartered, cored, and thinly sliced
  • 16 dried figs, stem ends removed, each fig sliced into 8 wedges
  • 1/2 cup roasted salted cashews or macadamia nuts
  • 2 green onions, minced
  • Zest and juice of 1 small navel orange
  • 2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large clove garlic, pressed or minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon whole grain Dijon mustard
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. Season the turkey legs with kosher salt and pepper and place in a large enameled dutch oven. Nestle them in so that they are in one layer. Pour enough olive oil into the dutch oven to fully submerge the turkey legs (don't worry, you can save the oil for cooking later. It won't be wasted). It took about 1.5 liters to cover the turkey legs in my dutch oven.
  2. Add the garlic cloves, shallot, and bay leaves to the pot. Put the pot on the stove over high heat and bring to barely a simmer. Turn off the heat, and put the unlidded pot in the oven. Let cook for 4 hours, or until the skin and flesh of the turkey has begun to pull away from the end of the leg bone and the meat is fall off the bone tender. Check on it periodically to make sure the oil is NOT boiling. If it is, turn down the heat so it is barely at a simmer.
  3. When the turkey is done, remove the pot from the oven and set aside to cool. Use tongs to remove the turkey legs from the oil and place on a cooling rack placed on a rimmed baking sheet. Increase the oven temperature to 450 degrees Fahrenheit and place the baking sheet with the turkey legs in the oven. Bake for 20 minutes or so, until the skin is nicely browned and crispy. Remove from the oven and set aside.
  4. When the olive oil is cooled, fish out the garlic and shallot confit & store submerged in a bit of the oil for another use. Strain the rest of the oil into a tupperware and keep in the fridge for up to a month for all of your general purpose cooking needs.
  5. While the turkey legs are browning, assemble the salad and make the dressing.
  6. Place the lettuce and radicchio in a large bowl.
  7. In a small bowl, whisk together the orange zest, orange juice, 2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil, 1 clove pressed garlic, and Dijon mustard. Season with a little salt and pepper, and pour the dressing over the lettuce and radicchio. Toss to coat.
  8. Divide the lettuce up onto 4 large plates. Top each plate with 1/4th each of the dried figs, cashews or macadamia nuts, and green onions. Place 1 turkey leg on top of each salad and enjoy!
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Shaved Persimmon and Fuji Apple Salad with Honey Lime Dressing

Shaved Persimmon and Fuji Apple Salad with Honey Lime Dressing

Have you ever tried a persimmon?

Hey, don’t feel bad. I only tried my first persimmon about 5 years ago.

They look like goofy orange heirloom tomatoes with a flowery green top, but they’re actually a fruit!

Persimmon, Pomegranate, and Apple Salad with Honey Lime Dressing

There are two main types of persimmons: fuyu & hachiya.

Fuyu persimmons are easier to find, and generally more well-liked. While they are shaped like heirloom tomatoes, they are actually firm & crisp, sort of like an apple, and taste just mildly sweet.

In contrast, hachiya persimmons are shaped more like Roma tomatoes. While they start out firm, you’re not supposed to eat them until they are super duper ripe & have a soft gelatinous texture (not my personal favorite).

So clearly, the 2 types of persimmons have very different uses!

Shaved Persimmon and Fuji Apple Salad with Honey Lime Dressing

For this delectable fall salad, I chose fuyu persimmons from my local farmers market.

I especially recommend shopping for hard to find seasonal produce at your local market, rather than at a regular grocery store. The fruit at your farmers market is fresh-picked, and actually tastes ripe and delicious like it’s supposed to. Fruit at the grocery store was picked who knows how long ago, not at peak ripeness, and has been sitting on the shelves for days to weeks, waiting for someone to purchase it.

Trust me, fresh local produce is NOTHING like the grainy tasteless options available at the grocery store. So please, if you plan to make this salad, get your persimmons from a local farmer!

Shaved Persimmon and Apple Salad with Honey Lime Dressing

Since fuyu persimmons have a crisp texture to them, they pair well with other crisp fruits, like apples.

But, since sturdy fruits have such a firm texture, they don’t make the best salads if they’re just chopped into cubes and tossed together. It’s much more fun to thinly slice them, using a mandoline, to make the fruit easy to pierce with a fork and give each piece the optimal dressing to fruit ratio.

Let’s be real though, a salad of JUST apple and persimmon would be boring. It needs a succulent tart pop of freshness.

Oh hey there, pomegranate, I see you sitting there next to the persimmons. Why yes, you WOULD make a wonderful companion in this dish!

All it needs to bring everything together is a honey-lime dressing and a sprinkle of creamy queso fresco cheese. YUM!!

This is a show stopping salad that would be excellent for Thanksgiving, or just enjoyed during the brief pomegranate and persimmon season this fall.

Enjoy!

Shaved Persimmon and Fuji Apple Salad with Honey Lime Dressing

Shaved Persimmon and Fuji Apple Salad with Honey Lime Dressing
Prep Time
30 mins
Total Time
30 mins
 
Course: Salad
Cuisine: American
Servings: 4
Author: Erica Julson
Ingredients
  • 2 Fuyu persimmons
  • 2 Fuji apples
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Pomegranate arils from 1/2 of a large pomegranate
  • 2.5 oz freshly crumbled queso fresco
Instructions
  1. Cut the tops and bottoms off of the persimmons and apples. Use a mandoline to thinly slice them into rounds, or, if you don't have a mandoline, do your best to thinly slice with a knife.
  2. Once the fruit is sliced, stack the slices and cut the stack into quarters. Place in a medium salad bowl and set aside while you make the dressing.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, honey, fresh lime juice, and salt. Pour over the persimmons and apples, and use your hands to toss and make sure each piece is nicely coated with dressing.
  4. Add the pomegranate arils and crumbled cheese, then toss lightly to combine. Serve right away.
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