The combination of flavors in this salad -- feta, lemon, basil, olives -- transports the armchair traveler in me to a taverna in Greece, where I imagine myself sitting at a round iron-legged café table overlooking the Mediterranean, sipping ouzo in the low afternoon sun. Luckily, this simple summer recipe tastes every bit as good if you're enjoying it on your own front porch. Israeli couscous -- not Greek, but from the other side of the Mediterranean -- is a small pasta that's toasted, which gives it a firm texture; if you can't find it in your market, use regular couscous, fregula sarda, or orzo or another small pasta. The lemon dressing gets its balance from Greek seasoning, a blend of oregano, lemon zest, salt and pepper I discovered a few years ago on a visit to The Spice House in Chicago. The basil in this salad came from my own herb garden, the first aromatic leaves of the season. Greece is lovely, but home can be quite tasty, too.
Greek shrimp, feta, lemon and basil couscous salad
Serves 3-4; can be multiplied.
1-1/2 cups Israeli couscous
3 cups boiling water
For the lemon dressing:
Juice of 1 lemon
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp Greek seasoning
1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
For the salad:
1 lb cooked large peeled and deveined shrimp
4 large basil leaves, thinly sliced
2 Tbsp crumbled feta cheese
1/2 cup sliced black olives
1/2 tsp fresh lemon thyme leaves (or regular thyme)
Place the couscous in a 2- or 3-quart sauce pan, and pour the boiling water over it. Simmer for 8-10 minutes, until the couscous is cooked through. Drain off any excess water, rinse under cold water and drain again, and place the couscous in a mixing bowl.
In a jar with a tight-fitting lid, combine all of the ingredients for the lemon dressing, and shake the jar vigorously to emulsify (thicken) the dressing.
To the mixing bowl with the couscous, add the shrimp, feta, olives and thyme leaves. Drizzle on the dressing, and stir gently to combine.
Serve at room temperature.
More salads you can make with Israeli couscous:
Shrimp, couscous, feta and herb salad with tomato vinaigrette
Couscous for a summer night
Couscous with orange and dried fruit
Fregula sarda with leeks and sausage
Other recipes that use these pantry ingredients:
Pasta with shrimp, artichokes and feta, from eCurry
Lemon and dill shrimp quesadilla, from Cookin' Canuck
Greek shrimp bruschetta, from Foxes Love Lemons
Lemony shrimp salad with avocado, heart of palm, and feta, from Kalyn's Kitchen
Lemon and arugula farfalle with feta and basil, from Three Many Cooks
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