Every year in early summer the craving for a picnic hits. Unfortunately, in south Texas, that’s when the extreme heat, humidity, and mosquitoes show up, too.
This year, I got smart and got my act together in February. I found a cute picnic cooler and I was ready when the nice weather hit at the end of the month. Then when my birthday came around in April, I was able to throw together a picnic at the last second for the beach.
For a picnic last week, I put together a big grilled veggie sandwich on ciabatta and made some brownies. To round out the meal, I wanted a pasta salad, but I also wanted to have some of the gorgeous summer fruit that’s just hitting the market. I didn’t know if a fruit and pasta salad was possible, but then I remembered that I had seen Israeli couscous salads with fruit in them a time or two. And tomatoes are fruit, right? So I thought they belonged in this salad too. With the basil, yogurt, and lemon, the whole thing was quite refreshing.
I promise you that this combination of ingredients is not weird at all once you have a taste. However, if you’re feeding kids or picky eaters, the yogurt dressing makes a great dip for plain fruit, and it would be easy to make some extra dressing and slice some extra fruit just in case.
- 1-3/4 cups water
- 1-1/2 cups Israeli couscous
- 1 (6-ounce) carton plain coconut milk yogurt
- 1 teaspoons lemon zest
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons agave nectar
- 2 peaches, peeled and diced
- 10-12 strawberries, stemmed and diced
- 12 cherry or grape tomatoes, sliced in half
- 1/2 cup packed basil leaves, cut into thin slices
Bring water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Stir in couscous, cover, and reduce to a simmer. Cook for 8 to 10 minutes until water is absorbed. Fluff couscous with a fork.
Stir together the yogurt, lemon zest, lemon juice, and agave nectar. Combine with the couscous, peaches, strawberries, tomatoes, and basil. Refrigerate until ready to serve.