You know when the past week feels like it was double, maybe even triple as long than it actually was? Yeah, me too. My world has been a little shook up, forcing me to break and recreate new habits. I spent a part of this week flying to and from Portland in a 32 hour time span. This has been my shortest plane ride so far seeing as it's only 170 miles away. We went up, coffee was served, then half-full it was being collected because the plane was landing. I'm not a slow coffee drinker either.
Before this, we got to enjoy a visit from my boyfriend's parents. When they visit I like to interweave home cooked meals with our restaurant adventures. This recipe was one of those dinners, the other was a build-your-own taco night. My favorite. It was followed up with warm brownies and Ben&Jerry's boston cream pie ice cream. Also one of my favorites.
I've adapted this salad off of a prepackaged one sold at Trader Joes, one I have been completely obsessed with for a few years now. I've gotten to the point that I've decided to work on recreating it, mainly because it has been sold out every time recently due to popularity.When I am cooking for someone, I prefer to know about their palate so I can cater the meal to it. This salad reminds me of Mark and Wendy, his parents. To be honest, most things with fresh basil remind me of them and that's not a bad thing. This salad combines so many different flavors and textures.
Why in a jar? Because it's fun to eat a salad out of one. Put in your dressing and shake it up. Plus, I put a lot of things in jars, like wine (I know I'm breaking some kind of cup rule). I'm always trying to be more creative, stuffing whatever I can into a jar and making something awesome out of it.
We ate these salads on a hill nearby looking out at the sun setting over Puget Sound. It's one of those views that almost looks fake, almost like a painting. It's perfect, until it gets cold. Then you're shaking because you forgot a jacket, and running back up a hill while full of couscous.
Creamy Sweet Basil Dressing
1 1/2 cups loosely packed chopped basil
1 small garlic clove, chopped
3 tablespoons olive oil mayonnaise
2teaspoons blue agave nectar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon water
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
Combine all of the ingredients in a food processor, stopping to scrape down with a spatula. Blend until the mixture is combined and green, basil will be minced and small.
Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, up to 2 weeks in an airtight container.
Israeli Couscous Currant Salad
1 head romaine lettuce, chopped
1 cup cold cooked Israeli couscous
1 cup purple cabbage, chopped
1/2 cup canned sweet corn
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 green onion, chopped
1/4 cup asiago cheese, grated
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 cup dried currants
In a jar:
Prepare Israeli couscous according to packaging's instructions. Let cool until cold. Layer the ingredients in the order that they are listed above, starting with the lettuce at the bottom. Top with sweet basil dressing.
Shake the jar to mix. (Best part)
Makes four 24oz. jar salads.
In a bowl:
Combine all ingredients including the sweet basil dressing. Mix until dressing has coated all of the salad and serve.