2cups (240g)Persian/salad cucumbers,coined and halved (~4 cucumbers) Note 3
1bag (6 oz. 170g)baby spinach,coarsely chopped (~6 cups)
1/3cup (32g)toasted almonds
Optional: feta cheese
1/4cup (54g)red wine vinegar
1 and 1/2tablespoons (25g)Dijon mustard (don't use regular mustard)
3tablespoons (45g)freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2cup (112g)olive oil
COUSCOUS: Prepare the couscous according to package directions; don't forget to add the suggested amount of salt! Fluff with a fork and then place in the fridge to cool.
VEGGIE PREP: Meanwhile, prep the veggies. Coarsely chop the sun-dried tomatoes, coin and halve the cucumbers, and coarsely chop the spinach (discard large stems).
OPTIONAL -- TOAST ALMONDS: Add the sliced almonds in a single layer to a completely dry skillet (don't add any oil) and place on medium-high heat. Stir the nuts every 15 seconds for about 1-3 minutes or until the color slightly darkens and they start to smell good. Watch these carefully as they can go from perfectly toasted to burned quickly!
DRESSING: In a large Mason jar, combine all the dressing ingredients. Season to taste with salt (I add 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper). Place the lid on the jar and shake to combine. Store dressing in the fridge until ready to dress the salad. Shake again before dressing the salad.
ASSEMBLY: Add the spinach to a large bowl, add the cooled couscous on top, and toss the two together. Add in the tomatoes, cucumbers, and toasted almonds. Gently toss everything to combine. Add the dressing (to desired preference, you may not want it all) and toss again to coat everything. If desired, add feta cheese. Serve immediately.
STORAGE: If you aren't eating this salad all in one sitting and want leftovers, only add almonds and dressing to what will be eaten. This salad doesn't sit well once dressed.
Note 1: Couscous: There are several different types of couscous, so you want to make sure to get the small (Moroccan) couscous so it cooks up in this short amount of time.Note 2: Tomatoes: These are my current favorite sun-dried tomatoes. They’re sliced (julienne cut) and packed with herbs and olive oil so they add loads of flavor to this salad without extra ingredients. I recommend avoiding the sun-dried tomatoes in a packet; look instead for the olive oil-packed tomatoes.Note 3: Cucumbers:English or Persian cucumbers: These are also sometimes labeled as salad/mini cucumbers. Regular cucumbers don’t work as well because they lack flavor and are too watery.