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I saw this recipe in our Nisly Family cookbook and made it as it was originally written.  It was an instant hit with our family, but I knew I wanted to tweak it just a little.  Tweak I did, and here is the result – one of our family’s favorite summer side dishes.  My kids love this salad, which thrills me to no end!  Oddly enough, I am well aware that if I were to deconstruct the dish and feed them the ingredients separately, they would look at me like I was from another planet. Go figure.  I think it must be the big flavor of the dressing that draws them in.

Another thing I love about this dish is that really, I can use whatever fresh veggies I happen to have on hand (you can’t skip the cilantro though – it is a “must” for this salad!).  Fresh zucchini or snap peas needing to be used?  Not sure how to use the rest of those green onions?  You can substitute just about anything in place of the peppers and peas.  To turn this into a Main Dish, add grilled chicken or shrimp!  Enjoy!

Michelle’s Asian Couscous Salad

1 ¼ c. chicken broth
1 c. uncooked couscous
¼ c. seasoned rice vinegar
2 t. vegetable oil
2 t. soy sauce
1 t. dark sesame oil
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 ½ c. thinly sliced romaine
1 c. chopped red, orange or green bell peppers
¾ c. frozen green peas, thawed
¼ c. c. chopped cilantro
2 T. finely chopped peanuts

Bring chicken broth to a boil in a medium saucepan; gradually stir in couscous.  Remove from heat; cover and let stand 5 minutes.  Fluff with a fork.  Combine vinegar, vegetable oil, soy sauce, sesame oil and garlic in large bowl, stir well.  Add couscous, romaine, pepper, peas, and cilantro; toss well.  If you are adding shrimp or chicken, toss it in with the veggies.  Sprinkle with peanuts before serving.  This salad is good slightly warm, at room temperature or even cold!  It goes nicely with grilled chicken, steak or fish!  I’ve also used quinoa instead of couscous and it is phenomenal!  So very versatile!

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