central market’s couscous salad with feta, spinach, basil, and lemon

central market's couscous salad with feta, spinach, basil, and lemon
while home in austin for the christmas holiday, my mom and i went grocery shopping at central market (if you’re not familiar, it’s like the best grocery store ever – similar to whole foods). it was a gorgeous afternoon and we sat outside as we ate lunch before hitting the aisles.
yes outside. in late december.
just one of the 5,834,395 reasons i love texas.
we had grabbed a few of their prepared snacks for lunch, some sushi and this amazing couscous salad. we both would have licked the plastic container if there weren’t so many people there. i knew as soon as i got home, i would have to give it a go, and try to make it myself. and obviously, since i am posting the recipe, i am super happy with the results. (this is just my interpretation of the couscous – i didn’t get this recipe straight from CM.) a huge bonus: this recipe takes about 10 minutes to make. it is light and bright, with fresh basil and tangy lemon juice. the spinach adds interest and great nutrition + vitamins. and the feta.. oh the feta. i could put feta on almost anything.

central market’s couscous salad with feta, spinach, basil, and lemon
makes a little over 2 cups


1 cup uncooked couscous

1/4 tsp coarse sea salt

1 1/2 tsp extra virgin olive oil

1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese

1/2 cup fresh spinach, chopped

1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped or torn into small pieces

juice from 1/2 lemon

few dashes of white pepper (not black pepper, which would be too heavy)


1. bring 1 cup water and 1/4 tsp sea salt to a boil in a small saucepan. once boiling, add 1 cup couscous and stir well. cover and remove from heat. let sit for 5 minutes.

2. once couscous is done, add olive oil, fluff with a fork or spatula and transfer into a bowl. add feta, chopped spinach, basil, and white pepper. squeeze the juice from 1/2 a lemon over top and mix well. serve chilled or at room temperature.

lemon garlic spaghetti with basil, parmesan, + pine nuts

lemon garlic spaghetti with basil, parmesan, and pine nuts | via she likes to eat

after stuffing my face with this, i am convinced it is THE best way to eat spaghetti.
at least it’s become my personal favorite way.
it’s got a wonderful combination of tartness – from the lemon – and flavorful warmth – from the sautéed garlic and bright basil. the parmesan cheese rounds it all out with rich nutty and butter flavors. light & fresh mixed with a hint of comfort food.

(this pasta is gently adapted from the barefoot contessa, and is perfectly paired with this lemon garlic chicken.)

lemon garlic spaghetti with basil & pine nuts
(makes 4 large servings)


8 oz. uncooked spaghetti (spinach fettuccine also works wonderfully)

1 tbsp olive oil

3 large garlic cloves, minced

1/3 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese

juice of 1 lemon

2 heaping tbsp pine nuts

5-7 basil leaves, chiffonaded (*see note below*)


1. in a dry skillet over medium high heat, toss the pine nuts, to brown. watch carefully and don’t burn them, just brown them a bit. pour them into a separate bowl and set aside.

2. in the same skillet over medium high heat, add the olive oil. add the garlic and saute about 2 minutes; being careful not to burn. once it’s just beginning to brown on the edges, remove from heat and set aside.

3. cook pasta according to package directions, drain and place in serving bowl. drizzle pasta with a bit of olive oil to moisten and stir. add lemon juice, sautéed garlic, pine nuts, basil, and parmesan cheese. toss well.

**if you want to learn how to chiffonade, here’s a great little tutorial**

macaroni & cheese with chickpeas

this is a fantastic recipe that i have made for the little she so many times.
i had been looking for a kid-friendly macaroni and cheese, but one that was fairly healthy.
(and it had to be super yummy because i wanted to make it for my hubby too.)
the first time i made this was with my mom while she was in town visiting.
and after the little girl had her fill, us big girls finished off the rest! 

macaroni & cheese with chickpeas (or hummus mac’n’cheese)

1 1/2 cups – 2 cups whole wheat elbow macaroni (uncooked)

1 cup milk (you can use nonfat, i used whole for babygirl)

1/2 cup (i used – on accident – 1 can & it was fine) chickpeas/garbanzo beans (or navy beans or white beans), drained & rinsed

1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese (about 8 oz.)

1/2 tsp salt (i used about 1/4 tsp)

1/8 tsp garlic powder

1/8 tsp paprika

1/8 tsp pepper

PAM (i used olive oil cooking spray)

1. bring a pot of salted water to a boil, add the macaroni and cook according to package directions until al dente. drain.

2. while the macaroni is cooking, combine the beans and the milk in a food processor and process until pureed.

3. coat a large saucepan with cooking spray and set it over medium heat. add the bean mixture to the pan and cook, stirring until smooth, 1-2 minutes. add the cheese and cook until melted and creamy, 1-2 minutes longer. stir in salt, garlic powder, paprika & pepper.

4. stir in the macaroni and serve warm.
(it will keep for up to a week or so, but it doesn’t last that long in my house!)

from the cookbook deceptively delicious by jessica seinfeld.
i highly recommend this cookbook