We’re at that point in the summer where I’m starting to wonder: is an indoor herb garden possible? I love having a ton of fresh herbs around, and I’m really going to miss them when they’re gone. They’re so delicious and oh so PRETTY. I often get asked about my food photography/styling tips and my best tip is always: Whatever dish you have, smother it in herbs!
Aside from lots of fresh thyme and basil, this recipe is all about the tomatoes. I slow roast half of them, and put the other half raw into the salad. Together the raw and roasted cherry tomatoes make this a sweet, tangy, bursty, crunchy, herb-y gem of a late-summer salad.
Here’s what’s in it, except I forgot to include the fresh basil in this photo. Just don’t forget to include it in the recipe when you make it 🙂
First, I make the roasted cherry tomatoes. This step is not difficult, but it takes awhile for them to shrivel up and get nice and concentrated. I suggest starting the roasted cherry tomatoes right when you get home… have a glass of wine, check your email… do anything besides stare at the oven waiting for your tomatoes. They’ll be done in no time and your kitchen will smell amazing. Note: if it’s too hot to turn your oven on, you can make roasted cherry tomatoes at a lower temp for a longer amount of time so as not to heat up your kitchen.
Once you have finished roasted cherry tomatoes, prep everything else and toss it all together in a big bowl. Top with an abundance of fresh herbs and a generous drizzle of olive oil. Serve this couscous salad with a protein if you like, or just on its own (chickpeas = protein).
This is also delicious the next day for lunch. On day 2, I like to add a little bit more lemon and an extra pinch of salt.
- 4 cups cherry tomatoes, (half for roasting, half raw)
- Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
- 1 cup dry Israeli couscous
- 1½ cups cooked chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- ¼ teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice, more if desired
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- Leaves from 6 sprigs fresh thyme, more for garnish
- ¼ cup fresh basil, more for garnish
- 2 Persian cucumbers, thinly sliced
- ⅓ cup crumbled feta cheese
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Roast the cherry tomatoes (this step can be made in advance): Preheat the oven to 300°F. Slice 2 cups of the cherry tomatoes in half, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkles of salt and pepper, and place cut side up on a baking sheet. Roast 60 to 90 minutes (the time will depend on the size and juiciness of the tomatoes), or until shriveled and browned around the edges. Remove from the oven and set aside.
- Cook the couscous according to the package directions until al dente, about 9 minutes. Drain and set aside to cool.
- Increase the oven heat to 400°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the chickpeas on the baking sheet and toss with a drizzle of olive oil and sprinkles of salt and pepper. Roast 20 minutes, or until crispy. Remove from the oven and toss with the smoked paprika.
- In the bottom of a large bowl, combine 1 tablespoon of olive oil, the lemon juice, garlic, thyme, ¼ teaspoon salt, and several grinds of black pepper. Add the cooled couscous and toss. Slice the remaining raw cherry tomatoes in half and add them to the bowl with the roasted tomatoes, the chickpeas, basil, cucumbers, and feta. Top with more fresh herbs and a generous drizzle of olive oil. Season to taste.