The Kitchen Sink and More!

First off, being in the ad world for substantially longer than I’d like to admit, one of my pet peeves when it comes to copy is when the client insists on using the words ‘and more’ followed by an exclamation point. What does that really mean? And more? And the exclamation point so over used. But I digress. I could get all literal about stuff, but I’ll save that for another time.

I am a big proponent of taking anything  you have in your fridge (roasted veg, sun dried tomatoes, leftover chicken) and tossing it into rice, pasta, coucous. Whatever grainy goodness you have hiding in your cupboard. Maybe add some pesto or perhaps a lovely little vinaigrette. And call it a meal. I know the Paleo folks are not pleased with my use of grains. While conceptually I would really like to give the whole Paleo thing a go I just love rice too much. I could potentially give up pasta. No wait no I couldn’t. Let’s face it I just have absolutely no discipline when it comes to food.

Today’s post is about one of my most favorite, go-to sides. Which can also serve as a meal depending on what you put in it. While I’ve provided a recipe, essentially anything you’ve got can be tossed into this salad. Including the kitchen sink. And more! I’m starting to annoy myself. Moving right along.

The base of this recipe is any box of Near East Grains that strikes your fancy. My personal favorite is the Roasted Garlic and Olive Oil Israeli Couscous. And here’s the rest of the recipe…

Curried Israeli Couscous Salad with Pine Nuts, Shallots and Raisins

(trust me, the raisins totally make the salad)

1 box Near East Grains (while it would be really cool if I was somehow getting monetary compensation from the folks at Near East for mentioning their product,  sadly I am not)

3/4 cup shredded carrot (while I’m a big fan of the carrot, I just don’t dig it in this salad. but have at it.)

3/4 cups toasted pecans (or pine nuts or whatever nut you have on hand)

1/2 cup golden raisins (you know how I never follow a recipe. I had the non-golden variety of raisin in my pantry. So that’s what I used. I’m obviously not a stickler for details)

1/4 cup green onion sliced (see note above about my inability to follow a recipe. I chopped up a bunch of shallots because that’s what I had and because I was too lazy to go to the store)


Curry Balsamic Vinaigrette

(you will want to put this on everything. yes everything. make a double batch)

3 T olive oil

2 T balsamic vinegar

1/2 t curry powder

1/2 t dry mustard

1/4 t garlic powder (oh, go crazy and use a 1/2 t. who doesn’t love garlic. okay there are some who don’t. I simply don’t understand those people)


Cook grains according to directions. Add all the other ingredients. Add the vinaigrette and toss to coat. (I always add more curry because that’s how I roll.) Serve hot or at room temp. Totally easy peasy. Enjoy!

While this salad is totally delish, it’s not the most attractive dish I’ve ever made. I was taking it to a friend’s house and simply couldn’t bring an ugly brown salad to pass. What would people say. Okay, no one would probably care. But I do. It was totally a visual affront to my eyes. So I added some goat cheese crumbles and chopped up some heirloom tomatoes. Red, yellow and green. Topped the salad with the tomatoes and I was good to go.

Image courtesy of


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