A quick arugula pesto couscous salad featuring Israeli couscous, fresh arugula pesto, toasted pepitas, and sun-dried tomatoes.
My family skis.
For a large percentage of the population, that means nothing to them. But for those who participate in the wide world of winter sports that includes skiing and snowboarding, it totally means something. It means that no, we don’t snowboard, and yes, we pack our bags and spend a ridiculous amount of money to ship our skis out west in the middle of the freezing cold winter to go skiing. As often as possible.
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And so last February we made the trek to Park City, Utah for a week of slope-side fun with our family friends. There is something about Park City that I absolutely love. Maybe it’s the beautiful snow that seems to fall conveniently during every trip, piling up so high that we risked not getting out of the valley we were in at Alta one day. Maybe it’s the company of all my close family and friends, gathered around a bottle of wine with great conversation. Maybe it’s all the quirky shops you find and friendly people you meet on Main Street.
It’s probably all of those things, but it’s also definitely all the outstanding meals we seemed to have, everywhere in town and on the mountain. Like honey-roasted duck enchiladas with white bean relish and poblano verde sauce from Chimayo. Or Japanese Wagyu beef hot rock from Shabu. Or quinoa salad with basil pesto and sunflower seeds from the Glitretind at Deer Valley’s Stein Eriksen Lodge.
That quinoa salad was one of the tastiest restaurant side dishes I’d had in quite a while, and I just had to recreate it at home! I opted to switch out the quinoa for Israeli couscous, however, to give the dish a heartier base. I also wanted to add a little bit of a bite by using arugula pesto instead of basil pesto. Toasted pepitas add crunch, while the sun-dried tomatoes add a nice tartness to the dish.
Now it’s your turn: what is your favorite restaurant side dish? Share with me by commenting below!
- 1 cup uncooked Israeli couscous
- 2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
- 1/4 cup pepitas
- 3 cups packed baby arugula
- 1/2 cup parmesan, grated
- 3/8 cup olive oil
- Kosher salt, to taste
- 1/2 cup pepitas
- 3-4 ounces sun-dried tomatoes, finely chopped
- Bring a large covered pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Cook Israeli couscous as directed on the packaging and drain.
- While couscous is cooking, prepare pesto. Add garlic, pepitas, arugula and parmesan to a food processor. Pulse until well combined. With food processor running, stream in olive oil and run until smooth. Season with salt to taste.
- Heat a small skillet over medium heat. Add pepitas and cook until toasted, about 3-5 minutes. Watch carefully to prevent burning.
- When couscous has cooked, allow to cool for about 10 minutes. In a large salad bowl, combine cooked couscous, toasted pepitas, sun-dried tomatoes, and about 1/4 cup pesto. Toss until well combined. Add more pesto if desired.