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Couscous provides the perfect base for a meal on vacation, for camping, or for a picnic. Recently, we stayed a night at the Grand America hotel and decided to bring a simple salad to make for dinner. This Apricot Couscous Salad was easy enough that I could bring all the ingredients with me and whip them together in a hotel room. (One caveat – their hotel room was more of a suite than your basic hotel room)
I loaded up a grocery bag with prepared apricot vinaigrette, dry couscous, and a few other salad toppings (herbs, apricots, goat cheese and almonds), so all I would have to do for dinner was make the couscous and toss everything together. Simple. And the simplicity made for a light summer salad that we could enjoy outside the confines of our home kitchen. It allowed us more swim time, more hang out time, and we didn’t bother anyone by bringing a baby (which may or may not be fussy) into the hotel restaurant. Summer days call for simple meals, meals that free you up to enjoy more.
I’m not much of a camper but I think this would also make for a good camp dinner. On a past camping trip my friend whipped up this amazing meal, of which I definitely took note of, and she made it with couscous. To make couscous you only need to combine the grain with boiling water and let it sit for 5 minutes (here are tips on making couscous from The Huffington Post). You can make this pretty much anywhere! And though the Grand America is pretty much the opposite of camping, it was nice to have a quick meal I could make without all the gadgets I have at home.
“Like all magnificent things, it’s very simple.” – Natalie Babbitt
What are some of the meals that you make on summer vacations or camping trips?
- 1 cup couscous, uncooked
- handful of fresh herbs, I used parsley and mint
- 1/4 cup goat cheese
- 1/4 cup sliced almonds
- 2-3 fresh apricots sliced
- 3 fresh apricots, sliced and pits removed
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 2 tablespoons wine vinegar, I used Slide Ridge honey wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon honey
- salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
For the dressing, put all of the ingredients in a food processor or blender pulse or blend until smooth. Store in a jar in the refrigerator until ready to use (should keep for about a week). Makes 1/2 cup of dressing
Make the couscous by bringing 1 and 1/4 cups water to a boil, add in the couscous, return to a boil, then cover and remove from heat. Leave the couscous covered for 5 minutes then fluff with a fork.
Mix the fresh herbs, almonds, and apricots into the couscous (saving a little of everything to put on the top). Toss with about a forth of a cup of the dressing. Top the salad with chunks of goat cheese and extra apricots, almonds, and herbs.
Serve with a drizzle of the apricot vinaigrette.
The Grand America was quite exquisite! We have filled a few summer nights thus far with a getawaya nearby, like our weekend trip to the Canyons, which has given the feeling of vacation yet we didn’t have to travel far with the new little guy. This adventure, just a few blocks, from our house, left us feeling like we had traveled to somewhere much more exciting than downtown Salt Lake City.
We took full advantage of the pool and even ordered some pool side cocktails and snacks while we sat in the sun and took the occasional refreshing dip in the pool.
An amazing thing about Grand America is that the hotel is incredibly baby friendly. We stepped into our room filled with all of the baby necessities- a crib, baby bed, rocking chair, and even a stroller. Everything was perfect; there was even chocolate awaiting the arrival of two semi frazzled new parents. We set our stuff down, took a deep sigh knowing we had made it to our little oasis for the night (yet if we forgot anything we were only 10 minutes away!). We soaked in every moment of our night away with a tasty meal and luxurious accommodations and we hardly remembered we were only minutes away from home.