2009 Nude & Eco-Cheap Cooking Initiative Recipe 4: Cucumber Couscous Salad

Looking for dinner for $11.50?  Well step right this way because today, we’re going to be feasting on:

Cucumber Couscous Salad

Shawna's Cucumbers
Shawna's Cucumbers
Veggies for the Cucumber Salad
Veggies for the Cucumber Salad

That’s right, my partner in the Nude & Eco-Cheap Cooking Initiative, the totally outstanding Shawna Coronado, gave me cucumber and when life gives you cucumber, you make salad.  (Or pickles I guess.)  I know you sure as heck don’t make dinner for $11.50.  Until now! 

If this is your first Nude & Eco-Cheap Cooking Initiatve Post, welcome.  Let me give you the drill.  Shawna is the mad scientist in the garden and while she’s more than a decent cook, she lets me work my magic to turn her nude veggies (no chemcials!) into a dinner for four for $11.50 or less.  According to the rules of this challenge, I can use salt, pepper, cooking oil, and flour along with whatever Shawna has in garden.  It’s a tough job, but somebody has to do it!

Today’s salad is going to be super easy and super delicous.  All you really need is some couscous, a few veggies for chopping, and some pita and you are good to go.

Making Cucumbers into Eco-Cheap Dinners

So the idea behind this dinner was to take a popular side dish, the cucumber salad, and turn it into something a bit more substantial.  Since we’re doing this eco-cheap, I figured I’d use couscous.  Not only is it easy to prepare, but it’s also very filling and doesn’t cost a lot of money.  While the couscous is cooking, prepare the salad and serve when the couscous is cool enough to eat!

You will need:

  • 2 cups broth or stock ($1.00)
  • 2 cups couscous (buy in bulk $2.00)
  • 2 cucumbers
  • 1 tomato (50 cents)
  • 1 red onion (50 cents)
  • 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar (50 cents)
  • 2 tablespoons of feta cheese crumbles ($1.50)
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 package Pita bread ($4.00)

Total $10.00 (under budget!!)

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Over high heat, bring the stock to a boil.  Into a glass bowl, first pour in the couscous and then the boiling broth.  Cover with plastic wrap.  That’s all it takes.  The couscous will be done in about 10 minutes.  Once it has finished, fluff it with a fork and let it cool.

Cut the cucumbers in half lengthwise then slice them into half moons.  Dice the tomatoes and remove the seeds.  Finally, cut the onions into 1/2 inch dice and put all the vegetables into a bowl. 

Add the rice wine vinegar, feta, a good pinch of salt, and 1/4 cup of olive oil to the bowl and stir.  Give the mixture a taste.  If it’s dry, add more olive oil.  Test it for saltiness, you may need to another pinch.  Let the bowl rest.

Cut the pita in half and brush liberally with olive oil.  Sprinkle salt on top and bake until warm, maybe 5 minutes.

Mix the cool couscous with the salad and serve with pita bread.  Nice, healthy, and delicious.


Get healthy today and follow the “2009 Nude & Eco-Cheap Cooking Initiative” with Blog Well Done’s Chris Perrin and the Casual Gardener, Shawna Coronado.

Thanks to Shawna and Thriteen of Clubs for their pics.

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