To combat lunch bag boredom, you need to straddle the fine line between exciting and familiar, which is just what this toasted couscous BLT salad does.


Exotic, large pearl couscous gets dressed up with all the ingredients of that perennial favourite — the bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwich — and tossed in a lemony dressing to create a packable salad that will appeal to the whole family.


To give even more heft to this lunch, and perhaps turn it into an easy light supper, add thickly sliced or diced smoked turkey or chicken.


Toasted Couscous BLT Salad
Four portions
Prep time: 25 min
Cooking: 10 min


• 170 g (6 oz) bacon, cut crosswise into 5-mm (1/4-inch) strips
• 125 ml (1/2 cup) large pearl couscous
• 15 ml (1 tbsp) cider vinegar
• 15 ml (1 tbsp) lemon juice
• 2 ml (1/2 tsp) Dijon mustard
• 30 ml (2 tbsp) extra-virgin olive oil
• 500 ml (2 cups) chopped iceberg lettuce
• 500 ml (2 cups) diced fresh tomatoes
• Salt and ground black pepper, to taste

1. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, cook bacon, stirring often, until crisp, about 10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer bacon to a plate lined with paper towels to drain. Pour off all but 15 ml (1 tbsp) of the bacon fat from the saucepan.

2. Return saucepan to stove over medium-high. Add couscous and toast, stirring often, until lightly browned, 2 to 4 minutes. Spread toasted couscous on a baking sheet to cool for 15 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, to make dressing, in a small bowl, whisk together vinegar, lemon juice and mustard. While whisking vigorously, drizzle in olive oil. Set aside.

4. In a large bowl, combine lettuce and tomatoes.

5. When couscous has cooled, transfer to bowl with lettuce and tomatoes. Add reserved bacon and dressing, then toss well to coat. Season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately or store, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 1 day.