Tomato and Blue Cheese Couscous Salad with Spicy Oil Dressing

Disclaimer: This post was sponsored by Tabasco. However, all thoughts and opinions were my own.

Tomato and Blue Cheese Salad with Spicy Oil Dressing

When it comes to challenges, sign me up. Perhaps it’s the competitive nature in me. Maybe it’s the drive to always challenge myself in order to improve my skills. Whatever it is, I’m not a fan of turning down challenges, especially when they involve cooking. Why? I feel as though challenges make people better by helping them to open their eyes, improve their skills, and grow as a person.

So, when Tabasco reached out to me with a cooking challenge, I jumped all over the chance. What was the challenge? Create five recipes only using 10 ingredients and publish those recipes over the course of five days. Below is the ingredient list:

  • Tabasco (this must be included in every recipe)
  • Chicken (any type)
  • Onion (any type)
  • Multi or Whole Grain (rice: long or short grain, brown, red, or wild; couscous; quinoa; faro; barley; etc.)
  • Canned Beans (any type)
  • Tomatoes (canned or fresh, whole or diced)
  • Leafy Greens (any type)
  • Bacon (any type)
  • Cheese (Grating or Melting: Parmesan, Cheddar, Guyere, Mozzarella, Asiago, etc.)
  • Dried Fruit (any type)
  • Note: Oil, salt, and pepper were free ingredients

As you can see, with just a few ingredients, this whole project was quite a challenge. However, I welcomed it with open arms. My cooking mentality is all about using only a few ingredients to prepare recipes because let’s face it, food doesn’t have to be complicated to taste good. Between the small amount of ingredients, the ease of preparation, and the budget-friendly theme, I felt as though this challenge was a match made in heaven.

Tomato and Blue Cheese Salad with Spicy Oil Dressing
When I received the ingredient list, I headed to the grocery store without a single recipe in mind and filled my shopping cart with the ingredients that would help me create the five dishes. I set out all of the ingredients on my countertop, looked them up and down, and that’s when all of the recipe ideas came flooding into my head. As I got to work preparing this Tomato and Blue Cheese Salad with Spicy Oil Dressing recipe, I couldn’t help but think that I was on an episode of Chopped. Thankfully, the cameras weren’t in my house or else I would have been incredibly embarrassed by the mess that quickly took over my kitchen.

After creating this salad recipe, I couldn’t wait to prepare the other four dishes. So, what’s on the Tabasco-inspired menu over the next few days? You’ll have to wait and see. I hate ruining surprises.  Be sure to visit my posts over the next few days to grab simple recipes that only require a few simple ingredients and only a small amount of prep and cook time.

For other tasty Tabasco-infused recipes, be sure to visit the following blogs this week. All of us joined together to tackle the challenge in order to open our eyes to the amazing versatility of Tabasco.
Tomato and Blue Cheese Couscous Salad with Spicy Oil Dressing
  • 1 cup pearled couscous, uncooked
  • 3 tablespoons Tabasco Original Red sauce
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper (to taste)
  • 2 cups trimmed arugula or 2 cups spring mix salad
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1 shallot, chopped
  • 1/4 cup crumbled blue cheese
  1. Cook the couscous according to the directions on the package. 
  2. Make the dressing by combining the Tabasco sauce, extra virgin olive oil, salt, and pepper in a bowl.
  3. Combine all of the ingredients in a bowl and toss to incorporate.
Note: The couscous, tomatoes, shallot, and dressing can be combined ahead of time and placed in the refrigerator until ready to serve. When you are ready to serve the dish, toss in the lettuce and blue cheese to keep the salad fresh and vibrant.

What is your favorite side salad?

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