Skip the bread but have all the flavors of a BLT with this couscous recipe.

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To combat lunch bag boredom, you need to straddle that 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 favorite — 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 cooked, smoked turkey or chicken.

Toasted Couscous BLT Salad

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Makes 4 servings

6 ounces bacon, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch strips

1/2 cup large pearl couscous

1 tablespoon cider vinegar

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

2 cups chopped iceberg lettuce

2 cups diced fresh tomatoes

Salt and ground black pepper, to taste

1. Cook the bacon. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to a plate lined with paper towels to drain. Pour off all but 1 tablespoon of the bacon fat from the saucepan.

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

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

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

5. When the couscous has cooled, transfer to the bowl with the lettuce and tomatoes. Add the 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.

Nutrition information per serving (values are rounded to the nearest whole number): 353 calories; 238 calories from fat; 26 g fat (7 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 29 mg cholesterol; 21 g carbohydrate; 8 g protein; 3 g fiber; 379 mg sodium.

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