A light and healthy Mediterranean couscous salad.
Perfect and refreshing for a hot summer day, this salad is quick and easy to make and is packed with nutrition.
It is a good source of vitamins, minerals, and protein.
What is couscous?
Couscous is a grain preparation made of small granules of crushed durum wheat semolina.
Dishes made from couscous form a staple in the Maghrebi cuisines of Algeria, Morocco, and Tunisia.
In France, couscous has been introduced to French cuisine by Maghrebi immigrants.
Couscous is said to have originated among the Berber tribes of North Africa and the word “couscous” comes from the Berber word “rolled” or “rounded.”
Couscous, much like rice, is a staple and a very versatile cooking ingredient as it soaks up the flavors of the other ingredients.
It can be made into a hot main dish, by preparing it as an accompaniment to a stew as it is usually served in Morocco.
And it can also be made into a refreshing cold summer salad with fresh vegetables and an olive oil dressing.
There are several couscous varieties varying in size and the grains they are made of.
The most common variety that you would encounter in a supermarket is the Moroccan couscous.
The Israeli couscous, even though bearing the same name, is not a couscous at all, but a type of pearl-shaped pasta, which is also called pearl couscous.
Couscous does not have a strong, distinctive flavor of its own, which makes it a versatile ingredient for many preparations.
It has a beautiful light and fluffy texture, a pleasant chewiness, and a slightly nutty taste lending a wholesome flavor to your dishes.
How to make this salad?
This salad is light and luckily, easy to prepare.
Here is an overview on how to make it from scratch.
In a pot, bring the water to a boil, add the couscous, stir, and cover the pan. Take the pan off the heat.
Let the couscous steam for 7-10 min. Once done, fluff the couscous with a fork and let it cool.
While the cooked couscous is cooling, chop the tomatoes, cucumbers into small cubes.
Chop the cilantro finely.
Mix the cooled couscous and all the chopped ingredients, add the olive oil and lemon juice, and season with salt and black pepper to taste.
Sprinkle with the chopped cilantro.
The salad is best when eaten fresh, but you can store the leftovers of this salad in the fridge for 1-3 days in an airtight container.
This salad recipe is a great base that you can experiment with by adding other ingredients.
For more Mediterranean flavor, you can add cheese, such as feta or halloumi and black or green olives.
For a Mexican flavor inspired salad, add black beans, corn, some chopped avocado, and a handful of cilantro. Finish with a lime dressing.
To transport your taste buds to the Levant, enrich the salad with dried apricots, chicken, chickpeas, raisins, and pomegranate seeds.
You can even put a Thanksgiving twist on this salad by mixing roasted butternut squash and some cranberries into your salad.
A handful of watermelon would add even more freshness and vitamins to your salad and make it a filling yet low-calorie option if you are watching your weight.
For even more flavor and freshness, sprinkle fresh herbs such as chives, parsley, mint, and basil on top of your salad.
You can also experiment with the dressing and use pomegranate molasses or balsamic vinegar with olive oil to change up the taste.
This couscous salad makes a perfect side dish to roast lamb, roast chicken, and fish.
You can also serve it with roasted vegetables for a vegetarian meal. Along with a soup, the couscous salad can form a light summer meal.
Serve the salad with fresh lemon wedges and a sprinkling of herbs of your choice for extra color and a dash of freshness.
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Mediterranean Couscous Salad Recipe
- Cook couscous as per package instructions with the water until cooked through.
- Let the couscous sit to soak up excess water and fluff up with a fork.
- Cut your tomato and cucumber into small dice.
- Add the tomato and cucumber to the couscous and mix.
- For the dressing mix all ingredients together in a small mixing bowl
- Pour dressing over couscous salad and garnish with freshly chopped cilantro.
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