An Easy Couscous Salad Recipe

Here's a very easy couscous salad recipe which also happens to be absolutely delicious.

It's great for hot summer days but it's also very filling and tasty as a winter meal with the addition of some pre-cooked vegetables.

This is one of those wonderful recipes which you can vary to your heart's content with different vegetables and proteins to create either a rich and complex main meal or a stunningly simple side dish.

This couscous salad recipe provides a lovely way to prepare couscous and it's also very easy as it involves almost no cooking!

The ingredients

The ingredients are simple too.

As well as the couscous, you need water, olive oil, garlic, lemon juice or cider vinegar, peppers and tomatoes and a few other salad vegetables such as shallots, spring onions, carrots and celery.

Some fresh chopped herbs such as coriander, chives, tarragon or mint are very desirable ingredients but not strictly necessary. A small amount of mint is especially delicious.

You can vary this couscous salad recipe according to what you have in your larder or fridge.

If you can, use organic couscous. You'll be supporting organic agriculture, which is far more earth-friendly than chemical agriculture - and your health may well benefit, too.

See Paula Wolfson's classic work: Couscous and Other Good Food from Morocco for more excellent ways to prepare couscous. Essential reading if you like Moroccan cuisine!

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Couscous salad recipe - the method

Weigh out half a pound (200 gm) of couscous and put it into a large bowl - it will expand once it is soaked.

Add about 250 ml or 8-10 fluid ounces of water, 4 tablespoons of olive oil and the juice of a large lemon. Alternatively, you can use a couple of dessert spoonfuls of cider vinegar instead of the lemon. Crush in some garlic into the mix if you like and season it to taste.

Set the couscous aside to steep and expand.

Prepare one or two large peppers by holding them over a flame until the skins are blackened. It's amazing just how long you can leave them on a gas flame without them turning to cinders! (Even so, a pair of tongs is a help here.) Turn them from time to time.

Wrap them up in a damp tea towel for 10 minutes and afterwards the skin should peel away quite easily.

Chop them, let them cool and add chopped fresh tomatoes, raw onion or shallots, sliced carrots - whatever you fancy or have handy, really.

After 20 minutes the couscous should have "cooked" in the water, juice and oil mix. That is, the grains will have swollen and be soft enough to eat and digest.

Chop and add some herbs - chives, coriander, parsley, fennel and tarragon are all good and mint is wonderful in small quantities.

Serve with a main dish or to beef it up, add cubes of feta cheese and serve with green salad.

Very easy, very quick and totally delicious!

You can also prepare couscous in the standard way and use it as a base for a salad. Here's how (below ads):

Couscous salad recipe - the cooked version

Cooked salad?

It's only that the couscous is cooked and used cold! You can also add in a selection of cooked vegetables such as carrots or cauliflower, if you want a truly cooked salad. The key is to make sure that vegetables used are not over-cooked or watery. Choose ones which taste good cold.

You can use bulgar instead of couscous. It is just like couscous but has larger grains.

Cook your couscous (or bulgar) and set it aside to cool. Prepare a mixed salad of chopped tomatoes, chopped spring onions, rocket and a few sprigs of mint and other herbs such as dill and tarragon. Add a generous glug of olive oil and a few splashes of balsamic vinegar.

When the couscous is cool, stir in the salad and add some feta cheese as garnish. Add some seeds and nuts, too, such as cashews and poppy seeds.

You can also recycle a few cooked vegetables such as peas or cauliflower florets if you want.

This makes a quick and nutritious summer lunch. Serve it with a good mayonnaise and a hunk of home-made bread and perhaps some olives on the side. This is cooking at its easiest! 

Couscous by itself or in a salad goes well with falafel and hummus.

Left overs

You can use left over couscous from the previous day. Always be very careful about keeping it cool. Cooked grains should always be stored in a fridge or other cool place and should not be kept for more than two days.

Cooked grains can be a source of food poisoning if improperly kept, so if there's the slightest doubt, throw it out!

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Couscous Salad Recipe - top of page

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Couscous Salad Recipe - Easy and Nutritious,

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