CousCous Salad is one of those salads that is perfect as a side. Or it can be a meal on it’s own!
We think this CousCous Salad with Colourful Veg is a show stopper actually. So many bright and vibrant colours, it’s like a party in a bowl.
CousCous Salad is the perfect ‘no cook’ ingredient.
When it comes to making a Couscous Salad, lots of recipes will tell you that couscous does require cooking. They’ll tell you to boil it in a saucepan on the stove. We actually feel this is fraught with danger. Boil it too long and the result is a gluggy mess. Don’t boil it long enough … you’ll be crunching away on little rocks.
Because of the size of each grain, it cooks quite quickly.
Whenever you are making couscous, especially for a couscous salad, use our method. We recommend simply pour the couscous into a nice, wide bowl and just cover with boiling water.
Allow to sit until all the water is soaked up. By then each grain of couscous should be al dente.
Then all you do is lightly scrape the tines of a fork across the top of the couscous over and over. Each time you do this, it will fluff up more grains of couscous. Repeat until all the couscous is fluffed up and ready to become the base of your Couscous Salad.
The History of Couscous
According to Encyclopaedia.com, Couscous (from the Berber word k’seksu ) is the staple product of North Africa. It’s the national dish of Algeria, Morocco, and Tunisia.
Couscous spread from this area, where it originated, to Libya, Mauritania, Egypt, and sub-Saharan countries. Couscous is also consumed in the Middle East, where it is called mughrabiyya.
Couscous is an icon food in northern Africa for dietary and cultural reasons. Similar to rice, pasta, or bread, couscous is an inexpensive and highly nutritive product made from wheat or other cereals (barley, sorghum, corn, millet, or minor grains) with the capacity for long-term preservation.
How is Couscous made?
Thankfully whenever we want to whip up a Couscous salad, we can buy a box of Couscous at the supermarket.
Roll back the clock and the making of couscous was traditionally a female activity that involved a lot of work!
On a big flat plate, the woman in charge puts a handful of freshly ground hard wheat, sprinkles on salted water and a bit of flour, and with her palms treats the grain with rolling movements until the couscous granules appear. Later she sifts the grain with sieves of different diameters to obtain granules of similar size. Finally, couscous is sun-dried and stored or cooked.
If you like the look of this CousCous Salad or you are wondering how else to use CousCous, you might like to try a few of these recipes:
- Macadamia Crusted Salmon with Macadamia CousCous
- Harissa Chicken with Baked CousCous
- One Pot CousCous Feast
Ingredients (makes 1 Large Salad)
- 1.5 cups Couscous
- 1 tsp Chicken Stock Powder
- 2 cloves Garlic, crushed
- 1/2 cup Fresh Green Beans
- 1/2 punnet Ripe Cherry Tomatoes
- 1 bunch Baby Carrots
- 1 cup Baby Spinach Leaves
- 1/2 cup Corn
- 1/2 cup White Balsamic Vinegar
- 2 tbsps Bertolli Extra Virgin Olive Oil Gentile
- 1 tbsp Seeded Mustard
- 1 tsp Ground Paprika
- 1 tsp Ground Cumin
- Place the couscous, chicken stock powder and crushed garlic in a large wide bowl and cover with boiling water. Allow to sit until all the water has been absorbed.
- While the couscous is cooking, prepare the vegetables: Peel the baby carrots and chop into 5cm lengths Remove the tips of the green beans and cut into 5cm lengths Add the carrots, beans and corn to a saucepan of boiling water and boil for 1 -2 minutes. Then immediately drain the water and plunge all the vegetables into a bowl of iced water filled with ice cubes. This will stop them cooking immediately allowing them to retain a little crunch. Leave them in the ice bath until required.
- Make the dressing: Combine the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, mustard, paprika and cumin with a little salt and pepper and whisk to emulsify (or just shake in a little bottle or container).
- Halve the cherry tomatoes and rinse the baby spinach leaves.
- Once the couscous has absorbed all the water, gently fluff up the couscous with a fork (see more detail at the top of this recipe). Then combine the couscous, the vegetables, the cherry tomatoes and the baby spinach leaves with the dressing and toss to bring together.
- Transfer to a serving platter and garnish with some edible flowers if you have them. If not, a handful of parsley or coriander would do the trick.
Here's a few more classic salads you might like to try:
- Simple Caesar Salad (so simple you can have it ready in 6 minutes)
- Potato Salad with Egg & Onion
- Greek Salad Traditional Style