This site is filled with recipes, especially salad recipes, that encourage you to play and play and play, swapping in what moves you, what you have on hand, adjusting proportions, skipping things you don’t like or can’t get your hands on.  This is one of those salads.  Less of a salad, really, than a couscous and vegetable side dish that Goes With Everything.

Cooking Couscous

Making couscous is literally as easy as boiling water.  Follow the instructions below, which do call for toasting the couscous first in a dry pan, or if you are feeling rushed or lazy skip that step.  It brings out the flavor of the couscous a bit more, but you won’t be sorry with the dish either way.

Simple Couscous Salad

If you want to use vegetable broth instead of the water to cook the couscous, your salad will have even deeper flavor.  I like to use vegetable broth diluted with water, about half of each, for something in the middle, so you can still really taste the couscous.

You’ll want about 4 cups cooked couscous for this salad, but there are no hard and fast rules of measurements here.  You are mixing couscous with vegetables that’s the end of the story.  It will be delicious no matter what.

Simple Couscous Salad

Couscousakki

Made from durum wheat semolina just like other couscous, couscousakki is slightly larger, which gives the salad nice texture.  You can use any couscous you like, from Moroccan couscous to the larger pearled Israeli or Mediterranean couscous to even larger Lebanese couscous.  

Scallions or Ramps with Couscous

Ramps are wild scallions or leeks, available during the spring in certain parts of the country (and other parts of the world).  They are like garlicky scallions, so if you use them instead of scallions, know that your couscous scallion will be more full onion-family (read: garlicky) flavored.  If you prefer, use ½ cup of chopped ramps if you find the flavor a little overpowering.  You could also use another member of the onion family, like onions, or shallots, or leeks.

Simple Couscous Salad

This is also the kind of recipe that makes me want to keep adding things.  Artichoke hearts, olives, crumbled white cheeses.  Do that.  Or don’t.  I employed some restraint here, since this salad needs nothing more to be wonderful, and I get antsy about long ingredient lists as much as the next cook.

On that note, cubed cooked chicken or cooked shrimp would make this into a hearty main dish for those who aren’t look to stick to vegetarian fare.

Simple Couscous Salad: Just a few vegetables turn quickly cooked couscous into a beautiful salad that rounds out any meal perfectly.

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Simple Couscous Salad

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Simple Couscous Salad

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Simple Couscous Salad

Just a few vegetables turn quickly cooked couscous into a beautiful salad that rounds out any meal perfectly.
Yield: 6 People
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
cooling time 10 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ cups couscous
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil , divided, plus more for serving
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 1 cup chopped radicchio
  • 1 cup chopped ramps or scallions (see Note), whites and greens
  • 1 jalapeno , seeded and minced
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste

Directions

  • Place a dry medium pot over medium high heat. Add the couscous and cook, stirring occasionally, until it turns a bit deeper golden, about 3 minutes. Turn the couscous into a large bowl. Add 1 ¾ cups water, 2 tablespoons olive oil, ½ teaspoon kosher salt to the pot and bring to a boil. Once boiling, add the toasted couscous (save the bowl for mixing the salad), stir, then cover the pot and remove from the heat. Let stand for 10 minutes, then uncover the pot. The couscous should have absorbed all of the liquid and become tender; fluff with a fork (or if need a few more minutes, just recover the pot).
  • Spread the couscous out on a rimmed baking sheet to cool. Drizzle with 1 more tablespoon of olive oil and stir then spread out again.
  • While the couscous is cooling, heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil, then add the celery and saute for 2 minutes. Add the radicchio and ramps or scallions and saute for another 2 minutes until the vegetables are starting to become tender. Stir in the jalapeno and cook for one more minute, then remove from the heat and stir in the lemon zest.
  • Turn the cooled couscous into the reserved bowl, and add the vegetable mixture. Stir to combine, seasoning with salt and pepper. Transfer to a serving bowl (or not) and drizzle with just a bit more olive oil for good measure.

Notes

Note: Ramps are wild scallions or leeks, available during the spring in certain parts of the country (and other parts of the world). They are like garlicky scallions, so if you use them instead of scallions, know that your couscous scallion will be more full onion-family flavored. If you prefer, use ½ cup of chopped ramps if you find the flavor a little overpowering.

Nutrition Information

Calories: 259kcal | Carbohydrates: 37g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 20mg | Potassium: 142mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 355IU | Vitamin C: 6mg | Calcium: 28mg | Iron: 1mg

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