Summer Couscous Salad
An easy summer couscous salad tossed with tomatoes, mint and basil, feta cheese, scallions, red bell pepper, cucumber, and lemon vinaigrette.
Even though this salad is most certainly not the most creative recipe I’ve ever made, it was extremely tasty, healthy, and exactly the type of food I crave in the middle of the summer.
This Summer Couscous Salad can be put together in 20 minutes or less and requires very little cook time, which makes it ideal for summertime. It was inspired by the contents of my fridge.
After “cooking” couscous several times in culinary school, I’ve concluded it is probably the easiest quasi-grain to cook in a time crunch.
How to Cook Couscous
Combine couscous (by volume cup) with equal parts warm water (and a drizzle of olive oil + pinch of salt) and allow it to sit for about 15 minutes.
Once all the liquid has been absorbed, simply break it all up with your hands and use as desired. Really, it’s that simple.
My inspiration started with a large bunch of fresh mint leaves I had picked up at the farmer’s market that weekend. And a craving for a Greek or Mediterranean inspired dish.
Feta was the next logical addition and while you could most certainly use mozzarella or another type of cheese (or omit it altogether), it adds a great salty element and really pulls the dish together. I used whole wheat couscous to make it a bit healthier and heartier.
This salad would make a great side dish to grilled fish or chicken, or you could easily add some garbanzo beans to make it a one-bowl meal. And you could easily pack it up for a snack at the pool-side or summer family get-together!
Perhaps a Fourth of July BBQ side dish?
Summer Couscous Salad
- 1 cup whole wheat or regular couscous
- ½ cup cherry tomatoes thinly sliced
- 3-4 scallions trimmed and finely sliced on a bias
- ¼ cup fresh mint leaves chiffonade
- 3-4 large basil leaves chiffonade
- ½ red bell pepper seeded, cored, and finely chopped
- ⅓ English cucumber finely chopped
- 6 ounces feta cheese cut into small cubes
- 2 pinches dried red pepper flakes
- 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- kosher salt
- Combine the couscous, a drizzle of olive oil and 1 cup of warm water in a large mixing bowl. Allow mixture to sit for 10 to 15 minutes until all liquid has absorbed. Break apart grains with your fingers or a fork.
- Meanwhile, prep the rest of the salad ingredients. Add to the bowl with the cooked couscous. Toss gently until all of the ingredients are incorporated evenly. Season to taste with salt and pepper, adding a touch more add red hot pepper flakes if desired. Chill - and allow the flavors to meld for an hour or so -or serve immediately.