A vegetarian’s delight: a couscous salad with sharp, fresh flavours that’s satisfying enough to be eaten either as a meal or as a side.
It’s amazing how filling couscous, which are essentially tiny grains made from crushed wheat, can be.
What we buy in Western supermarkets is the instant version; so all that you need to do is soak the couscous in boiled water for 5 minutes and then fluff it up using a fork. It’s faster and easier to prepare than either rice or pasta. Good idea for a mid week meal?
Taste-wise, couscous is very mild, making it a wonderful canvas to which you can add any flavour you like: sweet, spicy tangy, salty or zesty.
For this salad, l’ve chosen strong, sharp flavours. I’ve added some of my favourite ingredients that l use frequently in my cooking; olives, feta and tomatoes.
But my stand out ingredient is the cornichons or baby cucumbers that have been pickled in vinegar.
The brand l buy also contains chillies which give the cornichons a spicy edge.
It’s a shame not to use some of the liquid in the jar, especially since it’s been infused with chilli. Either drizzle some of it over the salad or include about a tbsp in the dressing.
I decided to post a salad as it seemed that summer had made an early start. Now, it’s freezing again!!
Maybe l’ll post a soup next time and hope warmer weather returns (not sure if mother nature works that way!)
Preparation Time: 15-20 minutes
Serves: 4 – 6
- 1 cup couscous
- 1 cup boiled water
- 1 tsp chicken stock powder (substitute with vegetable stock powder)
- 1 medium red / Spanish onion, chopped
- 1 red capsicum / red bell pepper, chopped
- 15 Kalamata olives, seeded and chopped
- 20 cornichons, chopped (pickled baby cucumbers) (note 1)
- 1/2 punnet cherry tomatoes, quartered
- 60 g / 2 oz rocket leaves / arugula cut in half
- 50 g / 1.5 oz fetta cheese (or as much as you like)
- 1 teaspoon grated garlic
- 4 tbsp lemon juice
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- salt & pepper to taste
- Optional: 1 – 2 tbsps of the cornichon liquid
- Place the couscous and stock powder in a large bowl. Pour over the boiled water. Stir. Cover with cling wrap. Allow to stand for 5 mins. Uncover and fluff up with a fork. Allow to cool for 10 mins.
- Add the chopped onion, olives, capsicum, cornichons, cherry tomatoes and rocket leaves.
- Mix the dressing ingredients in a small bowl. Pour over the the salad. Stir through well.
- Transfer to a serving platter. Sprinkle the feta cheese on top. Done!
- The jars of cornichons that l buy are pickled in vinegar with a red chilli or two for a little heat. Add a tbsp or so of the liquid from the jar to the dressing for extra flavour or just drizzle some over the salad at the end.