Dana Slatkin

Mediterranean Couscous Salad

Announcing the winner of our January Cooking Contest! Bat-hen Zeron of Los Angeles writes, “This quick and tasty couscous dish is filling, refreshing, simple to make and always gets compliments.” What more could you want from a recipe?

The idea of serving grains as a salad must have come from a busy cook who craved a complete meal in one bowl. But it presents a couple challenges. Most grains — couscous, rice, farro, even quinoa — though interesting in texture lack assertiveness of flavor. Douse the grains in dressing and they can easily turn into baby food.

I encountered both challenges when I tested Bat-hen’s recipe. My first mistake was to follow the cooking instructions on the box of couscous. The grains absorbed far too much liquid and clumped together like oatmeal. Eliminating a good amount of water produced the fluffy, separated grains I was hoping for.

But even with the lovely mix of vegetables, the salad still needed pizzazz. I added some artichoke hearts that were in the fridge, garbanzo beans for protein, and a simple but fortifying vinaigrette.

It was on the table in a blink, just as Bat-hen had promised. And it was such a hit, I tried the recipe again the next day, using quinoa instead of couscous. Both versions are now in regular rotation at my house, and my family has embraced a fresh way of eating salad. Even if it is slightly against the grain.

I love trying your recipes, and entering is easy! To enter my February Cooking Contest, just copy and paste your recipe in the Comments box. Happy cooking!

Photo credit: peta.org

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  1. Kate says:

    There’s a typo in your Mediterranean Couscous Salad recipe – it lists 2 tablespoons cup red wine vinegar.  I’d love to to try but could you please correct?
    Otherwise sounds completely yummy!

  2. dana says:

    So sorry about the typo! It’s 2 tablespoons (1/8 cup) red wine vinegar. Let me know how you like it!



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