Summer Couscous Salad: The Perfect Addition to Your Next Outdoor Gathering

Summer Couscous Salad: The Perfect Addition to Your Next Outdoor Gathering

When it comes to bringing the perfect addition to an outdoor gathering, you often have too many options to choose from. Should you bring something bold or complementary? Rich in flavor or subtle? Warm and soft, or cold and crunchy?

What if there was a way you could combine eye-catching colors, mouth-watering flavors, and wholesome nutrition all into one dish?

You can! Today we’re bringing you a recipe inspired by Culinary Scientist Jessica Gavin (1). This summer couscous salad checks all the boxes when you want a dish that’s quick, simple, and exotic!

Pair this with KaraMD Revive Reds (11) to get a boost of antioxidant protection against the sun and other environmental stressors. 

Health Benefits of Couscous

In the world of salads, you’re probably more familiar with pasta, potato, or leafy green salads. But what is couscous?

Some think it’s pasta, others think it’s in the rice or whole grain family. Traditionally served in countries like Morocco and Tunisia, this dish is made by crushing and steaming granules of semolina, a type of durum wheat (2).

Not to be mistaken for quinoa, couscous has a relatively mild flavor and a softer, pasta-like texture. This makes it great for absorbing flavors.

Similar to whole grains, couscous can be a good source of fiber and protein. Fiber helps maintain healthy digestion and immune function, while protein supports cell growth and repair in every area of your body (3, 4, 5).

Related article: 13 Healthy Flour Substitutes for Better Baking (6)

Benefits of a Mediterranean Diet

Couscous may trace its root to Northern Africa, but today’s recipe gives it a Mediterranean twist --- and for good reason!

Of all the diets in the world, health experts continue to agree that the Mediterranean diet is one of the healthiest diets on the planet (7).

What makes the Mediterranean diet a good choice? It carries a focus on fresh fruits and vegetables, beans, fish, whole grains, and healthy fats. Sweets and red meats are consumed only in moderation. This combination has proven to be helpful in maintaining healthy weights and protecting against high blood pressure, diabetes, and heart disease (8). 

Related Article: If You Don’t Know Your Numbers, You Don’t Know Your Health (9).

Ready to delight your tastebuds and inspire greater health at your next gathering? Let’s begin!

Ingredients 

Couscous

  • 1 cup spring or purified water
  • 1 cup uncooked couscous (instant works ok if you’re in a pinch)
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • 2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

Salad

  • ½ cup  drained and rinsed garbanzo beans
  • ½ cup tomatoes diced to about ¼-inch (Roma tomatoes work best)
  • ½ cup seedless English cucumber diced to about ¼-inch
  • ½ cup red bell pepper diced to about ⅛-inch
  • ⅓  cup minced red onion
  • ½ cup pitted and sliced green olives
  • 2 Tbsp organic feta cheese 
  • 1 tsp fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 tsp fresh basil, chopped
  • ¼ tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp freshly chopped mint (optional)

Lemon Dressing

  • 3 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 1 ½  Tbsp red wine vinegar
  • ¼ tsp fine sea salt
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)

Directions

Couscous

  1. In a 2-3 qt saucepan, bring the water, sea salt, and olive oil to a gentle boil. Add uncooked or instant couscous, stirring continuously. Remove from heat and cover with a lid.
  2. Allow the couscous to rest until tender, about 5 minutes. Fluff couscous with a fork and continue to let cool. Set aside while you prepare the salad and lemon dressing.

Salad

  1. Combine diced tomatoes, cucumber, bell pepper, and garbanzo beans. Add the minced red onion, chopped olives, cheese, parsley, basil, and oregano in a medium bowl. Mint can also be added at this time if you decide to use it. 
  2. Add couscous and mix until combined.

Lemon Dressing

  1. In a small bowl, quickly whisk together the red wine vinegar, lemon juice, lemon zest, salt, pepper, and a pinch of cayenne. Slowly add olive oil and whisk until a thickened dressing forms.
  2. Drizzle over the couscous salad, stirring until well combined.

Salad can be served warm or cold --- both ways are enjoyable!

Storage

Making this dish ahead of time? Allow to cool before storing in the refrigerator in an airtight container. This recipe will stay good for 3-5 days.

When reheating, add 1-2 teaspoons of water to the couscous and slowly warm it on the stove.

Variations

If you can’t find instant Moroccan couscous, Lebanese or Pearl will work fine as substitutions.

Looking for a low-carb option? Try swapping out the couscous for 2 ½ cups of cauliflower rice.

As if the Mediterranean couscous salad wasn’t delicious enough, here are a few other variations to try:

  • Greek couscous salad recipe
  • Israeli couscous salad recipe
  • Texas de Brazil couscous salad recipe
  • Moroccan couscous salad recipe

Wrap Up

Summer gatherings are famous for meeting new people, trying different foods, and making lasting memories.

If you’re looking for a way to inspire healthier eating habits in your circle, this recipe makes it easy. Packed with nutrition and flavor, this Mediterranean couscous salad is an easy and fun way to make the most of your summer experience!

Looking for more recipe inspiration? Head over to KaraMD’s Health Insights (10) to explore more culinary creations!

References

1. https://www.jessicagavin.com/mediterranean-couscous-salad/

2. https://www.thespruceeats.com/what-is-couscous-2355401

3. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/all.15430

4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK224683/

5. https://www.nutritionvalue.org/Couscous%2C_cooked_nutritional_value.html

6. https://karamd.com/blogs/health/13-healthy-flour-substitutes-for-better-baking

7. https://www.scripps.org/news_items/6276-mediterranean-diet-is-best-diet-once-again

8. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7468821/

9. https://karamd.com/blogs/health/if-you-dont-know-your-numbers-you-dont-know-your-health

10. https://karamd.com/blogs/health

11. https://karamd.com/products/revive-reds

✝✝This noted statement is based on independent research and is not necessarily the opinion of the author