Moroccan couscous salad

Couscous is one of my favorite quick cooking grains. Its the perfect food to cook when you have had a long hard day and all you want to do is curl up in front of the television eating a big bowl of fresh homemade food but don't want to spend more than 10-15mins in the kitchen. Cooking couscous couldn't be easier. You boil one portion liquid (stock or water); turn the heat off; add equal portion couscous; stir; cover and let sit for 5minutes. After 5minutes, remove the cover, fluff up the couscous and that's it, its ready! How easy is that!

Couscous is a grain made out of semolina, rolled into really tiny small rounds. There is a whole-wheat variety of couscous that Trade Joe's carries which I particularly like. Like any pasta, couscous lends really well to many sauces, dressings and sides. I sometimes chop up whatever veggies are sitting in the fridge and then make an olive oil-lemon juice dressing for a quick couscous salad. On other days when I am craving something warm and comforty, I cook couscous like I would cook Bhagar (a Marathi fasting dish made from a grain called bhagar which is amazingly similar to couscous. The dish is made out of roasting and then quick cooking bhagar with roasted peanuts and a tadka of oil-cumin seeds eaten with some fresh yogurt. Cooking couscous like bhagar is in-fact one of my husnband's kitchen specialilties!).

Today I made a simple Moroccan couscous salad with some garbanzo beans, sun-dried tomatoes and raisins. Olives and preserved lemons would also be a great addition to this salad!
Recipe: Serves 4
2C whole wheat couscous (or regular couscous)
2C + 1/4C water
1 red pepper - chopped finely
1/2 red onion - chopped finely
handful of cherry tomatoes - halved
4 sticks of celery - chopped
handful of fresh mint - chopped
handful of raisins
1 15oz can chickpeas/garbanzo beans - rinsed
2Tbsp chopped sun-dried tomatoes (packed in olive oil)
1Tbsp finely chopped preserved lemons

For dressing:
4Tbsp lemon juice (I like this 1:1 olive oil lemon juice ratio; but feel free to adjust to suite your taste!)
4Tbsp olive oil 
zest of one lemon
pinch of crushed red chili pepper (more or less to taste)
2tsp cumin powder
2tsp coriander powder
1 clove of garlic - minced
salt & freshly ground black pepper

  1. Heat water in a pan.
  2. When water starts to boil turn the heat off. Add 2C couscous, stir and let stand uncovered for 5mins (or follow the package instructions for cooking couscous).
  3. After 5mins, the couscous would have absorbed all the water; fluff up the couscous using a large fork. Set aside.
  4. Meanwhile mix all the dressing ingredients in a glass jar and shake well.
  5. Mix the cooked couscous, dressing and rest all ingredients and let stand for half an hour or so for flavors to combine.
  6. Taste and adjust the seasonings per taste (the salad tastes even better a few hours ahead).
Social matters:
Moving onto social matters, after a prolonged delay I have finally created a Facebook page for Ginger & Garlic! Yeaayy! When I post a new recipe, it gets updated on the Ginger & Garlic Facebook page; so if you are one of the millions of Facebook addicts like me, this might be a perfect way for us to stay in touch! Hop on by and say a Facebook hi if you are around Ginger & Garlic sometimes!


indosungod said…
couscous and chickpeas a great and if it is this colorful who can resist?
Padhu Sankar said…
That's a filling,healthy and a complete meal by itself.
RV said…
Couscous is my favorite too because it is tasty and still easy to cook. Garbanzo bean and couscous is truly a Mediterranean treat..
Suji said…
Lovely salad, colorful quick and healthy PJ

Kairali sisters
Jhonny walker said…
I am with you on couscous being my to-go food on any bad day...and you certainly have made it exotic and colorful with all the veggies

marvellous :)
Sushma Mallya said…
It Looks so colourful and too good to resist...very beautiful click pj...
Hamaree Rasoi said…
Salad looks wonderful, healthy and filling. Very nice picture PJ

Hamaree Rasoi
PJ said…
Indo, thanks! I like the couscous and chickpeas combo too.

Padhu, thanks, yeah, i like to usually have this salad on its own for supper. quite filling with chickpeas.

RV, isn't it! it cooks so fast and its so tasty.

Kairali sisters, thanks! I am so glad you liked it.

Jhonny, i like dressing up couscous so it feels like a meal in itself! glad you liked it.

Sushma, thanks! I am so glad you liked the click and the recipe.

Deepa, thanks!
Pari said…
The salad looks so attractive dear and I am also in love with the couscous, such a hassle free ingredient to have in the kitchen.
pierre said…
hi pj
I love this salad cuscus is very popular here in france !! have a good day Cheers from sunny Paris
PJ said…
Pari, thanks, i love couscous too.. very easy breezy to prepare.

Pierre, great! didn't know it was that common in Paris.. have a great day!
Sonia said…
Veges + chick peas + couscous + seasoning = I can't resist this dish. This wud be perfect for my dinner. :) And I think for Bhagar, we call "Moraiyo" or "Samo" in Gujarati. Yeah, it's fasting dish for us too and I love Moraiya ni khichadi. :) And you're right that couscous and bhagar looks very similar.
Please pull your hubby S in your kitchen and feature his specialty dish on Ginger-and-Garlic. :D
Priya Suresh said…
Great looking and colourful salad, prefect to enjoy while its hot..looks fantastic PJ..
Great combo, really healthy and looks colorful, love that wooden platter too...
seeing so mkany recipes with couscous in the blogosphere I got inspired and in this month have got a pack of couscous. was thinking of making Kisir but this one looks so colourful and tempting now am gonna do this only. thanks for sharing.
Preeti Kashyap said…
This is so lovely! I love couscous salad! So colorful! Yipee on the facebook page!
i ahve never tried making them, but bought it so many times from the super market thinking its difficult 2 make..but ur recipe comes across as a pretty easy one..hope il be enthu enuf 2 make some soon :)
Wow refreshing salad ..I love it.. yummy they look.
PJ said…
Sonia, isn't bhagar so much like couscous! okay, good idea, let me pull him into the kicthen to make the 'couscous bhagar' for G&G :)

Priya, yes, this salad is definitely better for hot weather when you want to get out of standing next to stove asap :)

Treat and trick, thanks! That wooden platter was a chance find for $3.

Sayantani, Kisir would be wonderful with couscous. If you make it, do post a recipe, I am always looking for new couscous recipes.

Preeti, thanks!fb page was long time in making.. was just getting lazy, i suppose :)

knk, thanks! so glad you liked it.

An open book, couscous is really easy to make. do try it; once you try couscous you will be hooked onto it in no time.

Pavithra, thanks! I am so glad you liked it.
Sarah Naveen said…
Beautiful pic..looks super delicious..
I too love couscous. Infact I'd posted upma recipe with it this week. Will try your salad soon.
Hari Chandana P said…
Wowwwwwwwww.. mouth watering dish.. looks too good.. nice click too. :)
Rachana said…
This sounds like a delicious and a complete meal in itself.
tinyskillet said…
What a beautiful, colorful couscous salad! I would love it fo sure! I'll have to checkout you facebook page, I'm not on there too much!
PranisKitchen said…
wow really delicious and color ful salad i like this couscous..
Joanne said…
I am a HUGE couscous lover as well, especially in salads like these!
PJ said…
Sarah, thanks! I am so glad you liked the pic and the recipe.

N S, sounds delicious; let me check the upma on your site asap.

Hari, thanks! I am so glad you liked the dish and the click.

Kalyn, thanks! I am so glad you liked the couscous salad

Rachana, yes, it is quite filling.. not a light salad of sorts :)

Lyndsey, me too.. but i am trying to be on facebook more often than before :)

PranisKitchen, thanks! so glad you liked this.

Joanne, me too.. its so easy to cook, isn't it!
Lele said…
TOTALLY stealing this recipe for a fourth of july picnic! I might make it with quinoa, though, to amp up the protein!
Deepa said…
couscous salad, I am game..looks so flavorful and colorful..simple yet a filling and a hassle free recipe..too good.
Padmajha said…
I have seen so many couscous recipes floating around the blogosphere and this looks like a perfect one to try.Unfortunately I am not able to find it where I live.Hope i get lucky sometime.
Nithu said…
Wow!! the salad looks lovely. Bookmarked.
PJ said…
Lele, great! hope this turns out well for you. let me know how it goes :)

Deepa, i like it purely for the simplicity of it too.. gets ready in 20mins.

PJ, i hope you find couscous! if not bhagar is always a good substitute.

Nithu, thanks! I am so glad you liked it.
Parita said…
Salad looks mouth watering and so colorful!
Yasmeen said…
The simple couscous salad always comes to my rescue when in need for quick and filling meal :D
PJ said…
Parita, thanks! so glad you liked it.

Yasmeen, yes, isn't it? its the best healthy fast dinners.
Lazaro Cooks said…
Glad I found your blog. Look forward to following you here. Love the couscous dish.

Be well
PJ said…
Lazaro cooks, thanks and welcome to my blog! I am so glad you liked your visit here.

Platte Productions, thanks, I'll surely be thinking about it.