apple and cheddar crisp salad

This is an apple and cheddar salad and I would humbly argue an excellent one, the best I’ve ever made, but this recipe is also an excuse for me to share a few of the best tricks I keep up my sleeve (I always wanted to be a cook who said …

This is an apple and cheddar salad and I would humbly argue an excellent one, the best I’ve ever made, but this recipe is also an excuse for me to share a few of the best tricks I keep up my sleeve (I always wanted to be a cook who said things like that, when what you might actually find is a lost piece of popcorn) to make the kinds of complex salads I can never resist on a cafe menu at home as simply as possible. Because we deserve to have fancy, cool, crunchy, dynamic, and gorgeous salads at home, even if we do not live a life that allows us to afford fancy salads made by others on a regular basis.

apple and cheddar crisp salad-01apple and cheddar crisp salad-03apple and cheddar crisp salad-04apple and cheddar crisp salad-05apple and cheddar crisp salad-06apple and cheddar crisp salad-07

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Cilantro Lime Slaw

This cilantro lime slaw is fresh and zingy, with just the right pop from the citrus! It’s great as a…

A Couple Cooks – Recipes worth repeating.

This cilantro lime slaw is fresh and zingy, with just the right pop from the citrus! It’s great as a side dish or taco filling.

Cilantro Lime Slaw

There’s something about a creamy slaw that’s irresistible, and we couldn’t stop shoveling in bites of this one. Try this Cilantro Lime Slaw! Cabbage in a creamy dressing is one thing. But add the bite of fresh cilantro and a pop of lime, and it’s next level! The flavor is creamy, savory and ideal as a side dish for chicken, fish or veggie mains. Or, throw it into a tortilla as a taco filling, and eat the rest on the side. Here’s how to make this irresistible recipe (we’re already getting hungry).

Ingredients in cilantro lime slaw

There’s a bit of a shortcut in this cilantro lime slaw: a bag of coleslaw mix! Here’s the thing: when it comes to coleslaw, slicing cabbage always makes a bit of a mess. A bag of coleslaw is nearly as fresh, and saves a load of time! For this recipe, we added in some additional red cabbage because we wanted a colorful look, and most coleslaw bags don’t have much red cabbage. You can omit the red cabbage if you prefer: it will still taste great! Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Coleslaw mix
  • Red cabbage
  • Cilantro
  • Mayonnaise
  • Greek yogurt
  • Lime juice
  • Maple syrup
  • Chili powder
  • Salt and pepper
Cilantro Lime Slaw

A winning combo: mayo plus Greek yogurt

When it comes to creamy dressings and dips, we’ve discovered a secret: Greek yogurt plus mayonnaise. Traditionally mayo-based foods can be rather rich, so here’s a trick: cut the mayo with a little Greek yogurt! It lightens up the calories and flavor, keeping it creamy and adding a little tang. We use this trick often, like with our Creamy Caesar Dressing or Spinach Artichoke Dip.

This cilantro lime slaw also features mayonnaise and Greek yogurt in the coleslaw dressing! If you prefer dairy-free recipes, simply use an equal part mayonnaise for the yogurt. It tastes great and has an even richer flavor.

Cabbage vs coleslaw mix

Want to use cabbage instead of coleslaw mix in this cilantro lime slaw? You can do that too! Here’s what’s in a 14 to 16 ounce bag of coleslaw mix:

  • Use 6 to 7 cups shredded green cabbage
  • Add 1 cup shredded carrots
Cilantro Lime Slaw

Serving cilantro lime slaw

This cilantro lime slaw is the ideal side dish for any protein or main: and it’s great for picnics and barbecues. Or, throw it in tacos! Here are a few ideas:

More coleslaw recipes

We can’t get enough of coleslaw (not sure why, but the savory sweet ticks all our boxes!). Here are a few more tasty coleslaw recipes:

This cilantro lime slaw recipe is…

Vegetarian and gluten-free. For vegan, plant-based and dairy-free, use vegan mayo and omit the Greek yogurt.

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Cilantro Lime Slaw

Cilantro Lime Slaw


  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: 6

Description

This cilantro lime slaw is fresh and zingy, with just the right pop from the citrus! It’s great as a side dish or taco filling.


Ingredients

  • 14 to 16 ounce bag coleslaw mix (7 to 8 cups)
  • 2 cups shredded red cabbage*
  • ¾ cup chopped cilantro, plus more for serving
  • ¼ cup mayonnaise
  • ¼ cup Greek yogurt**
  • 4 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • ½ teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Fresh ground black pepper

Instructions

  1. Shred the red cabbage and chop the cilantro. Place it in a large bowl with the coleslaw mix.
  2. Mix in the mayonnaise, Greek yogurt, lime juice, maple syrup, chili powder, kosher salt, and fresh ground black pepper to taste. Serve immediately or refrigerate for up to 4 days.

Notes

*Or omit the red cabbage, if you’re feeling lazy! It still comes out great. If you prefer not using coleslaw mix, you can use 6 to 7 cups shredded green cabbage and 1 cup shredded carrots.

**For dairy free or for a richer overall flavor, use ½ cup mayo and omit the Greek yogurt.

  • Category: Side dish
  • Method: No Cook
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Vegetarian

Keywords: Cilantro lime slaw

A Couple Cooks - Recipes worth repeating.

Perfect Focaccia Bread

This focaccia recipe makes the perfect bread! It’s tall and fluffy, crispy on the outside with pillowy air pockets on…

A Couple Cooks – Recipes worth repeating.

This focaccia recipe makes the perfect bread! It’s tall and fluffy, crispy on the outside with pillowy air pockets on the inside.

Focaccia Recipe

Did you know it’s easy to make bakery-style focaccia bread at home? Introducing the perfect focaccia recipe! No need to shop around. Make this simple bread once, and we guarantee you’ll find it’s the best focaccia bread you’ve made at home. It’s thick and airy, crispy on the outside with beautiful pillowy air pockets on the interior. The flavor is developed and perfectly seasoned, with the classic notes of salt, rosemary and olive oil notes. Even better: it’s one of the easiest homemade bread recipes. Our family goes crazy over this one, and we can’t wait to share it with you.

Why this focaccia recipe is the best

Focaccia bread is an Italian flatbread baked in a sheet pan and flavored with olive oil. A good focaccia should be thick and airy, with signature air pockets in the crumb (interior texture). Focaccia dough is similar to pizza dough, but it’s made using a strong flour and more yeast, which makes it taller and fluffier.

There is a lot of variation in focaccia recipes on the internet. If not formulated correctly, focaccia bread can come out very dense, with little or no holes in the crumb. Or it can come out very thin or dry, or fluffy and soft like a roll. None of these are what you want with this special bread! What’s great about this focaccia bread recipe? You’ll find it:

  • Is very thick, perfect for eating plain or slicing in half as sandwiches
  • Has a beautiful airy crumb, which comes from an overnight rise in the refrigerator
  • Has a developed, well-seasoned flavor that tastes like it’s from an Italian bakery!
Focaccia Recipe

How to make focaccia bread: an overview

Here’s the basic outline of the of the focaccia process. The process takes 5 minutes the night before, and then about 2 hours the day of. It is one of the easiest bread recipes we have, but you do need to think ahead! We like to make the dough at around 9:00 pm the night before, then bake it around 1:00 pm the next day. Here’s an outline on the steps required:

Mix, Rest overnight5 minutes active, 12 to 16 hours hands off
Shape & Proof5 minutes active, 45 minutes hands off
Add brine5 minutes
Bake35 minutes, hands off
Cool45 minutes, hands off

Required equipment

One of the great things about homemade focaccia? You need minimal special bread-making tools. Many of our bread recipes require a Dutch oven, bread basket, special knife for scoring, and other equipment. That’s not so here! There are a few optional tools that are helpful, but not required. Here’s what you’ll need for this recipe:

  1. Large bowl
  2. Plastic wrap or large zip-top bag
  3. 9 x 13″ baking dish
  4. Kitchen scale (optional): while it’s optional, we highly recommend weighing the ingredients for best results when you’re baking
  5. Pizza stone (optional): it helps to heat the bread quicker and make an airier dough. Here’s the pizza stone we use. (You can also use it for these pizza recipes and other breads, so it’s a great investment.)
Focaccia Recipe

Ingredients for this focaccia recipe

There are only a few ingredients required for this focaccia recipe: but each is important! Here’s what to know:

  • Bread flour: Bread flour has a higher protein content than all-purpose flour, which makes for a lighter, airier texture. It’s worth finding for this recipe!
  • Active dry yeast
  • Kosher salt
  • Olive oil
  • Fresh rosemary: Fresh rosemary is traditional in Italian baking of focaccia and it adds just the right herbaceous scent to the fresh bread. Trust us: it’s required!

Tips for baking

Once you’ve got your ingredients and tools, baking focaccia bread is simple! Here are a few tips to remember when you’re making the recipe:

  • Remember to start the night before! That’s right: you’ll need an overnight rise. Think about mixing up the dough around 9 pm, and you can bake the bread around 1:00 pm the next day. 16 hours is best if you can swing it.
  • Be gentle when shaping and handling the dough. A great part about homemade focaccia bread is that it doesn’t require any rolling or technical shaping. All you do is gently press it out into the pan. Just use care so you don’t deflate any air bubbles.
  • Use a pizza stone if you can. Again, a pizza stone lets the bread get hotter, thereby making it rise faster and get taller and fluffier. If you don’t have one, here’s the pizza stone we use.
Cheese Board

Serving focaccia bread

That beautiful loaf of focaccia bread will make your kitchen smell like a bakery. If you can resist, wait until it’s fully cool to take a taste. However, this type of bread won’t suffer if you try to sneak a piece when it’s warm (which is a no-no with sourdough bread). Focaccia works served on its own as a side for lunch, dinner, or soups, or sliced for sandwiches. Here are a few ways to serve focaccia bread:

How do you plan to serve it? Let us know in the comments below!

Storage info

How to store homemade focaccia bread? You can store homemade focaccia for up to 3 days in a sealed plastic bag with excess air squeezed out, or in a sealed container. It’s great room temperature or you can reheat it in a 375 degree Fahrenheit oven until warm.

More homemade bread recipes

Making homemade bread is a fun hobby that makes delicious sides and sandwich bread for your weekly meals! Here are a few favorite bread recipes to try:

This focaccia recipe is…

Vegetarian, vegan, plant-based, dairy-free and gluten-free.

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Focaccia Recipe

Perfect Focaccia Bread


  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 12 hours
  • Cook Time: 35 minutes
  • Total Time: 12 hours 35 minutes
  • Yield: 18

Description

This focaccia recipe makes the perfect bread! It’s tall and fluffy, crispy on the outside with pillowy air pockets on the inside.


Ingredients

For the bread

  • 630 grams (4 ½ cups) bread flour
  • 1 ½ teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 532 ml (2 ¼ cups) warm water
  • 1 ½ tablespoons olive oil

For the brine

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

For topping

  • Leaves from 2 rosemary sprigs

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl, stir together the flour, yeast and kosher salt. Add the warm water and 1 ½ tablespoons olive oil and stir with a wooden spoon until sticky dough is formed.  With wet hands, lift the bottom of the dough and wrap it over the top a few times, folding the dough to make a ball and to ensure all of the flour has been incorporated. Place the dough back in the bowl and cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap or place in a large zip-top bag.
  2. Proof overnight at room temperature, preferably 12 to 16 hours. The dough will rise and double in size, and then collapse. (For example, we like to mix at 9:00 pm and start the baking process at 1:00 pm the next day.)
  3. After the rise, add a small drizzle of olive oil into a 9″ x 13″ baking pan and use your hands to spread it across the bottom. With your oiled hands, turn the dough into the baking pan and gently press and stretch the dough so that it is evenly distributed across the pan (take care not to smash all of the air out of the dough). It may take several times of stretching it out to reach the corners. Cover the pan with plastic wrap or a large zip-top bag and rest for 45 minutes.
  4. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit with a pizza stone inside. You can still bake without the pizza stone, but it will yield an airier dough.
  5. In a small bowl, stir together the brine ingredients.
  6. Pour the brine over the puffy dough and lightly press your fingers into the dough, all the way across, to dimple the dough. Sprinkle with rosemary leaves.
  7. Bake immediately: place the pan on the pizza stone and bake for 30 to 35 minutes until golden brown on top. Cool completely before cutting. Store up to 3 days in a sealed plastic bag with excess air squeezed out or a sealed container. 
  • Category: Bread
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: Italian
  • Diet: Vegan

Keywords: Focaccia, focaccia recipe, focaccia bread, focaccia bread recipe, best focaccia bread, recipe for focaccia bread

A Couple Cooks - Recipes worth repeating.

Pesto Pasta Salad

This creamy pesto pasta salad recipe is easy and bursting with flavor! It’s the perfect easy summer side dish. What’s…

A Couple Cooks – Recipes worth repeating.

This creamy pesto pasta salad recipe is easy and bursting with flavor! It’s the perfect easy summer side dish.

Pesto Pasta Salad

What’s more a quintessential summer dish than a great pasta salad? Try this Pesto Pasta Salad recipe, which celebrates everything seasonal in summer! It features chewy bowties with pops of fresh cherry tomatoes, tangy artichokes and peppery baby arugula. Make a batch of fresh basil pesto or grab some at the store, then mix it up in to a creamy dressing to cover everything. This one was so irresistible, we couldn’t stop exclaiming how good it was after stuffing in each bite (and our 5 year old gobbled it up!).

Ingredients in this pesto pasta salad recipe

This pesto pasta salad recipe is simpler than most pasta salads because the ingredient list is short and sweet. The most important thing here? A high quality pesto. It’s best with homemade, but you can use purchased as well (see below for more). Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Bowties (farfalle) or other short-cut pasta
  • Canned artichoke hearts
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Sliced pepperoncini
  • Baby arugula
  • Shredded Parmesan cheese
  • Basil pesto
  • Greek yogurt or sour cream
  • Mayonnaise
  • Salt
Pesto Pasta Salad

For the pesto: homemade vs storebought

This pesto pasta salad tastes the best when you make it with homemade basil pesto, with fresh summer basil! Of course, we know that’s not always possible. Here’s the thing about pesto: purchased pesto varies greatly between brands. Many purchased brands taste intensely acidic or have an odd aftertaste. Here’s what to know:

  • Homemade pesto has the best flavor! Basil Pesto is best homemade. You can also try Arugula Pesto or Kale Pesto.
  • Purchased pesto brands vary greatly in flavor: some are very acidic. We’ve experimented with lots of different brands: and they all have a different salt and acid level.
  • Squeeze packs of fresh pesto are now on the market, and some have better flavor than jars. Experiment to find one you love!

Notes on the pasta salad dressing

This pesto pasta salad has a deliciously creamy pasta salad dressing that you’ll adore, featuring both Greek yogurt, mayonnaise and pesto. We made this one creamy because we find that pesto on it own can become sticky and dry. Mixing it with a little yogurt and mayo helps it to coat the pasta better. Don’t want to use Greek yogurt? You can substitute sour cream instead.

Pesto

Use any type of short cut pasta

This pesto pasta salad works with any type of short cut pasta you have on hand! We like bowties for this one because of the look and the way that it distributes with the other ingredients. Here are some other types of short cut pasta that work well:

  • Bowties (farfalle): our favorite!
  • Spirals (fusilli)
  • Penne
  • Shells (medium-sized)
  • Orecchiette
  • Gemelli
  • Gigli

Make ahead and storage for pesto pasta salad

This pesto pasta salad is a great salad for a picnic or a barbecue! It tastes best immediately after making, but it does store well. If you make in advance and refrigerate, you may want to refresh the flavors before serving since pasta salad can lose some flavor while storing. Here’s what to know:

  • Pesto pasta salad lasts for up to 4 days in the refrigerator. It’s great for cookouts or healthy lunches throughout the week.
  • After refrigeration, make sure to refresh the flavors. Bring the salad to room temperature. Taste and see if you need to add a pinch of extra salt. If the pasta salad seems dry, add a dollop of sour cream, mayo or pesto to revive the creamy texture.
Pesto Pasta Salad Recipe

More pasta salad recipes

There’s nothing like a great pasta salad for a summer event, be it a barbecue, cookout or picnic! Here are a few more pasta salad recipes we love:

This pesto pasta salad recipe is…

Vegetarian.

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Pesto Pasta Salad

Pesto Pasta Salad


  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 12 minutes
  • Cook Time: 8 minutes
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 5 to 6

Description

This creamy pesto pasta salad recipe is easy and bursting with flavor! It’s the perfect easy summer side dish.


Ingredients

  • 8 ounces short cut pasta (we used farfalle)
  • 14 ounce can (8.5 ounce dry weight) quartered artichoke hearts, roughly chopped
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • ⅓ cup sliced pepperoncini
  • 2 cups baby arugula
  • ¼ cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • ⅓ cup basil pesto (homemade or purchased, or kale pesto or arugula pesto)
  • ¼ cup Greek yogurt or sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt, plus more as desired

Instructions

  1. Start a large pot of well-salted water to boil. Boil the pasta until al dente according to the package instructions. Drain the pasta and run cool water over it until it’s room temperature, then shake off any extra water.
  2. Prepare the vegetables: roughly chop the artichokes and slice the tomatoes.
  3. In a large bowl, mix the pesto, Greek yogurt, mayonnaise and kosher salt. Add the drained pasta, vegetables and Parmesan cheese and stir to combine. Taste and add another ¼ teaspoon salt depending on the saltiness of the pesto. Serve immediately or refrigerate for up to 3 days. (Allow to come to room temperature and if desired, add a pinch more salt. If the pasta salad seems dry, add a dollop of sour cream, mayo or pesto to revive the creamy texture.).
  • Category: Side dish
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Vegetarian

Keywords: Pesto pasta salad, pesto pasta salad recipe, pasta salad with pesto

A Couple Cooks - Recipes worth repeating.

roasted tomatoes with white beans

Is July the most lethargic cooking month? I don’t mean this in a bad way. I know in our productivity-fixated culture (“so busy, crazy busy”) we balk at praising apathy but what if we leaned into it instead? It’s hot. Th…

Is July the most lethargic cooking month? I don’t mean this in a bad way. I know in our productivity-fixated culture (“so busy, crazy busy”) we balk at praising apathy but what if we leaned into it instead? It’s hot. The days are long. If midsummer demands some laziness, some loosened grip on to-do lists, if de-participation beckons and we can pull it off, I’d like to try it. I could even schedule it one day next week if I move some things around.

roasted tomatoes with white beans-03
roasted tomatoes with white beans-05

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Hill Country baked beans

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Creamy cucumber salad

One weekend, friends were getting together for a backyard barbecue. The hosts were providing the main course and they asked their guests to…
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One weekend, friends were getting together for a backyard barbecue. The hosts were providing the main course and they asked their guests to…

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Sauteed Broccolini

Sauteed broccolini It is one of the fastest, tastiest side dishes there is! Cook it up in 5 minutes with…

A Couple Cooks – Recipes worth repeating.

Sauteed broccolini It is one of the fastest, tastiest side dishes there is! Cook it up in 5 minutes with garlic and lemon.

Sauteed broccolini

When it comes to quick and impressive side dishes, this one might be tops: Sauteed Broccolini! The elegantly long stems of this green veggie make it look fancy, but here’s a secret. You can cook it up in just 5 minutes in a hot skillet. Add a bit of garlic and lemon, and you won’t be able to stop eating these irresistibly large spears. Here’s how to make it in a flash: and a bit more about this unique vegetable.

What is broccolini?

Broccolini might look like baby broccoli: and in fact, it’s sometimes labeled that way in the produce aisle! But technically, it’s not an immature version of the real thing. Broccolini is a cross between standard broccoli and Chinese broccoli. It has the long stems of Chinese broccoli and the florets of broccoli. Why we like it? Broccolini has a milder, sweeter flavor than standard broccoli. The long stems also give it a lovely elegant look on the plate.

Interestingly, broccolini was invented in 1993: so there’s a reason that it’s new to the scene! It’s becoming easier to find at standard grocery stores: usually right next to the standard broccoli. Look for small bunches of broccoli with long stems.

Sauteed broccolini

How to make sauteed broccolini: some tips

Sauteed broccolini is quick and simple: the cooking goes fast! Once you’ve tried it once, you won’t need to follow a recipe. But for the first time, here are some tips for cooking and seasoning it to perfection:

  • Chop off the tough lower portions of the stems. Slice any very large florets in half lengthwise, which makes them easier to eat.
  • Sauté the broccolini 3 to 4 minutes in olive oil. Stir occasionally and cook until just starting to brown at the edges. At this point, the pan will be starting to get dry.
  • Add a bit of water, salt and garlic powder and cook 2 to 3 minutes. This last part of cooking gently steams the broccolini (it’s a technique we use for broccoli as well). It cooks it the rest of the way so that it’s bright green and tender.
  • Add any remaining seasonings. We like to add lemon juice at the end for a little brightness, but it’s not required!
Sauteed broccolini

Ways to serve sauteed broccolini

Sautéed broccolini is the ideal quick side dish for fast meals! We love to pair it with easy main dishes to make for a quick weeknight meals. But of course it’s also great for entertaining because it comes together so easily. It’s especially nice to pair with main dishes you make in the oven, since the stovetop is free. Here’s how we’d pair it:

More broccolini recipes

Love broccolini? This unique vegetable is ideal for cooking in many different ways!

This sauteed broccolini recipe is…

Vegetarian, vegan, plant-based, dairy-free and gluten-free.

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Sauteed broccolini

Sauteed Broccolini


  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 3 minutes
  • Cook Time: 5 minutes
  • Total Time: 8 minutes
  • Yield: 4

Description

Sauteed broccolini It is one of the fastest, tastiest side dishes there is! Cook it up in 5 minutes with garlic and lemon.


Ingredients

  • 2 bunches (14 ounces) broccolini
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice (optional)
  • Fresh ground black pepper

Instructions

  1. Cut off tough lower portions of the stems, leaving about 3 to 4 inches attached. Slice large pieces in half lengthwise through the entire stem.  
  2. In a medium skillet, heat the olive oil over medium high heat. Add the broccolini and cook, stirring occasionally until bright green and starting to brown at the edges, 3 to 4 minutes. Sprinkle with the kosher salt and garlic powder and add ¼ cup water to the pan. Continue cooking until the stems are bright green and just tender, 2 to 3 minutes.
  3. Stir in the lemon juice and black pepper. Add salt if desired and serve hot. 
  • Category: Side dish
  • Method: Sauteed
  • Cuisine: Vegetables
  • Diet: Vegan

Keywords: Sauteed broccolini

A Couple Cooks - Recipes worth repeating.

Couscous Salad

This colorful couscous salad recipe tastes irresistibly fresh with herbs, garlic, and lemon! It’s ideal as a side dish, lunches,…

A Couple Cooks – Recipes worth repeating.

This colorful couscous salad recipe tastes irresistibly fresh with herbs, garlic, and lemon! It’s ideal as a side dish, lunches, picnics or potlucks.

Couscous Salad

Here’s a salad that’s about as delightful as they come: this fresh and herby Couscous Salad! It’s an ideal way to use Israeli couscous, those delightfully chewy pasta spheres. Throw it together with fresh dill and mint, garlic, lemon and a pile of vegetables, then sprinkle with salty feta. Take a bite and it’s irresistibly fresh and savory: we couldn’t stop eating it! This deli-style Israeli couscous salad works for lunch or picnics, or as a colorful side for fish, chicken or the grill. Really, what can’t this salad do? With one bite you’ll be smitten.

Ingredients in this couscous salad recipe

A couscous salad could work with Moroccan couscous, which has very small irregular pieces. But this one uses the larger perfectly round Israeli couscous, which technically isn’t couscous at all! We like an Israeli couscous salad because the larger size has a more distinguishable texture when mixed in with the veggies. Here’s what you’ll need for this salad:

  • Israeli couscous (aka pearl couscous)
  • Garlic powder
  • Garlic clove
  • Shallot
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Fresh dill and fresh mint
  • Baby arugula
  • Feta cheese crumbles
  • Lemon juice and zest
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

Simply cook up the Israeli couscous, slice the veggies, and mix everything together! It’s quick and simple, and the flavor is unbelievably refreshing with a pop of acidity.

Israeli Couscous
Israeli couscous is larger in size than standard couscous and spherical

Couscous vs Israeli couscous

A little background on couscous! What’s the difference between standard couscous and Israeli couscous? Make sure to grab Israeli couscous when shopping for this recipe. Here’s what to know:

  • Couscous is a North African pasta with tiny grains made from semolina flour. Its texture looks like grains of rice or quinoa, but’s actually a pasta! It originated with the Berbers of Algeria and Morocco between the 11th century and 13th century. It’s a cultural dish of the Maghrebi cuisines in the countries of Algeria, Tunisia, Mauritania, Morocco, and Libya. Couscous has very small, irregular grains. It’s the standard variety and labeled “couscous” at the grocery (it typically won’t include the word Moroccan).
  • Israeli couscous aka pearl couscous is larger and shaped like balls. It’s technically considered a pasta and not couscous, since the grains are large and shaped exactly the same. It’s always been machine made, whereas couscous is made by hand. The food was invented in Israel in the 1950’s when the government needed to feed masses of immigrants.

Keep in mind: couscous is not gluten free and it’s not suitable for gluten-free diets. You can find gluten-free couscous online.

Couscous Salad

Look for baby arugula

One important note for this couscous salad: make sure to look for baby arugula! If you can’t find it, don’t substitute it with standard arugula. Here’s why:

  • Baby arugula has a feathery texture and is sold in bags or boxes. It has a delicately peppery flavor.
  • Standard arugula, sold in bunches, has a very spicy flavor that would overpower this salad!
  • Can’t find baby arugula? Substitute another baby green like baby spinach or baby kale.

Using fresh herbs in this couscous salad

This Israeli couscous salad goes big on herby flavor with fresh dill and fresh mint: they’re integral to the light, herbaceous flavor. But they can be expensive in winter months! Here are a few notes on working with fresh herbs:

  • If you can, use both fresh dill and mint. Growing your own herbs in the summer is the best way to keep this economical.
  • Want to use only one fresh herb? Go for the fresh dill and omit the mint.
  • Avoid substituting dried herbs: they have a much different flavor. If desired you can simply omit the herbs entirely: it still tastes good! (Just not quite as good.)
Couscous Salad

Ways to serve this couscous salad

This couscous salad is one of those ultra-versatile recipes that you can use for many different occasions and seasons. Here are some of our favorite ways to serve it:

Let us know how you plan to serve it in the comments below!

More salad recipes

Love a good grain or bean salad? They make a lovely easy side dish idea. Here are a few more fun recipes you’ll love:

This couscous salad recipe is…

Vegetarian. For gluten-free, look for gluten-free couscous online. For vegan and dairy-free, omit the feta and add a few pinches more salt.

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Couscous Salad

Couscous Salad


  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 6 side dish servings

Description

This colorful couscous salad recipe tastes irresistibly fresh with herbs, garlic, and lemon! It’s ideal as a side dish, lunches, picnics or potlucks.


Ingredients

  • 1 cup Israeli couscous (aka pearl couscous; look for gluten-free if desired)
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¾ teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, sliced
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh dill
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh mint**
  • 2 cups baby arugula (or other baby greens)*
  • ½ cup feta cheese crumbles (omit for vegan and add more salt to taste)
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice, plus zest of ½ lemon
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • Fresh ground black pepper

Instructions

  1. Bring 1 ½ cups water to a boil in a large saucepan. Add the Israeli couscous, garlic powder and ½ teaspoon of the kosher salt and reduce to a simmer. Cover with lid and cook 8 to 10 minutes, until the couscous is tender and the water is absorbed.  Remove the couscous to a bowl, mix it with 1 teaspoon of the olive oil, and allow to stand for 2 to 3 minutes. 
  2. Meanwhile, mince the garlic and shallot. Slice the cherry tomatoes in half. Chop the dill and mint.
  3. When the couscous is done resting, place it in a large bowl with the chopped vegetables and herbs. Add the baby arugula, feta cheese crumbles, lemon juice and zest, the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil, ¼ teaspoon kosher salt, and a few grinds of black pepper. Mix gently to combine. Serve immediately or refrigerate for up to 5 days (flavor is best right away but tastes great after refrigeration; you may need to revive the flavors with a pinch or two of salt).

Notes

*Make sure to look for baby arugula, which has a feathery texture and is sold in bags or boxes. Standard arugula, sold in bunches, has much too spicy of a flavor. If you can’t find it, substitute another baby green like baby spinach or baby kale.

**If it’s winter and you’d like to pare back and use only one herb, go for the fresh dill. We highly recommend this salad with both fresh herbs (and try growing your own herbs in the summer). Avoid substituting dried herbs: you can simply omit the herbs entirely and it still tastes good.

  • Category: Salad
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Salad
  • Diet: Vegetarian

Keywords: Couscous salad

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