Couscous Salad

Thought to have originated in North Africa, couscous – which is made from rolling semolina (the heart of durum wheat) into a fine grain – is one of the traditional dishes of Morocco, Tunisia and Algeria. It's usually cooked with vegetables and some meat, herbs and a variety of spices. As couscous has become more widely available and easier to prepare, its popularity has spread worldwide. I like to use couscous in salads and incorporate the herbs, fruits and vegetables I have on hand. If apricots are not in season, you can use dried apricots or peaches instead. You can also use different herbs such as parsley or cilantro. Couscous is a wonderful picnic food.
By | June 15, 2014


Bring 2 cups salted water and 1 tablespoon olive oil to a boil in a large saucepan. Add the couscous, cover, remove from the heat and let sit for 10 minutes. Remove the lid and fluff the couscous with a fork.

While the couscous is cooking, pour a little olive oil into a mediumsized skillet placed over medium heat. Add the red onion and dried cranberries and sauté until soft and translucent – about 4 minutes. Stir in the chives, pistachios and lemon zest, and cook for 1 minute more. Remove from the heat.

Combine the olive oil and vinegar and a pinch of salt in the bottom of a medium-sized salad bowl. Add the red onion mixture to the vinaigrette and toss to combine. Add the cooked couscous and the chopped apricots. Carefully toss the salad so that the apricots do not get squished.

Recipes excerpted from Salade: Recipes From the Market Table by Pascale Beale. Copyright 2014 by Pascale Beale and M27 Editions. All rights reserved. No part may be reproduced or reprinted without prior permission in writing from the publisher.

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Salade by Pascale Beale

Growing up in England and France, and surrounded by a family passionate about food, wine and the arts, Santa Barbara – based cookbook author and instructor Pascale Beale learned to cook at an early ag...


  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cups couscous (uncooked)
  • 1 red onion, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries or cherries
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 large bunch chives, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup pistachios, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • Coarse sea salt
  • 6 apricots, each cut into 8 pieces
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