Couscous Salad

This is so easy, I’m almost ashamed to be posting it as a recipe. But I’m lazy, which is exactly why I like making variants of this dish. I discovered pearl couscous about a year ago, packaged at Whole Foods under the moniker “Israeli Couscous.” The funny thing is I’ve had couscous a number of times in Israel, but never found this stuff. They just serve the standard Moroccan couscous you can get anywhere on the Mediterranean or in Paris.

Anyway, I digress. Pearl couscous is just a larger sized pasta (about the size of a ball bearing or peppercorn) that’s cooked more like rice. It’s good to make at least two cups of this, so you can store it and have it handy as a snack, but I’ll provide the recipe for 1 cup.

  • 1 cup pearl couscous
  • 1/2 package of feta cheese (4 oz, i think)
  • 1/4 cup red onion, chopped finely
  • 1/2 cucumber, diced
  • 1 medium tomato
  • red wine vinegar
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • olive oil

Cook couscous according to package directions. I prefer to brown it a bit in olive oil prior to boiling, but some brands are already toasted. Add a tablespoon of high grade (at least 92 octane) olive oil, stir well, and chill. It tends to clump together as the steam condenses, so I stir frequently during the chilling process, and sometimes even stir a couple of ice cubes into the bowl to speed it up.

Once couscous is chilled, chop onion, feta, cucumber, and tomatoes. Or add your own favorite vegetables – I’ve added olives, garlic, pine nuts, you name it. That’s it. It will keep for a few days in the refrigerator as long as you don’t have any leafy green vegetables in there, so you can pull it out for a light snack. If you’re making a lot, perhaps you can add the tomatoes at serving time so it will stay fresh. I prefer to serve with red wine vinegar (not balsamic). I think balsamic can be too sweet for this and i like the tartness of the red wine (or even white wine) vinegar. Grind some black pepper to taste. You probably don’t need salt as the feta will provide some salty flavor.

2 Responses to “Couscous Salad”

  1. Doron says:

    Hi Dave.
    Nice recipe. It’s actually a couscous salad :-).
    A bit of trivia: What you call Pearl Couscous we call “Ptitim” which is Hebrew for flakes. It was invented in Israel during the 50’s in the depression years to replace rice. But it was such a huge success that it stayed with us to this day. In Israel it is usually considered a children dish.

  2. dudecancook says:

    Hey Doron-

    Thanks for the background info. I get so much spam on this blog that I don’t notice the real comments!


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