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Mediterranean Couscous Salad

Mediterranean Couscous Salad

Prep

10 mins

cook

13 mins

serves

6

If I could transport to any location at the click of a button, it would be somewhere along the Mediterranean sea where the waters are clear blue, the food is fresh, and the people seem to have glowing skin. The waters and the food must have something to do with it! Fortunately, we can feel like we are traveling through the use of foods and recipes inspired by different cuisines and cultures. I was specifically keen to this mindset during the height of the pandemic when travel restrictions were the most strict. As someone who was traveling every month, once everything came to a stop, I really had to get creative. Sometimes this would include listening to music from different countries, watching movies in different languages (while reading the english subtitles of course), or as I’m going to share with you today, making recipes inspired by different cultures. Today’s recipe is a couscous salad, and although several countries have their own signature couscous, this one is inspired by the classic tastes of mediterranean sea. 

What is couscous?

Couscous, pronounced like coos coos, is crushed durum wheat semolina. And although it resembles and acts as a whole-grain with a neutral, versatile taste, it is actually considered a pasta! Its origins can be traced back to Northern Africa, where it is a common pantry staple. It is typically served as a side dish, and there are three main types that you’ll find most often, all of which differ slightly in their size and cooking times. There’s Moroccan couscous, which is the smallest in size, and as a result, offers the quickest cooking time. Next, you have the Israeli variation which is a bit larger in size, and is sometimes called pearl couscous (as we will be using in the recipe down below). And finally, the Lebanese couscous which is the biggest of the three and has the longest cooking time.

How to eat couscous

The good news is couscous is incredibly versatile. It’s a bit like quinoa in the sense that the taste itself is very neutral, making it the perfect base to infuse with your favorite flavors! It pairs very well along a protein source and some vegetables for a complete, nutritious, and satisfying meal. As in today’s recipe, it creates a fresh, hearty salad, and it is wonderful when stuffed in large, colorful peppers or tomatoes. It provides a density to meals, especially alongside vegetables which makes it something that I always keep on hand for quick, last minute recipes. 

The key to making your couscous delicious, is the freshness of ingredients you use in your recipe. If you are preparing a salad for example, it is critical that the vegetables added to your dish are of top quality. For the freshest salad additions available, we recommend using our premium produce delivery service Farmbox Direct. We make sure that you have the best fruits and vegetables delivered to your home on a weekly basis, so each meal consists of quality, plant-based essentials. You can also make up to 5 substitutions per box which allows you to have less of what you don’t like, and more of what you do like.

Now let’s go over a few of the delicious flavors featured in this couscous salad recipe that will have your taste buds traveling along the blue Mediterranean sea. I like to think that this salad contains that Mediterranean trifecta, if you will, that is cucumbers, tomatoes, and feta. So long as these three are in a dish, most of the people enjoying this meal are usually happy. I know I am! Fresh, juicy cucumbers are one of my favorite vegetables to eat in the summertime because they are just so refreshing! They come in at a staggering 96% water content, which also makes them perfect for staying hydrated without having to constantly fill up your glass. In addition to being incredibly hydrating, cucumbers are filled with antioxidants that include anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties. Tomatoes, always a fan favorite, are filled with vitamin A, a key nutrient for improving night vision, as well as potassium and vitamin C (as are cucumbers.) These red, savory fruits are about 94% water, and even help reduce high blood pressure. 

A word on feta

With so many different cheeses, how do you choose the perfect one for a dish!? In our case, feta will be used because it is a Greek cheese, which adds to the Mediterranean taste palate we are going for. It is made of sheep and goat’s milk, and is tangy and tart, while remaining creamy. For these types of salads, it is super important to use a great tasting feta cheese, because remember, we are trying to get as close to the blue waters as possible! Where there are quality ingredients in a meal, the flavors can be best enjoyed and most appreciated. 

Now let’s jump right into this cucumber salad with an herbed vinaigrette recipe. Be sure to try the recipe out for yourself and give us a tag at @FarmboxDirect and make sure to use the hashtag #FarmboxDirect #FarmboxLiving so that we can see how the recipe turns out!

Mediterranean Couscous Salad
Mediterranean Couscous Salad

Ingredients

8 oz pearl couscous

1 ¾ cup water

3 small cucumbers 

1 cup cherry tomatoes

½ cup kalamata olives, pitted

½ cup feta cheese

1 cup spinach

2 tbsp olive oil

½ tsp salt

Directions

  1. In a small pot with a lid, preheat olive oil and salt to medium heat. Add couscous and toast, stirring frequently until lightly golden and aromatic.
  2. Add water, stir, and bring to a boil. Once water is boiling, turn off heat, cover, and allow to cook for 12-13 minutes, or until water is absorbed.
  3. Prepare vegetables. Chop cucumbers, halve tomatoes, halve kalamata olives, and chop spinach.
  4. Once couscous is cooked, fluff with a fork and transfer to a large serving bowl. Add vegetables and feta and toss. Enjoy warm and immediately, or chill and enjoy cold throughout the week.
Mediterranean Couscous Salad

 

Meal Prepping: Mediterranean Couscous Salad

Ashley Tyrner
Print Recipe Pin Recipe
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 13 minutes
Servings: 6
Servings: 6
Author: Ashley Tyrner

Equipment

  • Small pot with a lid

Ingredients

  • 8 oz pearl couscous
  • 1 3/4 cup water
  • 3 cucumbers small
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup kalamata olives pitted
  • 1/2 cup feta cheese
  • 1 cup spinach
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Instructions

  • In a small pot with a lid, preheat olive oil and salt to medium heat. Add couscous and toast, stirring frequently until lightly golden and aromatic.
  • Add water, stir, and bring to a boil. Once water is boiling, turn off heat, cover, and allow to cook for 12-13 minutes, or until water is absorbed.
  • Prepare vegetables. Chop cucumbers, halve tomatoes, halve kalamata olives, and chop spinach.
  • Once couscous is cooked, fluff with a fork and transfer to a large serving bowl. Add vegetables and feta and toss. Enjoy warm and immediately, or chill and enjoy cold throughout the week.

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Mediterranean Couscous Salad