Friday, August 22, 2014

FFWD ~ Couscous Salad

FFWD ~ Couscous Salad

This week, for French Fridays, it’s a salad. A Couscous salad to be exact!  Perfect for a warm summers night in the northeast. A nice accompaniment for just about anything you plan to grill for dinner.  However, for some reason I thought this was the week of the Chanterelles (a story for next week).  I spent several hours in town, going from store to store, in search of this elusive mushroom. Only to come home and re-read my FF schedule, and find out I was a week ahead.  Really??

I loved everything that went into this salad….

So it’s a Couscous Salad with a Moroccan slant!  Whole grains are a mainstay in my pantry. I cook with them all the time. I make many whole grain salads including one of my favorites…a  wheat berry salad from the Whole Foods cookbook, which I intend to post eventually. Any given day you will find several different varieties of rice, Farro, quinoa, bulgur, wheat germ, and barley. I’ve got them all. Going to my pantry to find couscous was not going to be a problem. I knew I had everything needed for this salad! Following a two-hour hunt for mushrooms, this was a cinch!

This was an easy salad to put together. Bringing broth, flavored with a lot of warm spices, and some olive oil to a boil. Then add the couscous, and toss in all the veggies. Because Dorie shared this recipe in Bon Appetit magazine in 2008, I decided to share it here with you.

So did I like it? Honestly, I was not fond of all the warm spices in this cold salad. I prefer fresh tasting herbs such as basil, mint, thyme and rosemary. Don’t get me wrong; I love a little cinnamon thrown into certain dishes. I always add some to my Tabouli, the way my grandmother always did. However, I find the Moroccan flavors to be quite strong. I do enjoy them in a good Tagine.  Still, I found the spices in this salad to be overwhelming and quite intense. On a scale of 1 to 5, I’d rate it a 2! You win some, and then you know how it goes…you lose some! Sorry Dorie, this one just didn’t do it for me.  Happy Friday everyone!

This recipe can be found in Dorie Greenspan’s cookbook, Around My French Table…it is also all over the Internet.  To see what the other FF crew has done with this salad check it out here.

except the spices…I just found them too overwhelming
But don’t let me be the barometer…if you like Moroccan food you might love this! 

Moroccan Couscous Salad
by Dorie Greenspan

Bon Appétit | August 2008

2 cups low-salt chicken broth
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 tablespoon ground ginger
2 garlic cloves, pressed
2 teaspoons salt, divided
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1 10-ounce box plain couscous
1/2 cup raisins
1 cucumber, peeled, seeded, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 large red bell pepper, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (about 2 cups)
1 large carrot, peeled, quartered lengthwise, thinly sliced crosswise
1 cup thinly sliced green beans or trimmed sugar snap peas
2 teaspoons finely grated lemon peel
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

Bring chicken broth, 1 tablespoon oil, ginger, garlic, 1 teaspoon salt, turmeric, cinnamon, and cumin to boil in heavy large saucepan. Stir in couscous and remove from heat. Scatter raisins over, cover, and let stand until couscous softens, about 10 minutes. Fluff couscous with fork, breaking up any lumps with fingertips. Transfer couscous to large bowl. Add cucumber, red bell pepper, carrot, green beans, and lemon peel. Whisk remaining 1 tablespoon oil, 1 teaspoon salt, and lemon juice in small bowl. Add to couscous; toss to coat. Season to taste with salt and pepper. DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill. Bring to room temperature before serving.


  1. This is a great salad all the year round, Kathy. It looks so delicious!

  2. Sounds great ---I make a lot of couscous as a hot side dish, but I love the idea of serving it cold as the base for a salad.

  3. I've done that before. I think it was last year that I went so far as to shop for, cook, and write a post for a recipe which was not due until the following week, and then had to cram like mad to get the actual recipe in! Oh well, now you'll be ahead of the game for next week:-)

  4. I am sorry that this did not work for you... but it sure looks FAB!

  5. I don't think theres a single chanterellle in Indianapolis! Sorry this was a little too potent for you. I was worried as I'm not a huge fan of cinnamon and such in my savory dishes, but I was surprised to like it so much. Your dish looks beautiful, even if it wasn't a hit!

  6. Maybe try it again and tone down the spices? I guess I knew what this should taste like (having eaten a lot of it in France this summer) so I wasn't surprised but I can see how those spices/ that combo might not work for some people. Yours is exceptionally pretty though!

  7. I think that your palate is on the mark, Kathy. Is sounds wonderful but I kept forgetting it was a salad and not a hot side dish! When I was in Morocco, me only cold salad we had was with leafy greens and tomatoes. Cinnamon was used on orange slices served cold as a dessert. I think I would really like this dish served hot with a Moroccan meal any time of the year. And I think plain or cremini mushrooms would work just fine! All those spices would completely overwhelm the chanterelles! Gorgeous photos of this, though! ~ David

  8. Your dishes always look yummy - sorry it was a hit. I would be interested in hearing about your grandmother's addition of cinnamon to her tabouli - I love everything about that salad but cinnamon sounds interesting.

    1. Hi Joan, I have posted my tabbouli recipe on my blog. This is the link~
      If you have any questions send me a note via E-mail!

  9. Sorry this wasn't a hit for you. You managed to make it look gorgeous in that bowl, though. I really like grain salads (though we limit ourselves to gluten-free grains these days). They're so healthy and full of energy.

  10. Good for you for "keeping it real" :) You are absolutely right - they can't all be winners, esp with all our different tastes. I will say this - your results LOOKED fabulous and your photos are just stunning. I love that you put this in the beautiful blue bowl and blue accents - it really showcased the great colors from the salad. Gorgeous ~

  11. So sorry you didn't enjoy this one, but there's always next week. This recipe is very flexible, but it might not be worth it to figure out the right blend of spices you would enjoy. Better to move onto the next recipe. Have a good weekend.

  12. Shame this wasn't to your style my friend! :/ but your photos are stunning, makes this dish look delicious!

    Choc Chip Uru

  13. Lovely dish !!!
    i really craving over it not.....
    i also like to stir fry it into a nice fried "rice"

  14. I really thought I would dislike this recipe, but I was wrong. Most of the spices that were called for, I normally do not use, but for some reason they worked here. Your salad looks lovely, I hope that you did not cook the whole box of couscous, because it sure makes a lot of salad and if you are not fond of it, it's
    a shame.

  15. I had to adjust the seasonings going in, since I knew some of them wouldn't fly. It was a pretty dish, though!

    Those mushrooms were everywhere the week before I wanted to make that dish. Do you think I could find them anywhere now that I need them? Of course not :-)

    Have a lovely week.

  16. I served this couscous hot with grilled chicken the first night, maybe you would like it hot? I ate it as a cold salad as leftovers. We love curry so this was a hit for us. Kudos to you for looking for mushrooms so long:) See you next Friday.

  17. My favorite way to eat couscous is with curry, almonds and raisins, so I think I would love this one! It certainly looks inviting Kathy! Did you find chanterelles? They're so hard to find here.

  18. the couscous look SO delicious - looking the spices - really lovely :)

  19. First, I think your blue and white bowl is gorgeous. I know you've used it before but it looks especially pretty with this colorful salad. Secondly, your last photo - the spoon shot - is fantastic. You packed a heap of every type of ingredient on that spoon. I already know (because I am commenting on Sunday night) that you liked this salad more and more. Is it because the spices came together eventually. Or, what? Or, why? I am getting fonder of spicy foods. I've sorta been forced into using Mediterranean spices over the past three years so this wasn't too intense for me at all. Liked it but there was just tooooo much of it.

  20. Your salad looks beautiful Kathy, even if the flavours were not up your alley. I liked it, but I love my spices.

  21. Your photos are especially nice this week! The colors are perfect. Sorry you weren't crazy about this one, especially since it made so much! I should use more grains. Rice and quinoa are about it for me. I know you're enjoying the grandkids!

  22. Kathy, I'm a little behind in reading and catching up - your photography is gorgeous. Wish you were closer so you could share some tips! Hope you have been having a great summer and lots of fun memories with your family :)

  23. I always figure on hitting a number of recipes I don't love. I think that even worse is when a recipe is close, and I feel I need to try to "fix" it. There's no stepping on a bathroom scales those weeks! At least it was a very pretty dish--your photos are gorgeous!