A few weeks back, I shared my Couscous Salad with Cranberries, Lemon and Fresh Herbs for Making Lemonade’s Summer Salad Series and I thought I’d share the recipe with you here today. It is a favorite, so easy to make and tastes even better the next day. Can I share a secret? I have been known to eat this salad right out of the tupperware container. Yep. It’s that good. Shhh… It’s our secret.
My family really, really, really likes this pasta salad – Couscous with Cranberries, Lemon and Fresh Herbs. Israeli couscous is a small round pasta, not a grain like rice. The blend of the tart lemon with the sweetness of the cranberries and the freshness of the basil and mint makes this salad perfect for summer! And did I mention there is a crunch factor? Yep. That crunchy goodness is the pine nuts?
It’s very easy to prepare and serves well at room temperature. I have made it a day ahead and simply added the basil and mint from the herb garden right before serving. It’s a perfect side dish or can be the main course with some grilled chicken or grilled shrimp. If cranberries aren’t your thing, any dried fruit will work like dried tart cherries, raisins or currants. If a picnic is on your calendar, this summer salad is great because there is no mayonnaise, just lemon and fresh herbs from the garden. And can I share a secret? I make this salad in the winter and serve it beside a white fish or salmon, when I want a little pop of summer. Delish!
I hope you will give it a try!
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 8.8 oz. box of Israeli couscous (or 1 lb. orzo pasta works well too)
- 3 cups of chicken broth
- Juice of 2 lemons
- Zest of 1 lemon
- ¼ cup of extra-virgin olive oil
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- 1 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped
- ½ cup fresh mint leaves, chopped
- ¼ cup dried cranberries
- ¼ pine nuts, toasted
- In a sauce pan, warm the 3 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat.
- Add the minced garlic and stir for 30 seconds.
- Add the couscous and stir until lightly browned (about 5 minutes).
- Carefully add the chicken broth and the juice of 1 lemon.
- Bring to a boil.
- Reduce the heat to simmer, cover the pot, stir occasionally, until the couscous is tender – about 10-12 minutes.
- In a large bowl, toss the cooked couscous with the ¼ cup of olive oil, the juice of 1 lemon, the lemon zest, salt and pepper.
- Let the mixture cool.
- Once the couscous has cooled to room temperature, add the fresh herbs, dried cranberries and pine nuts.
- Toss to combine.
I add a generous ¼ cup of cranberries and pine nuts, because I really like them.The salad can be served chilled or at room temperature.
It works as a side dish or as an entree with the simple addition of grilled chicken or shrimp.
Linking to: Sand & Sisal, Hymns & Verses