You’re going to love this pearled couscous recipe! My Pearled Couscous Salad with Lemon-Garlic Dressing is a delicious side dish that can easily become the main entree. Keep reading to learn how to cook pearled couscous, then put this on your menu ASAP!
You know I’m a fan of salads that don’t suck, right? Well, I just can’t stop, won’t stop with new creations. Here’s my latest one, made with delicious pearled couscous, walnuts, carrots, and chopped prunes on a big ole bed of leafy greens!
It’s topped with a tangy Lemon-Garlic Dressing that you can use on so many other dishes, too.
You know I’m a fan of salads that don’t suck, right? Well, I just can’t stop, won’t stop with new creations. Here’s my latest one, made with delicious pearled couscous, walnuts, carrots, and chopped prunes on a big ole bed of leafy greens! It’s topped with a tangy Lemon-Garlic Dressing that you can use on so many other dishes, too.
Pearled Couscous Salad
I chose pearled couscous for this recipe because I can’t get enough of its dense, chewy texture. It’s perfect for salads because it breaks up all the veggies, and since it’s round there’s a lot of surface area for yummy dressings to stick to.
Here’s what you need to make this Pearled Couscous Salad recipe.
Ingredients: Uncooked pearled couscous (plus water for cooking), salted butter, fresh arugula, carrots, prunes, and walnuts. For the dressing, you’ll need some olive oil, a fresh lemon, garlic, Dijon mustard, white wine vinegar, honey, dried oregano, and salt and pepper.
Street Smart Nutrition Tip: You can always grate or shred your own carrots for this Pearled Couscous Salad, but if you want to skip that step, look for shredded or matchstick carrots in the produce section near the bagged salad ingredients.
Equipment: Cutting board and well-sharpened chef’s knife, measuring cups and measuring spoons, a mixing bowl, and a serving spoon. If you’re starting with whole carrots, grab a grater. A whisk can also be helpful when preparing the dressing.
How to Cook Pearled Couscous
Pearled couscous is a type of small pasta, formed into small, round balls. The flavor, similar to other types of pasta, is fairly neutral on its own. The key to building great flavor when you cook pearled couscous is to first toast it.
Trust me, you might feel like skipping this step in the interest of time, but I promise it’s worth the extra effort!
First, heat a skillet or pan over medium to medium-high heat. Add the butter to the skillet, and once it’s melted, add the uncooked pearled couscous. Stir consistently to avoid scorching your couscous. After 2-3 minutes, you’ll notice some of the pieces developing a golden color. This is a good sign because that’s going to give your pearled couscous recipe an even better flavor!
Street Smart Nutrition Tip: For even more flavor, cook your pearled couscous with a low-sodium broth or stock instead of water. Use a 1:1 1/4 ratio, meaning for every cup of uncooked couscous, use 1 1/4 cup liquid.
Once you’ve toasted the couscous, add your liquid and bring everything to a low simmer. Cover your skillet or pan. Cook for about 10 minutes, or until all liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat, allow to cool slightly, and you’re ready to make this pearled couscous salad!
You can also store your cooked couscous in the fridge in a sealed container for 4-5 days. It also freezes well if you batch cook larger amounts.
What to Serve with Pearled Couscous Salad
If you’re satisfied with a plant-based salad, no need to go any further! Load up your plate or bowl and enjoy as is.
But if you prefer some protein to top off your Pearled Couscous Salad, here are some ideas:
- Skewer of grilled shrimp
- Shredded or chopped chicken breast (make it easy and grab a pre-cooked rotisserie chicken)
- Pork tenderloin medallions
- Baked salmon
As you can see, the options are pretty flexible based on your taste preferences. The Lemon-Garlic Dressing used for this pearled couscous recipe can double as a marinade or sauce for your favorite proteins, too. Just double the batch, and if marinating, be sure to avoid mixing the marinade with the dressing for serving (this is an important food safety precaution).
Here’s the recipe for this Pearled Couscous Salad!
Pearled Couscous Salad with Lemon-Garlic Dressing
- 3/4 cup pearled couscous, uncooked
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 2 tbsp salted butter
- 2 1/2 cups arugula
- 1 cups grated carrots
- 3/4 cup chopped prunes
- 3/4 cup chopped walnuts
For the Lemon-Garlic Dressing
- Measure and add all ingredients to a small container. Whisk together to combine, then set aside until ready to serve. Note that there will be some separation, so either cover and shake well, or whisk again before serving.
For the Couscous Salad
- Heat a skillet or pan over medium to medium-high heat. Once the pan is heated, add the butter and allow to melt. Once melted, add the uncooked couscous.
- Stir frequently to avoid scorching the couscous. Toast for two to three minutes or until some pieces become darker. Pour in the water and bring to a low simmer. Cover and cook for about 10 minutes, or until all liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat.
- Meanwhile, prepare the other ingredients by chopping the prunes and walnuts.
- Once the couscous has cooled to room temperature, add all salad ingredients to a mixing bowl and fold together to combine. Once well-mixed, drizzle with the Lemon-Garlic Dressing and mix again. Serve immediately.
If you choose to swap ingredients, try using pecans or almonds instead of walnuts. Pine nuts are also ah-mazing with Israeli couscous recipes. I’m a huge fan but they can be a more expensive ingredient.
You can also use other dried fruits besides prunes. I’m partial to prunes because of their health benefits, especially for bone health. But I think this salad would be just as delicious with dried apricots, dried figs, or dried cranberries.
If you enjoy this recipe, be sure to check out some of my other delicious salad recipes!
- Lentil Salad with Feta and Grilled Vegetables
- Easy Pesto Pasta Salad with Sun-Dried Tomatoes
- Confetti Quinoa Salad with Cumin-Lime Dressing
You can also snag information on building delicious, satisfying salads that don’t suck by signing up from my email newsletter. Once you subscribe, you’ll receive a copy of my e-book, “Salads That Don’t Suck”!