Are sides an afterthought in your house? Do you plan your menu like I do….chicken on Monday, pork chops on Tuesday, Spaghetti on Wednesday, etc? Notice what is missing there? Sides! I never remember to plan sides….they are totally an afterthought, and usually a pain in the tush. I’m always waiting for the oven to preheat, or for a pot of water to boil. Those pork chops are ready…they just don’t have a buddy on the plate;)
Couscous has always been a favorite of mine. I love how it tastes, but mostly, I love how fast it cooks. I only have to wait for one cup of liquid to boil, and then five more minutes and I have couscous! Today I am going to show you a quick and easy recipe for a couscous salad. It is just as good cold or room temperature as it is cold. That makes this side a plus in my book. And if you haven’t read my imaginary book….you totally should.
Quick note: I loathe quinoa. I think the devil invented it, along with green peas. But…..I know that many of you love it, so you should know that you can totally make the following recipe with quinoa. Good luck.
For this salad, I used couscous, olive oil, chopped walnuts, shallot, apple, parsley, goat cheese, dried cranberries, apple cider vinegar, chicken stock, and Dijon mustard. Long list, easy recipe.
I started by chopping what needed to be chopped. I diced my shallot, chopped my walnuts a bit more (they were already “chopped”), minced my parsley and chopped my apple.
I spritzed a bit of lemon juice on my apple. That was just for looks. Nobody likes a discolored apple.
Also, I normally use flat leaf parsley for this recipe, but Chris went to the store for me (again), and brought me home curly parsley. Turns out I like it better in this recipe. Maybe Chris has a future in this cookin’ thing.
I threw my chopped walnuts into a dry sauté pan. Toasting your nuts gives them so much more flavor. I just tossed them around over medium high heat until I could smell them….about 3 minutes-ish.
In my sauce pan, I softened my shallot in a bit of olive oil. I also used salt and pepper here. You know s&p never make the ingredient picture so don’t act surprised to see them.
I cooked the shallots for a few minutes, just until they were starting to turn translucent.
Next, I added in one cup of chicken stick. Cooking your couscous in chicken stock gives it so much more flavor! Water will work, but stock is so much better. If I had vats of stock, I would cook my pasta in stock, but that is just impractical.
Once the stock boiled, I added my couscous and dried cranberries. I put the lid on, turned off the heat and let it go for five minutes.
FYI-I put the cranberries in now because the heat and moisture will help them plump up. “Reconstitute” if you like big words.
After five minutes, I poured the couscous into a bowl and fluffed it with a fork.
For the dressing….
What? Who is that standing next to my bowl? That is honeybear. He missed the ingredients shot above, but he is in that little bowl, along with apple cider vinegar, mustard, olive oil and salt and pepper.
I added the apple, parsley, toasted walnuts, goat cheese and dressing to the couscous.
Easy and amazing. This “side” should be the star of this show. It has tang from the dressing and cranberries, sweetness from the apple and creaminess from the cheese. This is the perfect couscous salad.
Chris had the leftovers for lunch the next day and he said it was just as amazing cold. You must try this. Even if you try it with quinoa.
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon olive oil
1 shallot, diced
1 cup chicken stock
1 cup couscous
½ cup dried cranberries
½ an apple, chopped
½ cup walnuts, chopped and toasted
¼ cup parsley, minced
3 ounces crumbled goat cheese
½ cup apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon salt, divided
½ teaspoon pepper, divided
In a sauce pan, sauté chopped shallot in 1 tablespoon olive oil. Season with ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Sauté over medium heat until shallot is translucent, about 3-4 minutes.
Add chicken stock and bring to a boil. Once stock is boiling, add couscous and dried cranberries. Immediately cover and remove from heat.
In a separate bowl, whisk together apple cider vinegar, remaining olive oil, mustard, honey and remaining salt and pepper. Set aside.
Once couscous is done cooking, remove lid and fluff with a fork. Stir in parsley, walnuts, chopped apple, goat cheese and dressing.