Easy Couscous Salad

Warm Couscous Salad

Couscous is a pantry staple at our house. It’s simple to make and transforms whatever ingredients we have laying around in the fridge into a filling meal. So, this week, we’re adding a couscous salad from Chantelle Grady to our month of delicious salad recipes. It’s warm, hearty and perfect for busy weeknights. Here’s how to make it…

Warm Couscous Salad
by Chantelle Grady

This recipe is my go-to when the fridge is looking a little bare and I’m in a bit of a hurry. My husband and I have been enjoying this warm salad for years, and now our three-year-old loves it too, which makes dinnertime drama-free. You can use whatever veggies you have on hand. Grill them, bake them or throw some in raw. My favorite combination is uses grilled zucchini, fresh spinach leaves, cherry tomatoes and crumbled goat cheese. It’s a great dish to add to the Meatless Monday repertoire, or a perfect accompaniment for fish or chicken.

Recipe: Warm Couscous Salad
Serves 2

You’ll need:

2 cups chicken stock (or vegetable stock)
1 cup couscous
1 tbsp butter
1 zucchini, sliced diagonally
Olive oil
1/4 cup pine nuts
Large handful baby spinach leaves
12 cherry tomatoes, halved
1/4 cup goat cheese
Sea salt and cracked black pepper
1/2 lemon
Balsamic vinegar

In a small pot, bring chicken stock to a boil. Turn off heat, add couscous, stir to combine and allow to sit for 5 minutes with the lid on. Using a fork, fluff up couscous. Add butter and gently stir through. Transfer to a large bowl and allow to cool slightly.

Place zucchini in a bowl and drizzle over a little olive oil. Toss to coat. Place on a hot grill or frying pan and grill both sides until charred.

Place pine nuts in a frying pan and heat over medium heat until golden.

To the bowl of couscous, add the grilled zucchini, toasted pine nuts, baby spinach leaves and tomatoes. Crumble the goat cheese into the bowl. Squeeze with lemon juice, drizzle with balsamic vinegar and a little more olive oil. Season with salt and black pepper. Toss gently to combine. Divide among bowls and serve.

Thank you so much, Chantelle!

P.S. More easy recipes, including refreshing watermelon salad and three-ingredient tomato sandwich.

(Photos and recipe by Chantelle Grady. Thanks to Stella Blackmon for helping with this series.)

  1. I’m a sucker for healthy salads. Definitely going to try this one. Thanks for sharing! Is there a specific vegetable you would replace the zucchini with?

  2. Natalie says...

    This was so delightful! I made it for dinner last night, and I’m enjoying the leftovers today. Even my anti-veggie boyfriend went back for seconds! Thanks for sharing.

  3. Janine says...

    This is my new go to! SO freaking easy and savory. I will be eating this all summer long :) Probably could sub in spaghetti squash for zuc. in winter :)

    -1 cup couscous to 2 cups liquid was too much for my Israeli couscous… 1/1.5 would be better
    -goat cheese was too expensive, so I sub-ed feta!
    -added sauteed mushrooms for more filling meal & vitamins

    • Janine says...

      oops, forgot! omitted tomatoes bc I haven’t found any good ones this summer :/ still on the hunt!

  4. Couscous is the best! It takes 5 minutes and is one of the easiest side dishes in the world. Plus, it takes on any flavor you add to it beautifully. I like to use it instead of pasta like this recipe. It’s also really good with a Moroccan style dish I make with ground turkey and lamb.

  5. Annabelle says...

    First, thank your for inspiring today’s lunch! Yum! Second, I want to thank Cup of Jo for consistenly being a bright spot in my day. I’m a adolescent and young adult social worker and while I LOVE my job, it can also be hard work. My morning Cup of Jo inspires, entertains, provokes thought and makes me laugh. This is often a wonderful way to start my day on the right foot. Thank you!!!!

  6. It’s a pasta so it has that kind of tender, but chewy thing that is so delicious. I love it. I like regular couscous too but definitely prefer the larger Israeli kind, especially for salads. I think it has a toastier flavor than regular pasta (especially if you toast it like in the recipe, but even without that step, it has it a bit)

  7. SK says...

    I have read mention of the Near East couscous brand on this blog before and the Olive Oil and Garlic flavor they carry is DIVINE. I do not use that word lightly. Would be so great in this salad!
    Also, every single time I make couscous my husband has to quip- “Couscous- so nice they named it twice!” – so cheesy but makes me giggle without fail.

  8. Jane says...

    Love it! We do this all the time, too — sometimes with couscous, sometimes with quinoa, sometimes with barley. So good!

  9. Christy says...

    One of my favs! I also love to do these variations:

    caprese couscous with small mozzarella balls, ripped basil and fresh garden tomatoes.

    greek couscous with calamata olives, feta and pine nuts

    clean out the fridge couscous with whatever looks good: corn, gorgonzola, spinach, sundried tomatoes, etc

  10. jeannie says...

    Sounds delicious!

  11. Yummy. Mind you, everything tastes better with goats cheese ?

  12. This is a favorite of mine, though I do it a little differently. This recipe will be a nice change.

  13. Alice Quin says...


  14. Sarah says...

    Looks yummy. I love salads for dinner!
    I would love some recipe/food ideas for introducing foods to my son. It’s so hard to think of original, interesting and nutritious foods suitable when introducing solids! I just know all your wonderful readers would have great suggestions too. I’m soo sick of googling!

    • Jane says...

      We did the Baby Led Weaning method, where you give finger-shaped soft foods to the kiddo (ideally, around 6 months, when the child can sit up well). We started with pieces of avocado, banana, baked sweet potato fries, soft pear and apple, steamed carrots and broccoli, etc. Also, two-ingredient pancakes/muffins are awesome: 1 banana mashed with 1/2 cup baby oatmeal, then either baked in mini muffin tins or cooked on stovetop in a pan. From there, you go to pasta, a bit of egg omelet, beans, blueberries, pieces of other steamed veggies (beets and zucchini were a hit with both my kids when they were about 7 months). Then a bit of toast with sunbutter, other veggies & fruit. Quinoa cakes with veggies were also a favorite, as were long finger pieces of chicken, fish and beef. At 10 months, my son tried goat stew and jerk chicken (and loved it). The idea is to offer a variety of moderately spiced foods (but still low on salt) to get used to the variety of flavors. And get to a point where the kid eats what the parents eat.

      At first, the food has to be long so that when the child grabs with a fist (no pincer fingers at 6 months yet), the food can peek out of the fist to be gummed. You kind of have to sit with them and exaggerate the motions of grabbing the food, bringing it to the mouth, placing inside and then chewing. Kids catch on super quick!

      Even if the kid has no teeth, they can gum the food — and the point isn’t to have them actually eat, but to get used to the process of picking up food, bringing it to the mouth and putting the food into the mouth.