I am in love with this giant couscous salad… made with fresh, healthy ingredients and with all the flavours of the Mediterranean. It just has so much more depth than medium couscous as the texture is more appealing, especially with the Mediterranean ingredients I have added to complete the dish. It has a fresh lemon dressing which perfectly complements the soft texture of avocados, beans and black olives with the nutty texture of the couscous.
No Mediterranean salad is complete without tomatoes so these are a must in this recipe. I use delicious ripe Spanish tomatoes chopped into small pieces but cherry tomatoes are equally delicious. If the tomatoes aren’t as ripe as you like then if you slow-roast them it sweetens them up. As a final vegetable addition I add blackened roasted peppers along with feta cheese and basil or mint depending on how I’m feeling. As you can tell this is a regular in our house!
To make the salad, fry the garlic and onions in olive oil until softened. Add the couscous and mix well then add the smoked paprika and stir in the paprika until the couscous is coated in the spice. Add the stock and bring to the boil, then simmer for no longer than 10 minutes. You may feel it isn’t cooked but once it is drained and covered it continues to steam on its own. If you overcook the couscous, it will appear soggy in the salad especially when the dressing is added.
To make the dressing just mix the lemon juice, seasoning, paprika and chopped basil together. I often put it all in an empty jar and shake! Cut up the tomatoes into bite sized pieces, chop the chargrilled red peppers, drain the cooked beans, chop the black olives and chop the fresh basil leaves. Mix these into the couscous along with the dressing. Just before serving, chop the avocados and add to the salad. Crumble in the feta cheese.
Delicious on its own for lunch or as an accompaniment to a barbecue or protein meal. I love mine with baked fish.
This can be made the night before by omitting the avocado and feta cheese, as the flavours permeate and taste even better the next day! Add the avocado and feta cheese just before serving. Yes please!!!
If you like this then you’ll love my roasted stuffed Mediterranean peppers
- 200g/2 cups giant couscous
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 500ml vegetable stock
- 2 avocados
- 1 large red pepper, grilled
- 10 black pitted olives, sliced
- 1 cup/1 small tin mixed cooked beans
- 150g/1 cup feta cheese
- 2 large ripe tomatoes or 10 cherry tomatoes
- 1 large handful fresh basil
- 6 tablespoons olive oil
- Juice of ½ lemon
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- Fry the garlic and onion until soft. Add the uncooked giant couscous and stir. Add the smoked paprika and stir until the couscous is coated. Add the vegetable stock, bring to the boil and simmer for 10 minutes until just cooked.
- Dice the chargrilled pepper leaving the skin on, slice the black olives, chop the tomatoes (or half the cherry tomatoes) and drain the beans. Add to the couscous and mix well.
- Add the dressing and stir until mixed through.
- Chop the avocados into bite-sized pieces and add to the couscous salad just before serving. Crumble in the feta cheese and mix well. Top with extra torn basil leaves.
- Serve immediately.
- To make the dressing place everything in a screw-top jar and shake well until combined.
- If using cherry tomatoes these are also delicious slow-roasted in the oven on a very low temperature for one hour.
- Basil can be substituted for mint in this recipe.