Couscous Salad

Couscous is one of those ingredients that I have always loved.  To tell you the truth I have discovered the pre-cooked version only in recent years.  My mom is from Trapani, a city in western Sicily that is renowned for the most delicious fish couscous on the planet.  I have grown up eating (and enjoying) only that and to me THAT was the only couscous.  Fish couscous cannot be made with pre-cooked couscous, which is a shame as it is so hard to find the coarse semolina you need to prepare it!  I will share the fish couscous recipe with you as soon as I can find some.  This is the recipe of my favourite couscous salad, for which pre-cooked couscous works perfectly fine.  It is a delicious side for barbecued or roasted meats (I love it with Lamb Cutlets) or a perfect main for a lunch or a picnic.  I usually make a little extra and eat it over 2 or 3 days.  The longer you keep it in the fridge, the better it tastes as the flavours of the different ingredients will permeate the couscous over time.  Enjoy at room temperature.
Sharing this recipe with Full Plate Thursday by Miz Helen and It’s a Keeper Thursday by Christina.



Ingredients for 6-8 persons:
500 gms couscous
2 small red capsicums (or 1 big capsicum)
1 zucchini
1 medium eggplant
6 semi dried tomatoes, chopped
1/4 preserved lemon (skin only), very thinly chopped (optional)
2 lemons, juice
Extra virgin olive oil (same quantity as the lemon juice)
2 tbsp honey
Salt to taste

Take the capsicums, rub them with a little extra virgin olive oil and put them in an oven proof dish lined with baking paper.

Bake them in a preheated fan forced oven at 180°C for 30 minutes or until cooked through.  When soft, take them out of the oven and cover them with foil.  This will create steam and it will make it easier to peel the skin.

When they have cooled down enough so that it is safe to touch them (but they cannot be cold or it will be harder to remove the skin), peel them and remove the tops and seeds.

Cut the capsicums in small strips and put them in a little bowl with the cooking juices.  Keep aside.

In the meantime, wash the eggplant and zucchini and cut them in 3×3 cm cubes.

Put the cubed eggplant in a bowl with cold salty water and let them rest for 30 minutes.  This will make them less bitter.

In the meantime, deep fry the zucchini in hot vegetable oil, put them in a bowl lined with absorbent kitchen paper and keep them aside.

Now, dry and fry the eggplant in the same oil where you have fried the zucchini.  Put them in a bowl lined with absorbent kitchen paper and keep them aside.

Chop the semi dried tomatoes and the preserved lemon and keep aside.

Preserved Lemon

Preserved Lemon

Preserved Lemon

Preserved Lemon

To prepare the vinaigrette, mix equal parts of lemon juice and extra virgin olive oil, add salt & pepper and dissolve 2 tbsp of honey in the mixture by whisking it through.

In the meantime, prepare the couscous by following the instructions on the box.

When ready, let it cool down for 5 minutes.  Now put all the prepared vegetables in a big bowl, add the couscous and vinaigrette and mix well.

Let it stand for at least 2 hours before eating it.

Couscous Salad

Decorate with basil leaves and serve at room temperature.

Couscous Salad

Couscous Salad

Couscous Salad


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  1. says

    Manu. After reading your post and seeing all the amazing photos, step by step, I am so hungry. It’s like you’ve made it for me and taken the plate away. 😉
    Seriously, I also love couscous and love your recipe for the salad. Also adore how you can make plenty and keep eating it and it gets better the next time with the flavours in there!

  2. says

    Hi Manu! When there is a salad that involves roasted bell peppers… I get real big craving for the salad. It’s so weird because I get heartburn from bell peppers (blame genetics) and it doesn’t make sense… Your couscous salad looks amazing. I can eat that whole plate. 😉

  3. says

    Nice! Couscous is one of my favorite ingredients and I prepare a salad almost the same way just add tons of herbs! And please please please post the fish couscous recipe soon! I’ve tried fish couscous in one trattoria in Trapani and it was so good that, I’m even thinking of going this year to the couscous fest in San Vito Lo Capo in September.

    • says

      Ohhh I used to spend my summer holidays in San Vito, every year! My parents still do. I have never been to the couscous fest because it is in September and I was back in school by then, but I have been told that it is quite nice! I LOVE fish couscous!!! I actually have a craving for it… so as soon as I find the right “semola” flour to make it from scratch, I’ll post the recipe!!! :-)

  4. says

    Manu! This salad is full of such wonderful ingredients…I’m just yearning for a plateful for myself! Wonderful recipe :)

  5. says

    This recipe looks so delicious. Love me some roasted pepper and that zucchini looks outstanding. I’ve actually never cooked with couscous but its on my list of things to do :) Thanks for sharing!

  6. says

    those capsicums look so fresh! i can’t seem to get fresh ones these days… sighs…
    i make something similar to your dish but with rice. i think i would like the change and use couscous next time.
    btw, i really like appreciate your step by step instructions :)

  7. says

    My husband has had a few bad couscous experiences (nasty soggy stuff made with water and little else). Manu, I think lovely salad might just persuade him that it can be utterly delicious.

  8. says

    I’m with you Manu! I HEART couscous… it’s the perfect side dish and is so versatile! Your couscous salad is RIGHT up my alley! 😀

  9. says

    I recently got introduced to couscous and I so enjoyed the taste. It’s very much like semolina and we call it ‘sooji’ in hindi language. In fact i found the taste .. a combination of semolina and pasta.. is that weird ? 😀
    All in all I loved it and this salad sure does look divine and with some grilled chicken or pork it will go perfect !

  10. says

    I just love reading your blog because it is all so familiar. My mother in law makes cous cous di pesce too and alway has probems finding the right semolina. It is sooo good. It as also funny how much publicity the festival of S. Vito Lo Capo has gotten in recent years and how many more people know about this unique cous cous today. I remember that when I met my husband it was a totally new recipe to me. I love cous cous all year round but in the summer we eat it all the time in salads.

  11. says

    You Couscous Salad looks delicious. I just love all the color and favlors that would make this a great salad. Your photo’s are great! Thank you so much for sharing with Full Plate Thursday and hope to see you next week!


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