Quinoa / Couscous Salad

One of the reasons I started this blog was to have a way to share my food ideas with friends.  I make stuff, and I tell people about it, but I don’t write it down.  Here is a favorite of mine – I was just telling a co-worker about it at lunch today and it reminded me that I should share it here.  It’s off season – to me this is more of a summer thing, but you might like it any time. 
I’ve made this salad with couscous for years, but a couple years ago a friend who I had shared this with had a gluten-free relative visiting and needed to make something gluten free, so she tried this recipe with quinoa.  It was great and I’ve made it that way several times since.  It’s really great with quinoa, maybe even better than couscous.  This is the kind of recipe I love – it’s easy, it’s versatile, and it’s one that evolves over the years and gets better with suggestions from friends. 
Quinoa/Couscous Salad:
  • Cooked Quinoa or Couscous – I personally prefer to cook it in broth, I think it gives a lot more flavor than just cooking in water.  I usually do chicken broth, but I think you could certainly do vegetable broth and it would be great too
  • Good olive oil
  • Fresh lemon juice
  • Fresh chopped parsley (I prefer Italian / flat leaf parsley)
  • Salt and pepper
  • Diced veggies – I usually do tomato and cucumber, but I’ve also used zucchini before and that’s good too.  I’ve done a bit of diced onion (but just a little, you don’t want too much raw onion in a salad).
Cook the quinoa or couscous in broth, let it cool for a bit and fluff it up, then toss with the olive oil, lemon juice and salt & pepper.  I prefer to do this step while the quinoa or couscous is still a little warm – I think it absorbs the flavor a little better this way.  It takes a lot of olive oil and lemon juice and salt – just keep adding and tasting until it tastes good.  Then let all that totally cool before adding any of the veggies, because you want those to stay fresh and crunchy.  Add the chopped parsley and veggies, mix well, season a bit more to taste.  So easy and so good!  It’s fresh and light, easy to make in large quantities for a party – this is my usual go-to for summer events.  It keeps really well and gets even better if it sits for a day (although if you were going to intentionally make it ahead I would hold off on adding the tomatoes and cucumbers so they don’t get soggy).  Quantities can really vary – make a lot or a little, and just keep adding stuff until you like the way it tastes. 
They key to the flavor is really all about using a lot of good, flavorful olive oil and a lot of fresh lemon juice.  You can experiment with different veggies.  If you put in a ton of parsley it makes it similar to a taboulleh type of flavor, or add in feta and it’s got a greek salad flavor.   Also a great way to use leftover cooked quinoa or couscous.   

Lisa Marsh

Mom to two sets of twins.

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