There are some words that are just plain cool. You know, the ones that roll off your tongue and are fun to write in cursive. Ironically two pretty cool words found their way into this Couscous and Edamame Salad.
Couscous has been a part of mediterranean cooking for centuries. The tiny little grains make a light, but hearty addition to a meal. Edamame is in the soybean family and is a good source of protein and fiber, according to WHFoods. Together in this salad, they make a great combination of texture and flavor.
I love the chewy, salty, crunchy and chilled elements of ingredients in this salad. It would be great to take on a picnic or enjoy as a light lunch. If you’re looking to fill up even more you could add some chicken or tuna! I added beets for more color and flavor, but the salad tastes great either way.
Couscous and Edamame Summer Salad
- 1 box of cooked couscous (according to package directions)
- 1 1/2 cups cooked edamame
- 1 cup canned corn
- 1 15 oz. can garbanzo beans
- 2 green onions, chopped fine
- 1/4 cup dried cranberries
- 1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
- 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts*
- For Vinaigrette:
- 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons honey
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup olive oil
For the salad: Cook couscous according to package directions. Fluff and let cool. In a separate bowl add cooled couscous, edamame, corn, garbanzo beans, green onions, cranberries, feta and pine nuts.
For the vinaigrette: In a small bowl, combine the vinegar, honey, lemon, salt, and pepper. Whisk in the olive oil until smooth. Pour the vinaigrette over the couscous and toss to coat evenly.
*To toast the pine nuts, heat small skillet to medium heat. Add pine nuts and shimmy in pan until light golden brown. This happens quickly so don’t go anywhere!
Love food. Love self. Love life.
Now that you’re an expert on the background of the grain, couscous, let’s get cooking! Just like pasta, you can add almost any ingredient and spice, or none at all, to couscous and it will taste great.
How to Cook
Couscous can be made three ways. Keep in mind the basic ratio: For every 1 cup of couscous you’ll need 1 1/2 cup of liquid (water, broth, or stock).
- For the microwave: Purchase the microwave style of couscous, like the Near East brand, at your local grocery store and follow their directions.
- For the countertop method: Place couscous in a heat proof bowl and add proportionate amount of very hot/boiling water. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let sit for 5 minutes. Remove plastic wrap and fluff with fork.
- For the stove top method watch this video from Real Simple: How to Cook Couscous Video and Steps.
Depending on your time frame and expertise here are five couscous recipes for you to try. I included a level of 1-5 based on much time you will need to create this dish, 1 being the least amount. Prepare your couscous in whichever style is convenient (micro, counter or stove). Then add your seasoning and extra toppings. Enjoy!
- Curried Couscous | Level 1
- Quick Moroccan Vegetable Couscous | Level 2
- Sun-dried Tomato and Sausage Couscous | Level 3
- Shrimp and Pesto Couscous | Level 4
- Couscous and Feta-Stuffed Peppers | Level 5
Do you have a suggestion for couscous? Comment below with your ideas or favorite recipes!
- What Ingredient: Couscous
- Pronunciation: [koos-koos]
- Etymology: Algerian for “nourishment”
- Category: Semolina Grain
- Location in grocery store: Near rice and pasta.
Couscous is a staple dish in North Africa and the Middle-East that originates back to the 13th century. Best described as a mix between rice and pasta, couscous feels like large grains of sand and is the golden color of pasta noodles.
This grain can take on spicy seasoning or can be subtle with sweetness. Couscous dishes are served both cool or warm. Typically you will find the dish flavored by meat, seafood, vegetables, fruit, or nuts.
There are several traditional types of this grain: Israeli, Lebanese or Moroccan. Couscous offered at the grocery store is commonly the instant kind which, luckily for us, cooks very quickly.
Cooking the instant kind resembles making rice or oatmeal. The grains absorb boiling liquid (water, milk or a flavored stock) and fluff up in no time. This is a great option for college students looking for a filling, inexpensive, and simple dinner. At the store you can find instant and pre-seasoned couscous that can be eaten on its own or as a side dish to some chicken or veggies.
The traditional couscous is cooked in a couscousiere
, which is a two-pot contraction where a stew cooks in the bottom pot and the couscous is steamed in the top pot from the heat rising from the stew. No need to invest in one of these, though.
Now that you know a little background on the North African/Middle-Eastern grain, couscous, you are now prepared to make the dish for yourself. Later this week I’ll post a couple of recipe ideas for what you can do with couscous yourself!