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Couscous Salad #FrenchFridayswithDorie

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This vibrant, flavorful Couscous Salad with a Moroccan influence was a nice change of pace from the typical macaroni salad. France was influenced by numerous nearby cultures, so it’s no surprise that Dorie Greenspan put this pasta salad in her French focused cookbook.

Couscous Salad - Dorie Greenspan's delicious recipe for a Moroccan inspired dish

A Moroccan Inspired Couscous Salad

I fell for Israeli couscous with my first bite. Pasta pearls provided a chewy bite unlike its grainier cousin called for in this recipe. It was difficult product to locate in Indianapolis till Trader Joe’s arrived on the scene.

Now that Israeli couscous can be found in numerous spots, I don’t have to rely on Amazon for my stash. When I saw this couscous salad was selected as one of our August dishes for French Fridays with Dorie, I immediately knew I’d be making at least one substitution. Then when I spied the the raisins while scanning the recipe, I mentally swapped them out for dried cherries. It was then time to start cooking!

Couscous Salad - Dorie Greenspan's delicious recipe for a Moroccan inspired dish

A Flavor Extravaganza!

Dorie took us from France to North Africa for today’s recipe. There is a long list of spices and ingredients, but the results are worth the extra measuring and chopping. The couscous was cooked in chicken broth with a healthy dose of ground ginger, garlic, turmeric, cinnamon and cumin. Once cooked,the dried cherries were added and the pasta pearls were fluffed with a fork.

Next, I tossed in chopped carrots, bell pepper, sugar snap peas, my watermelon cucumbers (aren’t they cute?), and garbanzo beans. Lemon peel, lemon juice and olive oil provided the simple dressing. I forgot to add the almonds, but another crunchy element would have been lovely. Should I start naming the ingredients in this salad that the picky husband won’t touch?

I’ll leave it to your imagination…but, needless to say, there was an abundance. As usual, I was happy not to share. Even the boys, who both were home for a couple dinners this week, weren’t tempted by this yellow hued bowl of beauty!

Couscous Salad - Dorie Greenspan's delicious recipe for a Moroccan inspired dish

Nutritional Notes:

Did you all know that turmeric is a natural anti-inflammatory? I take it in capsule form to help a little arthritic discomfort in my fingers. But, like other non-steroidal anti-inflammatories, it can be hard on your GI track so take on a full stomach.

Cherries are also known to help with inflammation and are a good source of melatonin. So if you can’t sleep, drink a glass of cherry juice before bed to induce drowsiness. Or have a big bowl of this marvelous couscous salad!

Dorie’s delightful recipe can be viewed and printed on Epicurious.

French Fridays with Dorie
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23 comments on “Couscous Salad #FrenchFridayswithDorie”

  1. Liz, yo make me travel with this recipe, looks so nice !

  2. It looks delicious and sounds so flavorful! Looks really great 🙂

  3. I never saw those cukes before, I was wondering what they were! Looks like a very interesting salad:@)

  4. Kawaiii watermelon cucumbers! And thanks for your nutritional notes!

  5. This looks good with the Israeli couscous – try it next time with regular for a completely different (but just as delicious) dish!

  6. Watermelon cucumbers? That’s a new one for me. They certainly are cute, it was the first thing I noticed in your picture. And I’m a big fan of Israeli couscous too. One that I really like is not from Isreal but from Italy and is called Fregula. They toast the little pasta balls and it gives a great nutty taste.

  7. Those cucumbers 🙂

    I went with the Israeli couscous as well – I liked the texture of it with all the other items.

  8. I love couscous salad, those cucumbers are the cutest!

  9. Thanks for updatng me on the benefits of turmeric. I remembered that it was a “good” spice and nutritional also and was happy when a friend gave me a large sack of it from Penzey’s. I am a little surprised your boys didn’t like this. Although I never will know, the kids at the front desk told me it was lunch for them all so I assumed the guys liked it also. I substituted tart dried cherries in my salad and liked that sweet taste. Although there were a lot of ingredients, I didn’t think it took long to throw together. Your photo is lovely.

  10. I’ve never seen those cucumbers before, they’re adorable! Love couscous and it sounds so flavorful with all those warm spices 🙂

  11. Great way to use Israeli couscous.. I have some in my pantry to use up. 🙂

  12. I love the look of the Israeli couscous too, and those little watermelon cucumbers are adorable,
    great job, Liz.
    On your nutritional note, does “cherry” brandy work for sleeping too?

  13. Yay for Trader Joe’s. Bravo to Liz for a scrumptious and nutritious couscous! (Wonderful idea to substitute cherries for raisins – another good find from TJ’s,) P.s. The husband and I are big fans of turmeric, too =)

  14. I really got a kick out of all tweaked ingredients. Love the idea of the cherries, I tend to like them instead of raisins but the lightbulb never went off for me on that one. I am not familiar with Israeli couscous but look forward to hitting up my local TJoes to try it out. And those little cucumbers are just adorable ! I have seen or heard of them but they look amazing. Will need to see if I can get the gourmet items you are sourcing back here in little old Philly 🙂 More for you indeed – enjoy !

  15. I’d love to get my hands on some watermelon cucumbers! I’d really like to try growing them in the garden, too. Your salad looks beautiful and the big grains of Israeli couscous take on the colour of the spices so well. I served mine with dried cherries, too, along with toasted almonds. (The cherries were really juicy, so I didn’t throw them in with the quinoa.) And I have to share my salad this time – it was Kevin-approved!

  16. this looks amazing–so good and healthy. and yes, i was wondering what the cucumbers were. they are adorable. did you grow them?

  17. Liz, I love your little watermelon cukes! Something new to try! Glad you enjoyed the couscous salad…I think if I were to cut some of the spices I might enjoy it more. I found the flavor just a bit too intense!

  18. Those watermelon cukes are adorable. I was guessing they were green cherry tomatoes until you revealed what they were. I’ve never seen them before but will keep a look out. Howard actually ate this, but I had to make it fruitless. I used olives instead. I’m still not sure who would win the “picky husband” contest, Howard or Bill.

  19. Watermelon cukes! They look so pretty in your salad. I haven’t seen those around here. I also love Israeli couscous! Didn’t we have it in a Dorie recipe last year? I’ve used it several times since then. The funny thing is my husband is not a picky eater. Not at ALL. But he didn’t really like this one. The things he will decide not to like really surprises me…even after 43 years of marriage!

  20. Great substitutions, gave me some good ideas for next time. I just learned about watermelon cucumbers on the Food Network. I too will have to look out for these new green vegetables.

  21. I like your sub-ins, and your finished salad looks so vibrant. The watermelon cukes are very unusual!

  22. Great adaptations – this one as a real winner in my book! Sous Chef even liked it!

  23. Even the boys wouldn’t eat this? That surprises me. I love Israeli couscous. I find it so much more interesting.

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