A 12 minute, no cook, giant Couscous Salad with sun dried tomato, feta, rocket / arugula, herbs and the added nutty tastiness of chickpeas. My shortcut-flavour tip is to use the oil from the sun dried tomato jar as the dressing – free flavour!
I’m told that half the housewives on the lower North Shore of Sydney have been waiting impatiently for this Couscous Salad for weeks, ever since I gave a giant tub of it to Dozer’s boarder which was then distributed to fellow dog owner’s at her local dog park.
OK, so I might be exaggerating ever so slightly.
It might not be quite as many as half the housewives on the lower North Shore. It just feels that way because I’ve been asked so many times – have you published the couscous yet??? So much so that I ended up sending an abbreviated form of this recipe by text message to Dozer’s boarder to distribute on an as-requested basis!
This is a 12 minute meal. It’s also a no cook meal. Which means no matter how hot, how tired and how hangry you are (no typo there), or even if you’ve been cooking non stop all day since 7 am, up to your elbows in batter and pasta sauces (🙋🏻♀️), you can still muster up the energy for a seriously tasty bowl of deliciousness that requires minimal effort.
Of course, this is perfect to serve as a side (oooh, imagine this piled high with crazy tender Lamb Shawarma!!) but because it’s got pops of quite intense flavour thanks to the sun dried tomato and feta, it’s certainly worthy of being a meal.
Speaking of sun dried tomato – this is your secret weapon for this Couscous Salad. Be sure to get the strips (to save yourself slippery oily chopping, yep, been there, done that) and be absolutely sure to get it in oil, not the dry vac packed version, because all that oil is infused with tasty sun dried tomato flavour and that’s what I use to dress the salad.
There is something very satisfying about tipping the entire jar of sun dried tomatoes, oil and all, over the salad. Draining oil is messy business!
I add chickpeas for texture and also nuttiness which means I don’t feel the need to throw in a handful of nuts, though that certainly wouldn’t hurt. You’ll also be surprised how much rocket (arugula) is in this. It looks like a vast volume until you hack away at it – I like to chop it very roughly so it tosses through better.
It also means you can eat this with a spoon. In a bowl. On the couch. Never having to take your eyes off the TV as you scoop up mouthful after mouthful, binge watching Real Housewives, The Kardashians, Project Runway or other such highly intellectual show. Every time they happen to be on when I turn the TV on, it’s like a train wreck and I can’t look away. And I can feel my brain cells popping with every passing minute… 🤣 – Nagi x
A 12 minute, no cook, giant Couscous Salad with sun dried tomato, feta, rocket / arugula, herbs and the added nutty tastiness of chickpeas. My shortcut-flavour tip is to use the oil from the sun dried tomato jar as the dressing - free flavour! The flavour pops from the sun dried tomato and feta are quite intense, so this truly is satisfying to have as a meal, or as a substantial side. This makes quite a lot - serves 5 as a main, or 8 - 10 as a side. Keeps very well. Recipe VIDEO below.
- 1 1/4 cups dried couscous (Note 1)
- 1 1/4 cups / 315 ml boiled water
- 1 tsp vegetable stock powder (or 1 cube crumbled) (Note 2)
- 1 garlic clove , minced
- 1 tsp coriander powder (or cumin - I interchange)
- 400 g / 14 oz chickpeas (1 can) , drained
- 1/2 cup coriander , finely chopped
- 1/2 cup parsley , finely chopped (or mint)
- 1 red onion , chopped
- 220 g / 7 oz jar sun dried tomato strips in OIL (Note 3)
- 120 g / 4 oz rocket / arugula lettuce , chopped into 5 cm / 2" pieces
- Zest of 1 large lemon
- 5 tbsp fresh lemon juice (2 large lemons)
- 1/2 tsp coarsely ground black pepper
- 60 g / 2 oz feta , crumbled
- Salt and pepper , to taste
Place chickpeas, couscous, vegetable stock powder, coriander and garlic in a large bowl. Pour over hot water, shake to level out couscous (chickpeas should mostly settle on top). Cover with plate or cling wrap, set aside for 5 minutes.
Fluff couscous with fork. Cool a bit.
Add coriander, parsley, onion, sun dried tomatoes (including all oil), rocket, lemon juice and black pepper. Sprinkle zest across surface. Toss well to combine.
Adjust salt and pepper to taste.
Transfer to serving bowl, sprinkle with feta. Serve.
1. Couscous are tiny grains the size of cracked pepper. They are made from wheat - it's essential teeny pasta. Because it's so small, you just need to soak it. You can substitute with quinoa, barley or other grains - cook as required for those grains.
If you want to make this with Israeli or Pearl Couscous which are larger beads of couscous, cook per the packet (it needs to be boiled) then proceed wth the recipe but skip the soaking in boiled water.
2. Using stock powder or a crumbled bouillon cube goes a long way to add flavour to your couscous. Stock powder is basically bouillon cubes in powder form. 1 tsp = 1 cube. I like to use vegetable but chicken is also great. I use Vegeta. (PS Great to have on hand - of recipe calls for broth, just dissolve in hot water, 1 - 1 1/2 tsp per cup. Much more economical than buying liquid broth).
The alternative is to use boiled vegetable or chicken broth instead of water. Salt is a last resort - if you use salt, I would add 1/2 tsp cumin powder, 1/4 tsp each onion and garlic powder which will add more layers of flavour.
3. This recipe uses the oil in the sun dried tomato jar as the dressing. If you only have the sun dried tomatoes without oil, just drizzle olive oil over the salad - I think you'll need about 1/3 cup (80ml), maybe a bit more. There's far less than this in a jar of sun dried tomatoes but because the tomatoes themselves are soaked in the oil, it feels like there's more!
4. 12 MINUTE COUSCOUS SALAD goes down like this: Get the couscous soaking, then start on the chopping. Because there's no separate dressing to make and assuming reasonable chopping skills, I bet you can get this on the table in 12 minutes!
5. STORAGE / MAKE AHEAD: Even dressed, this keeps well for 2 days or so because it's not leafy or weighed down with an oily dressing. To make ahead fresh, just place all the ingredients in a bowl except the sun dried tomato and lemon juice. Then add them just before serving and toss!
6. Nutrition per serving, assuming 10 servings.
WATCH HOW TO MAKE IT
LIFE OF DOZER
When I leave and when I come home: