Spring Mediterranean Couscous Salad with Sun-dried Tomato Vinaigrette
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A bright and fresh spring mediterranean couscous salad loaded with fresh arugula, marinated artichokes, chopped walnuts, kalamata olives and topped with a homemade sun-dried tomato vinaigrette. It’s simple enough for weeknights and bagged lunches yet fancy enough for guests!
Today’s post is sponsored by California Walnuts! We’re chopping up the walnuts and tossing them into make this healthy, flavorful mediterranean couscous salad.
Spring, spring, springgg.
Welcome to the first day of spring! Today we’re celebrating with a bowl of mediterranean couscous salad and topping it with an ultra fresh and bright sun-dried tomato vinaigrette. If this doesn’t bring a little warmth into your day, I don’t know what will. To me the first day of spring means it’s officially acceptable to start bombarding you with flavorful salads. My kinda salad is one that has all the toppings and less of the leafy greens. A power packed, flavorful little number.
When it comes to salads, I have one motto. More stuff, less leaves. That means gimme the couscous, nuts, chopped veggies, olives, cheese (in fact, double it), and all the other millions of things that make salads so great. And go a little easy on the greens, wouldja? Romaine, spinach, shaved brussels sprouts are all great but you know what, they leave you hungry within the hour. So the solution? Less of the leafy little nothings and more of the filling stuff.
I’m going to be 100% honest with you, this mediterranean couscous salad is the kind of thing I make when my refrigerator is close to exploding with a million little jars of ingredients, greens that are about to wilt, and leftover grains like quinoa or couscous from last nights dinner. <– and while i’m being honest, let me also confess that this happens on the regular.
It’s very possible that this salad is quickly become my go to for all the benefits it provides. How it allows me to combine all the tablespoon capers and ¼ cup of olives leftover from ‘x’ dish that would otherwise sit there until I got around to buying more to make ‘x’ dish again. This salad is totally customizable to what you’ve got on hand. It’s taking this concept of a couscous salad with sun-dried vinaigrette and using the capers// kalamata olives// kale// arugula // feta// goat cheese// parmesan// walnuts// romaine// heirloom tomatoes // diced red onion // persian cucs// bell peppers // quinoa// couscous//wild rice and the other thousands of ingredient possibilites that would pair well with this salad and tossing it all in to make something you can enjoy while emptying out the refrigerator to make space for more important things like homemade cupcakes. I kid.
I meant kale. More kale.
A spring inspired salad means lots of brightness and flavor. So naturally, the dressing is bright and tangy.
Let’s talk about the homemade sun-dried tomato vinaigrette for this salad. It’s sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil, white vine vinegar, a little honey, minced garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper. One other thing I like to add into this dressing – a couple tablespoons of the oil that the tomatoes are packed in. That oil has all that tomatoey goodness infused in it so adding just a couple tablespoons of it gives this dressing a nice little boost or tomato goodness. Bright, juicy tomato dressing that’s mellowed out with a little honey. My mouth waters at the though.
If you’ve never made couscous before, let me assure you it’s quite possibly the easiest thing you’ll ever do. Couscous requires a simple 1:1 ratio of cooking liquid to dry couscous. All you need to do is bring the cooking liquid, like broth or water to a boil, add the dry couscous, stir, turn off the heat and cover. Let it sit for about 10 minute then just fluff with a fork. Then just let it cool before tossing it with all the other ingredients for this mediterranean couscous salad.
You can serve this salad hot or cold. I like it somewhere in the middle at room temperature. Warm salads are not my thing, but if you’re a fan, warm the couscous or make it fresh right before serving.
I served this salad at a family dinner and it was a hit all around. With all those mediterranean tangy flavors, nutty walnuts, and bright fresh greens i’m quite certain it’ll be a hit with your bunch too!
Don’t you just love the fact that it leaves your refrigerator sparkling clean too? I think i’ll make this a routine end-of-the-week affair.
Sun-dried Tomato Vinaigrette:
- ½ cup sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil (plus 2 tbsp oil)
- ⅓ cup olive oil
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
- salt and pepper
- 2 cups cooked couscous (or quinoa or wild rice)
- ½ cup California Walnuts, roughly chopped
- ½ cup crumbled feta cheese
- 1 ¼ cup arugula, roughly chopped (or kale or baby spinach)
- ¼ cup chopped kalamata olives
- ½ cup marinated artichokes
- 2 tablespoons capers
- Vinaigrette: Combine the ingredients for the vinaigrette in a blender or food processor with a big pinch of salt and pepper. Blend until the dressing is completely smooth. Taste and adjust the salt and pepper to preference. You can also add additional honey if you want your dressing to be less tangy, the 1 tablespoon was enough for us.
- Assembly: Combine all the ingredients for the salad, dress immediately and serve. If you want to serve this salad cold, I suggest refrigerating the dressing and the salad ingredients separately until ready to serve. Toss the dressing with the salad ingredient and adjust salt and pepper to taste right before serving.
- There are a ton of substitutions you can use for this salad! Swap out the greens for baby spinach, chopped kale, microgreens, or shaved brussels sprouts. Swap the kalamata olives for green or black. Leave out the artichokes and use chopped cucumbers, tomatoes, green bell peppers, or red onions. <-- really, use what you have! It's a clean the fridge kinda salad!
Thank you to our friends over at California Walnuts for sponsoring this post! We truly love partnering with companies that promote wholesome, quality ingredients!
Last thing! Give this salad your personal spin – use what you’ve got in the fridge and post a picture on Instagram/Facebook/Twitter – tag me and use the hashtag #Whatsinyourfridge. I want to see all the ways you’ll make this mediterranean couscous salad your own!
IS THIS A GOOD CHOICE FOR YOU?
1/8th of the recipe with recipe as written.
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