Mediterranean Pearl Couscous Salad
An easy to make Mediterranean pearl couscous salad. Tossed in a delicious tomato garlic sauce, crumbled feta, and Kalamata olives.This is the perfect side salad to serve with fish or chicken!
Do you ever crave something without knowing what it is you’re craving? I do. A lot. Sometimes I can imagine the taste. Without knowing exactly what it is I wanna eat. Or how to make it. This time it was something with tomatoes, crumbled feta cheese, garlic, and a hint of lemon juice.
And that is how this Mediterranean Pearl Couscous Salad was born.
I’ve made it twice in the last two days, you guys! Once for bringing life to the idea and making sure it tasted just the way I imagined it. And again because I just didn’t get enough the first time! I can still taste that luxurious garlic and tomato creaminess. I’m telling you, you’re going to be making this recipe a lot this summer.
I love the sweet-tartness of cherry tomato. And when combined with sweet basil and robust garlic, I am one happy camper! I personally love this recipe with 5 cloves of garlic. My breath smells lovely afterward (ahem) not really. You can definitely cut it back to about 3, but i’m gonna say don’t knock it till you try it!
I used 3 types of tomatoes for this recipe. You don’t have to. I find that combining the 3 types creates a really unique flavor. I used 1 cluster tomato, 1 Roma, and 10.5 oz (1 box) of cherry tomatoes. The cherry tomatoes provide a slightly tart flavor. I wanted to keep those whole for the beautiful color and flavor they provide. The cluster and Roma tomatoes were turned into the sauce. They have a lower acidity which provided the perfect flavor for it.
Let’s start. Cut the larger tomatoes into quarters and cherry tomatoes into halves. Place the tomatoes on a baking sheet with cut side down. Along with the garlic cloves, bake at 250 degrees F for 1 hour. Remove from the oven and let cool completely.
While the tomatoes are baking, cook your pearl couscous (aka Israeli couscous). Place 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a 2 quart sauce pan. Sautee the couscous for 5 minutes. Add 1 and 3/4 of chicken or vegetable stock and lower the heat. Let cook for 12 minutes, covered. Or until liquid is absorbed. Spread the pearl couscous on a baking sheet. Let it cool for 15 minutes.
While the Israeli couscous is cooling, make your sauce for the salad. In a blender, combine the Roma tomato, cluster tomato, garlic cloves, a couple tablespoons of water, a couple tablespoons of lemon juice, lemon zest, olive oil, smoked paprika, salt, and pepper. Blend until smooth.
In a large bowl, toss the pearl couscous with the cherry tomatoes, scallions, kalamata olives, crumbled feta, parsley, and basil. Drizzle the prepared sauce over the couscous mixture. Let stand for 5 minutes. Any extra sauce will get sucked up by the couscous. Adjust salt and pepper to taste.
I know i’m calling it a salad. But there’s no spinach, lettuce, carrots or any of the usual salad components. It’s perfect to serve for lunch or dinner by itself, or along with a protein. Chicken or fish would go great.
And that sauce, I could sip that sauce by the spoonful!
I live for food like this.
- 1 cluster (vine) tomato, quartered
- 1 roma tomato, quartered
- 10.5 oz (1 box) cherry tomatoes, halved
- 5 whole garlic cloves, (use 3 - 4 if you aren't a big fan)
- 1 and 1/2 cups (8 oz) pearl couscous (Israeli couscous)
- 1 and 3/4 cup hot chicken/vegetable broth (or water)
- 1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon olive oil, divided
- 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/3 cup kalamata olives
- 3 scallions, chopped (green part only)
- 1/4 cup parsley, chopped
- 1/4 cup basil, chopped
- 1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
- Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat oven to 250 degrees F.
Arrange all the tomatoes (cluster, roma, and cherry) cut sides down, in a baking sheet. Add garlic to pan and roast until tomatoes are slightly shriveled around edges, 1 hour. Cool in pan for 15 minutes when done.
- While the tomatoes are baking, heat the chicken/vegetable stock in the microwave for a few minutes or until steam starts to release (mine took 3 minutes). Alternately, you could warm the stock in a saucepan until is starts to simmer. Place 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a 2-quart saucepan on medium heat and sauté the pearl (Israeli) couscous for 5 minutes. Add the stock to the couscous mixture. Lower the heat to medium-low and cook covered for 12 minutes or until the liquid is absorbed. When couscous is cooked, spread on a baking sheet and allow to cool at least 15 minutes.
- In a blender, combine the baked Roma tomato, cluster tomato, garlic cloves, 1/4 cup olive oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, water, salt, pepper, and smoked paprika. Blend until smooth.
- In a large bowl, combine the cherry tomatoes, pearl couscous, kalamata olives, parsley, basil, and feta cheese. Drizzle in the garlic tomato sauce and stir to combine. Let stand 5 minutes, all the dressing will get absorbed by couscous.
- Roasted tomatoes, dressing, and couscous can be made 1 day ahead and kept separately, covered in an airtight container and chilled. Bring all compnonents to room temperature before proceeding.