Spring Couscous Salad with Basil Vinaigrette
A spring couscous salad that’s light and refreshing! Loaded with feta cheese, fresh parsley, blanched peas, and chopped walnuts and drizzled with the most delicious homemade basil vinaigrette! Serve it as a side salad or the main course!
And more specifically a fresh spring couscous salad that’s simple to make and loaded with so many (soo soo many) delicious flavors that come together to make one of the most refreshing side salads i’ve ever tasted.
Like most of the salads you see on the blog, this one also happens to have lots of toppings and um.. zero leafy greens like spinach, romaine, or iceberg lettuce. Is it quickly becoming obvious that i’m more about salads that have real, 100% food thats filling and nutritious rather than the leafy little nothings that make you go hungry in under 2.5 seconds? Am I the only person that gets up semi-hungry (read: hangry) from a table when leafy greens are the biggest part of a salad?
Color. Texture. Crunch. Sweet. Savory. <– It’s a tall order but this salad has all of that. All stuffed into one dynamite salad recipe.
It’s really just one big goodness overload with this spring couscous salad.
The crunch from the chopped walnuts. The saltiness/richness from feta cheese. The springtime goodness of flash blanched peas, and nuttiness from couscous all tossed together in the most refreshing fresh basil vinaigrette.
Kids. I didn’t even know this salad was missing from my life until just now. I mean, how perfect is this salad to serve for spring suppers? Grilled chicken + spring couscous salad is really all you need. I mean you have carbs from the couscous and veggies and nuts and cheese (which should really be an essential food group all on it’s own). And really can anyone go wrong with a combination like this? Well! That’s a no, unless you don’t like peas. WHOMP WHOMP. But fear not. Thinly diced/sliced asparagus can be a quick and easy replacement for the peas if you’ve got any finicky eaters in the family.
I don’t know about you, but when I hear things like ‘spring couscous salad’ my mind does this trick where I automatically start imagining/tasting this fresh, flavorful salad that’s anything but ordinary.
Let’s talk about that basil vinaigrette dressing situation thingamajigger. It’s all real 100% food like olive oil, white wine vinegar, fresh basil leaves, a shallot, honey, and salt and pepper. Mostly ingredients we’ve all got at home and you already know that the slightly sweet flavors from the basil vinaigrette combined the salty feta cheese are a dynamite combination. Now pair that with nuttiness of couscous and the freshness of parsley and peas. The walnuts add a nice crunchy element to the whole thing and it’s all of your favorite food flavors coming together in one salad. That, ladies and gentlemen is why I love my job. Always finding new ways to excite your mouth one flavorful bite at a time.
Have you ever made couscous at home before? If not, it’s most likely the easiest thing to cook — EVER. It’s a simple 1:1 ratio. 1 part cooking liquid to 1 part dry couscous. All you need to do is bring the cooking liquid to boil, add the dry couscous, stir, turn off the heat and cover and let sit for about 10 minutes. When the couscous has soaked up all the liquid, just fluff it with a fork. That’s it! You can use chicken broth/vegetable broth or water. Is that not one of the simplest things you’ll ever make? It’s one of my favorite go-to weeknight staples.
It’s your call on how you want to serve this spring couscous salad.
I prefer to serve it a little cooler. I’m not a huge fan of warm salads so I like to mix the salad ingredients and the dressing ingredients separately and let them cool and toss just before i’m ready to serve. If you’re a fan of warm salads, warm couscous tossed with the rest of the ingredients and room temperature dressing might be an option for you. But really, regardless of which way you choose to go, this pea salad is a keeper.
All I know is, i’m utterly in love with the way fresh peas and basil vinaigrette taste together. Sure, you can say i’m totally having a moment with my food binges again. And yeah, I NEED you to make this salad too.
- ½ cup uncooked couscous (not pearl couscous)
- ½ cup water or chicken broth
- 16 ounces (about 3 cups) frozen peas
- ½ cup chopped parsley
- ½ cup crumbled feta cheese
- ½ cup chopped walnuts or pecans
- 1 cup packed basil leaves
- ½ cup olive oil
- 1 shallot, cut in half
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
- 1 pinch red pepper flakes
- salt and pepper
- COUSCOUS SALAD: In a medium saucepan, bring the cooking liquid to boil. Remove the saucepan from the heat, stir in the couscous, cover and let sit for 10 minutes. Fluff with fork.
- While the couscous is cooking, heat a large pot of water to boil. In a medium bowl, create an ice bath with lots of ice and water, set aside. Add the frozen peas to the boiling water and let blanch for 1-2 minutes or until the peas turn bright green and are warmed all the way through. Drain in a colander, and immediately drop the peas into the ice water bath so they stop cooking. Drain from ice water before adding to salad.
- In a serving bowl, combine the fluffed couscous, peas, parsley, feta, and walnuts.
- BASIL VINAIGRETTE: Combine the ingredients for the basil vinaigrette in a blender, using a big pinch of salt and pepper. Blend until the dressing is smooth. Taste and adjust the salt and pepper to taste. You can also add additional honey if you want your dressing to be sweet, the 1 tablespoon was enough for us.
- ASSEMBLY: If you want to serve this salad warm, dress immediately with the desired amount of dressing and serve. If you want to serve this salad cold, I suggest refrigerating the dressing and the salad ingredients separately for at least 1-2 hours before serving. Toss half the dressing in with the salad ingredients and adjust with additional dressing, salt, and pepper to taste.
IS THIS A GOOD CHOICE FOR YOU?
*Please note: the nutritional facts calculated are an estimate based on the ingredients i’ve used. If you’d like a more accurate count, please calculate them using the ingredients/brands you’ve used to prepare the recipe. The nutritional facts for this spring couscous salad are for ⅛th of the salad with all of the dressing mixed in.