Couscous and summery tabouleh (couscous salad)

Joined Oct 2, 2010
I like to make this side-dish in summer and serve it cold or luke-warm. It's a couscous salad or "tabouleh" (taboulé), often also made with bulghur. Perfect on BBQ parties! Make it a day in advance and, it will taste even better... You do need some cutting skills. Use your imagination for other ingredients, there are no rules. Couscous comes in many variations. I use Maroccan medium size couscous like this;

First make the couscous. I made this with 3 cups of couscous. You can steam it 3 times in a row in the traditionall way, but the following method goes as well and is much faster.

Per person (please, do measure with a cup); put 1 cup of water + 10% more (1,1 cup, no more) in a pot, salt slightly and put to a boil. Take from the fire and sprinkle in 1 cup of couscous. Do not stir, shake the pan until it's all submerged. Cover with a lid. No more heating!!! Leave it untouched like that for at least 20-30 minutes. Then transfer to a large overtray. It looks like that;


Now break off chunks and rub in your hands as if you were washing your hand, until all grains separate; this goes very easy. Time to show some cutting hocus pocus. When you're able to cut in very tiny bits, you do not need to cook the ingredients. Otherwise, simply soften all the following additions in a pan on medium heat in a little olive oil.

On the leftside in the picture below are the fresh ingredients;

Peel red, yellow and green bell pepper with a thin peeler; most people don't digest the peel and get stomach problems from it! Cut in strips, then into your smallest brunoise. Same for a shallot or onion. I use powdered garlic to not overpower the dish. Also chop parcely and/or fresh koriander (cilantro). I never use cilantro when serving to people I don't know. Many really hate cilantro but noone hates parcely! There's also some lemon zeste cut finely.

On the rightside of the picture below are the spices; from top to bottom; sumak, side by side are a pinch of chilli flakes and a couscous mixture, then ras-al-hanut.



Dig in with your hands and mix well. Add juice of 1/2 lemon and mix again. After that, sprinkle a generous amount of olive oil over all of this and mix again lighthandedly. You're done. Cover with clingfilm and let it sit like that for at least a few hours. This dish is even better the day after!


You can serve this cold or luke warm; simply put in your oven, still covered with the clingfilm at 40°C (around 80°F). Make a nice fluffy heap on a nice tray, or, simply serve in a tajine like I do. You can add extra herbs too. Such as mint which tends to get dark when cut the day before.  

Joined Mar 24, 2011
Nice, we make a really similare version to you using pulsed canned tomato juice, lemon and olive oil to soak the coucous in and then loads of mint and other veg stired in, its gorgeous and very easy to diggest 2 of us ate over a kilo of this stuff in an afternoon at a picnic. We were a little bit bloated but was ok, nothing like eating a kilo of rice.

Apparently to stop basil from oxidasing (going dark) you can blanch it in boiling water for 5 seconds, maybe this will work for the mint too???
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