Sunday, April 10, 2022

Spring Fling: Spring Couscous Salad with Lemon Feta Vinaigrette

With a base of pearl couscous, I've added roasted asparagus, tender garbanzo beans, fresh herbs, and green onions, tossed with a Lemon Feta vinaigrette.  This is a side salad that is full of spring goodness!

Spring Couscous Salad with Lemon Feta Vinaigrette

I love couscous as a base or addition to a salad.  Pearl couscous is the larger variety and works perfectly in salads.  It provides you with an open canvas to create so many variations and since it's pasta it absorbs a vinaigrette perfectly.  Today we are taking spring produce, so we are adding some roasted asparagus, lots of fresh herbs like parsley and basil, and fresh lemon.  You will get a double dose of lemon in the salad and the dressing for that bright pop!

This is a wonderful side dish that can be served along side chicken, beef, or pork for a light springtime meal.  It's also perfect as a side dish salad for Easter.  Easy to pull together and the flavors are popping.  It's sure to be one you'll want to repeat often.


What Ingredients do I need?

  • pearl couscous
  • thin asparagus spears
  • lemon - zest and juice
  • feta cheese
  • canned garbanzo beans
  • green onions
  • parsley
  • basil
  • olive oil
  • garlic
  • pistachios (optional)

Substitutions and Variations

  • Change up the herbs - use fresh mint, dill, thyme, or chives.
  • Use thick asparagus if you wish - note: roasting time will be about 5 - 7 minutes longer.  I would cut these in to 2" pieces.
  • Can't find pearl (Israeli) couscous?  use the original small type.
  • You can substitute the couscous for a grain such as farro, bulgur, or even quinoa.
  • Don't like cheese? leave it out or trade it for ricotta salata or even cotija.
  • Don't like nuts? leave them out or add your favorite, pine nuts, or hazelnuts would be a good addition.

Kitchen Tips and Notes

  • This recipe is great for leftover couscous.
  • You will need to allow the couscous to cool so plan a little time for that, or make it ahead.  You may help the cooling by running it under cool water and then draining it well.
  • Leftover will keep in the refrigerator in an airtight container for several days.  
  • The vinaigrette will keep for several days in the refrigerator.
  • Drizzle leftovers with more vinaigrette to moisten and flavor the salad.

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Spring Couscous Salad with Lemon Feta Vinaigrette

serves: 6


1 cup pearl couscous
1 pound thin asparagus spears, woody stems cut off
olive oil
14 oz can of garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
1 green onion, thinly sliced both white and green parts
zest of 1 lemon
2 Tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
2 Tablespoon fresh basil, chopped
kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 Tablespoon pistachios, chopped (optional)


Juice of 1 lemon
1 Tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
1 Tablespoon fresh basil, chopped
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 garlic clove, minced
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
salt & pepper
1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Cook the couscous according to the package directions.  This should be about 15 - 20 minutes.  Meanwhile roast the asparagus by placing them on a sheet pan.  Drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper, tossing to combine.  Spread them out on the pan so they are not overlapping.  Roast for 8-10 minutes until they are starting to darken on the ends.  Larger asparagus will need about 5 more minutes to roast.  Remove from the oven and set aside.

Once the couscous is done, drain off any excess water (if any) and place it in a bowl to cool down.  You can run it under cool water and drain again if you like.  Add the garbanzo beans, green onions, lemon zest, parsley, basil, salt and pepper to taste, and stir to combine.  

Drizzle with half of the vinaigrette and toss.  Top with asparagus and some pistachios (if using) and drizzle a little more vinaigrette over the top.  Serve.  

To Make Vinaigrette: in a small bowl or jar add lemon juice, herbs, lemon zest, garlic and a pinch of salt and pepper.  Whisk in olive oil until well combined (or shake jar vigorously).  Add in the feta cheese and stir.  

adapted from:  How Sweet Eats

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