Couscous Salad with Feta and Chickpeas

Main Courses, Meatless, Salad / Wednesday, June 23rd, 2010

The good tomatoes are in.

Tomatoes that smell like tomatoes and taste like tomatoes and send wet tomato trails running down your arms every time you bite into the season’s first BLT on homemade sourdough. With thick-sliced bacon. And real mayo.

Tomatoes that make a salad. Like this couscous salad with chopped tomatoes, chickpeas, red bell pepper, onion, cucumber and feta. So good you’ll feel like you’re doing something bad. And isn’t that what summer is for?

If you’ve never cooked couscous at home, you might be surprised at how easy it is. Add the couscous to a small pot of boiling water, cover it, and set the pot off the heat for a few minutes. Then, fluff the couscous with a fork. It will be tiny and granular, like quinoa, but soft, like pasta.

And you get to turn off the heat to cook it. Yes, I’m saying that twice.

I’m a huge fan of couscous with roasted vegetables as a side, so I was excited about trying it with raw vegetables as a salad. One bite is all crunch and tang, the next bite creamy and cool. I finally hollowed out a tomato to use as a bowl in the hope of practicing a little portion control, but that really didn’t stop me from sneaking an extra bite here and there during the post-dinner clean-up festivities.

I mean, the good tomatoes are only around for a little while. You’ve got to get them while you can.

P.S. In the interest of full disclosure, Near East sent me two free sample boxes of couscous last month. I’ve been using Near East couscous for years, so I accepted them happily. They did not buy my love.

Tracie’s Couscous Salad

Adapted from Tracie Farmer (via “Paula’s Home Cooking,”
Serves 6

  • 1 box flavored couscous (garlic or Parmesan), cooked (recommended: Near East)
  • 1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1 red bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 1/2 Vidalia or red onion, chopped
  • 1 English cucumber, peeled, seeded, and finely chopped
  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley leaves, chopped
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 to 3 limes, juiced

In a large bowl, toss all the ingredients with the olive oil and lime juice, to taste.

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16 thoughts on “Couscous Salad with Feta and Chickpeas

  1. Looks delightful, as usual. I made something similar with quinoa a couple of weeks ago, but I'm digging the addition of roasted peppers here.

    I love Near East, too. I did a photo shoot with them several years back. When I lost my restaurant job shortly thereafter, the two shipping boxes filled with image and print-free packages of their products helped sustain me. Never knowing which flavor I was getting myself into helped to break up the monotony of unemployment and subsequent daily couscous eating.

    They've always had my love, too.

  2. It was the tomatoes that sold it for me! I have so many I don't know what to do with them right now. I think I'll try making this with quinoa instead, though — I can't quit my quinoa habit.

  3. Ohhh I bet the lime juice makes a nice flavor addition to the already vibrant couscous salad! Love this recipe for summer :) Thanks for sharing

  4. This looks great. And the Near East flavored is a great shortcut that I have used in salads like this. Can't wait till my tomatoes come in…especially the purple heirlooms that I planted!

  5. […] the tipping point where it becomes a salad that happens to have pasta in it. So when I discovered Ezra Pound Cake’s Greek salad version of a couscous salad (originally posted from Tracie Farmer via Paula […]

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