This is a fantastically easy salad to have in your “winging it” arsenal especially later in the summer when zucchini and summer squash are multiplying exponentially in your garden. It’s perfect served either cold or at room temperature and is even great made a day ahead (just save the arugula and toss in right before serving).
Many people are under the misconception that couscous is a grain when in fact, it is actually a whole grain pasta made from semolina or whole wheat flour. I can see how it might be confused when looking at a bowl of the typical Middle Eastern couscous, but it’s much easier to tell when dealing with pearl couscous (a.k.a Israeli or Jerusalem couscous). Although both types of couscous have their merits, I am much more a fan of the more toothsome pearl variety.
This salad is incredibly versatile… you can use any combination veggies, or try adding some nuts, or dried fruit; you could substitute the couscous for the bulgur in your favorite tabbouleh recipe, or cook the couscous with stock if you’re not into saffron … the choices are endless. If you’re tired of the same ol’ pasta salad, twist it up and give this a try!
- ¼ cup olive oil, plus more for grilling
- 1 cup pearl or Israeli couscous
- 2 cups water
- 1 large pinch saffron threads (optional)
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 2 zucchini
- 1 yellow summer squash
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- ½ small red onion, thinly sliced
- ⅓ cup pitted Kalamata or Nicoise olives, sliced
- 2 handfuls baby arugula or rocket
- Juice from 1 lemon
- Add 1 tablespoon of the olive oil to a medium saucepan, add the couscous and stir to coat. Toast couscous over medium heat until golden; about 5 minutes stirring frequently. Stir in the water, saffron, coriander, and cumin and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 15 minutes or until the water has been absorbed. Transfer couscous to a large mixing bowl to cool.
- Meanwhile, Set up your grill for medium heat. Brush and oil grates before grilling.
- Remove the tops and tails of the squash then slice in quarters lengthwise. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill for 1 to 2 minutes per side until marked and just al dente - do not cook until soft, you want them to still have a little crunch, set aside.
- Once the couscous has cooled add the grilled squash, onion, olives and arugula to the bowl and toss. Squeeze in the lemon juice and and drizzle with the remaining 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Toss to coat and taste for seasoning. Adjust seasining to taste with salt and pepper.
Cheers and Happy Grilling!