Moroccan Couscous Salad with Chickpeas, dried fruit and harissa roasted vegetables, a deliciously spiced dish full of flavour. Ready in about 20 minutes, this salad really easy to make with a few simple ingredients. The harissa paste gives it a distinctive exotic flavour and an earthy heat, while the dried fruit work beautifully with the roasted vegetables.
This might not be a traditional salad with green leaves and a dressing, but a much more sophisticated, exotic dish that screams perfection. After my Moroccan chicken tagine, I fell in love with the Moroccan flavours, and decided to go for something as flavourful, but light and low calorie.
Despite the fact that it can be served as a salad, it can definitely be considered a side dish too, and it goes perfectly well with any roast. If you are looking for a nice packed lunch option, this fruity couscous salad is the perfect recipe, especially if you like healthy food.
Plain couscous might be boring to some people, although I actually quite like having it that way. But throw in a few spices, some nicely roasted veggies coated in harissa paste, some dried fruit, and you get one awesome couscous recipe.
- couscous - regular or wholemeal couscous
- dried cranberries and raisins - or you can use just raisins
- pepper - any colour
- aubergine (eggplant)
- boiling water - for hydrating the couscous
- spices - for adding an exotic touch, I went for ground turmeric and cumin
- harissa paste - can be left out if you wish
- chopped parsley
- cooked chickpeas
This recipe is pure pleasure, and it's very popular in the UK. In almost every shop, there ready-made couscous salad. I have tried a few of them, but I found the amount of cumin used quite overwhelming.
The harissa vegetables aren't a usual addition, but I find that they add such a great Moroccan touch, that I had to add them. But they can be left out, in which case you can proceed with the recipe without them.
Other dried fruit that work well in a couscous salad are apricots, prunes, dates or a combination of any of them.
If you don't have harissa paste, any spicy sauce can be used instead, or just roast the vegetables simple, the salad will still be nice and spiced.
Step-by-step photos and instructions
- chop the aubergine (eggplant) and pepper, add 1 tablespoon of harissa paste, and mix well to coat
- roast in the pre-heated oven at 200 degrees Celsius (390 Fahrenheit) for 10-15 minutes until tender
- add the couscous, turmeric, cumin, and dried fruit to a large bowl, pour over the boiling water (or any kind of broth) and cover.
The water will be completely absorbed, and the couscous will double its volume, so keep that in mind when deciding how many servings you need.
The boiling water will hydrate the dried fruit too, but you can just throw them in after the couscous is ready.
- add the chickpeas, roasted vegetables and parsley, give it a good stir, season with salt to taste, and the salad is ready
The salad can be enjoyed either warm or cold straight from the fridge - it can be made in advance and stored in tupperwares to keep the flavours fresh.
The salad can be enjoyed on its own, or as a side dish for any roast or meat alternatives.
The couscous to hot water ratio is 1: 1 ½, there is no need to add any more water, otherwise the couscous will be too watery, rather than perfectly fluffy. There is no need to cook the couscous on the stove top, just hydrating it would do.
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Moroccan Couscous Salad
- 1 cup couscous
- ½ cup dried cranberries and raisins
- 1 pepper
- ½ aubergine (eggplant)
- 1 ½ cup boiling water
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 tablespoon harissa paste
- 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
- 1 cup cooked chickpeas
- Chop the aubergine and pepper, add the harissa paste, and mix well to coat.
- Roast in the pre-heated oven at 200 degrees Celsius (390 Fahrenheit) for 10-15 minutes until tender.
- Add the couscous, dried fruit and spices to a large bowl, pour over the boiling water, cover the bowl with a lid or a large plate, and set aside for 5 minutes.
- Use a fork to fluff it up, add the roasted vegetables, chickpeas and parsley, and stir well to combine.
- Serve it either warm or cold.
- you can use any kind of broth (stock) instead of boiling water, the chicken or vegetable ones being particularly nice
- use any other dried fruit like apricot, prunes or dates
- add a pinch of chilli peppers, for a hot and spicy kick
- if you don't have harissa paste, not to worry, just add the ground cumin, turmeric, and some smoked paprika to the vegetables, or any other spicy sauce