The temps are warming here in southeastern PA, which starts our craving for brighter tasting food. This Citrus Couscous Salad recipe was spotted in Fine Cooking Magazine, but originated in Better Homes & Gardens from what I can surmise. Doesn’t really matter, we made numerous changes to make it our own.
Orange zest, juice, and segments brighten up this fresh take on a “pasta” salad recipe. Despite popular belief that couscous is a type of whole grain (it does have a rice-like appearance), it is actually a pasta made of semolina and wheat flour that is moistened and tossed together until it forms little balls. (Sorry keto-friendly dieters.)
Not only does couscous cook quickly—a plus for most home cooks—it is an excellent main or side dish that pleases almost anyone’s palate. While the original recipe used 6 oranges, and fed as many, the ingredients list here was halved for the most part. Although, the thyme and olive quantities remain the same, pine nuts were swapped out for the hazelnuts.
Because it can sit at room temperature, it would be a great asset at any pot luck or picnic.
Citrus Couscous Salad
- 3 large Cara Cara, navel, or other oranges
- 3 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
- 1⁄2 cup Israeli couscous
- 3⁄4 cup chicken broth or vegetable broth
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 Tbsp. chopped fresh thyme
- 1⁄2 cup very thinly sliced red onion
- 2 Tbsp. pinenuts, toasted
- ¼ cup coarsely chopped, pitted Castelvetrano olives or Manzanilla olives
- 1 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
- ¼ tsp. coarse salt
- ⅛ tsp. freshly cracked black pepper
- Crushed red pepper (optional)
- Using a vegetable peeler remove strips of zest from one orange, being careful not to remove the white pith; set aside.
- In a medium saucepan with a tight lid heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat. Add couscous; cook 2 minutes or until lightly toasted, stirring often. Add two orange strips, broth, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Bring to boiling over medium-high heat; reduce heat. Cover; cook 12 to 15 minutes or until couscous is tender and all liquid is absorbed. Let cool; discard strips.
- Meanwhile, using a paring knife, remove peel and pith from the other two oranges. Working over a small bowl to catch juices, cut out each segment from membranes. (Or slice into wheels.)
- For citrus oil: Chop enough of the remaining orange strips to get 1 tablespoon In a 10-inch skillet combine chopped strips, remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil, the garlic, and thyme. Heat over low heat 5 minutes or until warm; set aside.
- To serve, on a platter combine orange segments and juices, couscous, red onion, pinenuts and olives. Drizzle with red wine vinegar. Spoon citrus oil over top. Sprinkle with salt and black pepper, and, if desired, crushed red pepper.
Adapted from a recipe by Better Homes and Gardens