Cous Cous Salad with Pickled Onions

Cous Cous Salad with Pickled Onions

Here’s the salad that goes along with the Middle Eastern Spiced Steak Wraps. It was part of my January Times Union story and makes for a good weeknight dinner! Read the whole thing here.

Cous Cous Salad with Pickled Onions
Cous Cous Salad with Pickled Onions

I made a salad to go with the beefy sandwiches, because, well, that’s what mothers do, right? And since I count salad as something I’m good at, I have to practice, a lot. This particular salad is good in many ways: it’s a combination of soft, warm grains, crunchy vegetables and bright, pickled onions. A secret to creating a good salad is to mix it up: different textures, lots of flavors, and a rainbow of color. Here, I opted for couscous, and you probably know this grain as one that sits under stews, particularly Moroccan meat and vegetable dishes. I like couscous for its unparalleled ability to soak up whatever food and flavors are laid upon it. In this recipe, it’s got a simple dressing – just a bit of extra virgin olive oil and lemon, making it fluffy and flavorful and a bedrock for herbs and cucumbers and really, whatever else you want to throw in. This is definitely a dinnertime salad that makes for a happy lunchbox the next afternoon.

Cous Cous Salad with Pickled Onions

Recipe by Caroline BarrettCourse: Salads + Veggies




  • ½ cup apple cider vinegar

  • 1 cup boiling water

  • 2 tablespoons sugar

  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 1 small red onion, sliced thin

  • 3 cups cooked couscous (cook according to box directions)

  • 1 cup grape tomatoes, halved

  • 3 small Persian cucumbers (or ½ large), sliced on the bias

  • ½ cup flat-leaf parsley leaves

  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil

  • Juice of 1 lemon

  • Kosher salt

  • Pepper

  • ½ cup pitted olives (optional)


  • Combine the vinegar, hot water, sugar and salt in a glass bowl and mix to dissolve the sugar. Add the red onion and stir to cover all, separating and submerging the pieces. Allow to rest for an hour, or at least 30 minutes. Combine the couscous with the tomatoes, cucumbers and parsley and toss well. Whisk together the olive oil and lemon, then pour just enough over all to moisten. Taste and add salt and pepper. Drain the onion. Garnish the salad with the onion and olive, and serve. Best after resting for a few hours and served at room temperature.

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