This Couscous Salad with cranberries, feta cheese and fresh spinach is a simple, light side dish or healthy entree that comes together in minutes!
Servings 6 - 8 servings (side dish)
FOR THE SALAD:
- 1 ½ cups uncooked couscous (or about 1 10-ounce box)
- 1 tablespoon butter
- ¼ cup chopped pecans
- ¾ cup coarsely chopped fresh spinach
- ⅓ cup sweetened dried cranberries
- ⅓ cup crumbled feta cheese
- Salt and pepper
In a medium saucepan, bring 2 cups of water, 1 teaspoon salt and butter to a boil. Stir in the couscous, cover the pot and remove from the heat. Let the pot stand (covered) for 5 minutes. Fluff the couscous with a fork, and transfer to a large bowl. Allow to cool completely before assembling the rest of the salad.
While the couscous cooks, toast the pecans. You can do this in a dry skillet over low heat, or in the microwave. To microwave the pecans, place them on a microwave-safe plate and cook in 30-second increments (stirring each time) until they’re fragrant and just starting to brown. It typically takes a total of about 1 ½ minutes in my microwave, but your cooking time may vary. Allow the pecans to cool before assembling the salad.
Once the couscous is cool, gently stir in the pecans, spinach, cranberries and feta.
Whisk together all of the dressing ingredients (or shake them in a jar). Pour over the salad and toss to coat. Season with additional salt and pepper, to taste. Serve immediately or cover and refrigerate until ready to enjoy.
- Prep Ahead: Couscous salad can be made ahead of time. You can stir together the ingredients up to 24 hours in advance. If you'd like the nuts to stay crunchy, wait to add them at the last minute.
- Leftover couscous salad will keep in the fridge for up to 4 days.
- I do not recommend freezing this salad, as the spinach will have an undesirable texture when thawed.
- The salad is best when served cold or at room temperature.
- I typically buy my couscous in bulk at a country market near our house, but you can also use a 10-ounce box of couscous (such as this brand) from the grocery store for this recipe.
- For a stronger lemon flavor, you can add lemon zest to the dressing.
- I've included feta cheese in this recipe, since it's a classic Mediterranean ingredient that we always have on hand. Morning Glory Farm actually uses crumbled blue cheese in its couscous salad, so you can swap out the feta for some blue cheese if you prefer.
- Instead of the cranberries, try substituting with golden raisins, chopped dates, dried cherries, or chopped dried apricots.
- Instead of pecans, use toasted slivered almonds, pistachios, or chopped toasted walnuts.
- Turn this Couscous Salad into a heartier lunch or dinner entrée by adding grilled chicken or a can of drained, rinsed chickpeas.
Serving: 1/8 of the salad | Calories: 232.1kcal | Carbohydrates: 30.1g | Protein: 5.3g | Fat: 11.3g | Saturated Fat: 2.8g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1.5g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5.9g | Cholesterol: 9.4mg | Sodium: 594.3mg | Potassium: 23.4mg | Fiber: 1.9g | Sugar: 4.3g