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This Summer Vegetable Couscous Salad is a quick, hearty, and versatile way to prepare couscous with summer vegetables as a meal or a side dish to accompany any summer meal.
When it comes to fresh produce, this is the time of year that I miss the most in the winter months. Meatless Monday meals are easy to come up with, and the farmers’ markets and roadside stands are overflowing with wonderful goodies. If you’re lucky enough, you may have more fresh produce coming out of your garden than you know what to do with.
When we first moved to the mountain, David and I talked about building planter boxes to grow our own vegetables. We would need a huge amount of topsoil, and the boxes would have to have some fencing to keep critters from eating everything up. Unfortunately, up here on the mountain, having a garden is more trouble than it is worth. Living just minutes from Shenandoah National Park, we have all kinds of wildlife that would raid it. Maybe we’re just lazy, but to us, it seems easier to buy what we need as we can get it. To heck with the rest!
If you are running out of ideas of what to do with all those summer veggies, this summer vegetable couscous salad is a great way to help you use them up!
What is Couscous?
Couscous, a staple in Morocco and North Africa that looks like a grain but is actually pasta. This tiny pasta is made of coarsely ground durum wheat semolina. The semolina is moistened and tossed with fine wheat flour until it forms little, round balls.
Couscous is much smaller than traditional Italian pasta. There are different types of couscous available; each has a different size and texture, which can change the experience in your mouth.
Types of Couscous:
- Moroccan Couscous: the smallest of all and cooks the quickest.
- Israeli Couscous: also known as “pearl” couscous. It is much larger in size than Moroccan, about the same size as a peppercorn. This couscous takes a little longer to cook, about 10 minutes.
- Lebanese Couscous: even larger than Israeli couscous, Lebanese takes the longest to cook.
Ingredients Needed to Make This Salad
A detailed list of ingredients can be found in the recipe card at the end of this post.
- Couscous: Prepared to package directions. I tend to substitute water with vegetable stock for more flavor!
- Cooking Oil: Needed to saute the vegetables. Use whatever oil you like to use. I use extra-virgin olive oil.
- Garlic: Smashed garlic to flavor the oil and vegetables
- Vegetables: Any combination of vegetables can be used in this salad. I used diced red onion, chopped zucchini, diced red bell pepper, shiitake mushrooms, and tangy sun-dried tomatoes for this recipe.
- Seasoning: Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste, fresh or dried thyme.
- Cheese: Crumbled feta cheese gives this dish creaminess with a sharp, salty punch.
How to Make Summer Vegetable Couscous Salad
- First, prepare couscous, per package directions, using vegetable broth instead of water to boil.
- Meanwhile, heat oil in a nonstick pan. Saute smashed garlic clove for about 30 seconds to 1 minute.
- Add in the onions; saute until softened; about 3 minutes. Add in the rest of the vegetables; add thyme and season with salt and pepper. Cook until tender, about 5 to 7 minutes.
- Uncover and fluff the couscous with a fork. Pour the prepared couscous into the skillet with the vegetables; gently combine in a bowl and stir to combine.
- Season with more salt and pepper as needed. Serve warm or cold.
This recipe is full of flavor and a great way to use up vegetables before they go bad. You can make a meal off of it as we did, or you could make it as a side dish, substituting other vegetables to make it your own.
I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we did. Have fun with it and enjoy!
Summer Vegetable Couscous Salad
- 1½ cups couscous (prepared according to package)
- vegetable broth to be used in place of water for the couscous
- 2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 clove garlic smashed
- ¼ cup red onion diced
- 1 cup zucchini chopped
- ½ cup red bell pepper diced
- 8 ounces shiitake mushrooms chopped
- ¼ cup sun-dried tomatoes
- Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme minced (½ teaspoon dried)
- 4 ounces feta cheese crumbled
- Prepare couscous, per package directions, using vegetable broth instead of water to boil.
- Meanwhile, heat oil in a nonstick pan. Saute smashed garlic clove for about 30 seconds to 1 minute. Add in the onions; saute, until softened; about 3 minutes. Add in the rest of the vegetables; add thyme and season with salt and pepper. Cook until tender, about 5 to 7 minutes.
- Uncover and fluff the couscous with a fork. Pour the prepared couscous into the pan with the vegetables; gently combine in a bowl and stir to combine. Season with more salt and pepper if desired. Serve warm or cold.