Treat yourself to this delicious, easy to make Pomegranate Couscous Salad! This beautiful, bejeweled salad is bursting with juicy pomegranate seeds, fresh herbs, and crunchy pistachios. It's ready in minutes and perfect anytime you need an impressive side dish or light meal!
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Looking for an impressive side dish that requires very little effort? Then you need to try this Pomegranate Couscous Salad!
This lovely, jewel-colored salad is a feast for the belly and for the eyes! It's so pretty, and each bite is filled fresh, juicy, herby flavors that you're sure to love. And bonus: it really couldn't be easier to make.
Serve this yummy recipe while pomegranates are in season, typically fall through early winter. It's wonderful with any meal, any day of the week, and it's perfect for all your holiday occasions, too. With its vibrant red and green colors, it makes a great Christmas Salad!
Ready to try this gorgeous Couscous Salad for yourself? Then keep reading for all the details.
This easy Couscous Salad uses simple, fresh ingredients. Here's what you'll need
- Couscous - The base of the recipe is Moroccan-style couscous, which is super easy to prepare. Look for it near the rice at your grocery store. You could also use Israeli-style (pearl) couscous, if you prefer ... just follow the package directions to cook it.
- Pomegranate - You'll use the arils (seeds) from one pom to make this salad.
- Fresh Herbs - This recipe uses a combination of flat-leaf parsley and mint, both of which provide tons of flavor.
- Nuts - Delicious pistachios are a welcome, crunchy addition to the recipe. Feel free to substitute other nuts, if you wish.
- Zest - You'll use a whole lemon for this recipe: the zest for the salad, and the juice for the dressing.
- Vinaigrette - A bright, tasty Lemon Olive Oil Dressing ties all the flavors together and takes minutes to make.
This recipe is naturally vegetarian, vegan, and dairy free ... which means that everyone at your table can enjoy it! And because it's so simple, you can easily change up the ingredients. You'll find lots of ideas in the Variations section below.
What is couscous?
Couscous is made from semolina (ground durum wheat) rolled together with water. It has a fine, grain-like appearance, and because of that, it's often mistaken it for a whole grain or a seed. However, since it's made with semolina, it's actually closer to pasta.
The Moroccan-style couscous used in this recipe originated in North Africa, where it's a staple starch used in side dishes, served under stews, and even used in desserts. You'll can also find Israeli (pearl) couscous, which has bigger, rounder granules, and Tunisian couscous, which is even larger.
Traditionally, couscous is prepared by steaming it in a couscoussier (a multi-step process). However, the kind you'll find in most American grocery stores is pre-steamed and ready to eat in five minutes!
You'll Also Need
To make this recipe, you'll need a medium saucepan with lid to cook the couscous, a small bowl to prepare the lemon dressing, and a larger bowl to mix everything together. You'll also need a zester for the lemon ... this Microplane zester is one of my essential kitchen tools, and it makes the job a snap!
How to Make Pomegranate Couscous Salad
This beautiful salad really couldn't be easier to make! You'll find a detailed, printable recipe at the end of this article, but here's an overview of the steps:
- Cook the couscous. If you've never prepared couscous before, you may be surprised by how easy it is to make! Simply bring two cups of water (plus a little olive oil and salt) to a boil, then remove from heat and stir in an equal amount of couscous. Cover the pot and let sit for five minutes, or until it's tender and the water has absorbed. Use a fork to fluff and separate the granules, then set aside to cool slightly.
- Prepare the remaining ingredients. While the couscous cooks and cools, chop the pistachios and herbs, zest the lemon, and remove the seeds from your pomegranate. You'll also want to whisk together the simple lemon dressing.
- Mix everything together. Once your couscous has cooled a bit, transfer it to a large bowl, then stir in the other ingredients and dressing. Season to taste and you are done!
This recipe is ideal for parties and potlucks (it makes a great fall, winter, or Christmas salad!). Most of the recipe can be prepared in advance (and it can be served warm or cold), although I'd wait to stir in the herbs until shortly before serving. That way, they'll stay super fresh.
Tip: Not sure how to seed a pomegranate? It's actually pretty easy! Begin by cutting a thin slice from top and bottom of the fruit, then lightly score sides from top to bottom (I usually score it four times / into quarters). Carefully pry the fruit apart, then use your fingers to gently remove the seeds. Pomegranate juice does stain, so I recommend wearing a dark shirt and doing this in your sink for less of a mess.
Now that you've mastered this easy Couscous Salad with Pomegranate, you can have fun experimenting! Here are a few ideas to inspire you:
- Couscous - Give this salad a different texture by using larger Israeli (pearl) couscous (or Tunisian, if you can find it).
- Nuts - Swap in another nut, such as walnuts, pecans, almonds, or pine nuts, for the pistachios.
- Herbs - Try subbing basil, dill, or cilantro for the parsley and mint (or use a mixture of herbs).
- Dried Fruit - Create a sweet-savory element by stirring in some dried fruits, like golden raisins or apricots.
- Veggies - Mixing in raw, roasted vegetables, or grilled veggies is a great way to add some extra substance. Try adding cucumbers, bell peppers, carrots, sweet potatoes, or summer or winter squash.
- Protein - Turn this side dish into a meal by including some protein. Chickpeas (regular or roasted) or halloumi (fried or grilled) would both be delish.
- Cheese - A little feta or goat cheese would make a wonderful addition.
Store any leftovers in an airtight container in your refrigerator. It will stay fresh for about two to three days and makes a great lunch!
Serve this Couscous Pomegranate Salad as a side dish or as a light meal. It pairs well with Middle Eastern, North African, and Mediterranean flavors. But this fresh, bright dish will work great with almost any style meal, and with its festive colors, it's perfect for the holidays, too!
You could also turn it into an entrée or a bowl by adding some protein (try chickpeas or halloumi), a scoop of hummus, veggies, a drizzle of yogurt sauce, or by pairing it with a few snacky foods, like this Fried Feta or these Feta, Pepper, and Olive Bites.
Looking for more pomegranate and couscous recipes? Try one of these next:
- Pomegranate Salad - A delicious green salad with pecans, pears, and goat cheese (or feta).
- Pomegranate Mojito - You'll love this fun take on the classic cocktail!
- Pomegranate Brussels Sprouts - This simple side is a flavor-packed show stopper!
- Roasted Butternut Squash and Gorgonzola Salad - Juicy pomegranate seeds provide a fresh burst of flavor to this yummy salad.
- Pomegranate Cranberry Sauce - The perfect addition to your holiday table.
- Couscous Casserole - This unique baked dish is loaded with veggies and other fresh flavors.
- Roasted Veggie Kabobs with Spiced Couscous - You could also serve these kabobs over this salad.
- Pumpkin Couscous Salad - This flavorful salad is full of warm, Moroccan inspired flavors.
Pomegranate Couscous Salad
- 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 cups couscous
- 1 pomegranate
- ½ cup pistachios, roughly chopped
- ½ cup chopped mint
- ½ cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
- 1 large lemon, zested
- 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 10 grinds pepper
- Combine 2 cups water, olive oil, and salt in a medium pot. Bring to a boil over high heat.
- Remove pot from heat, then stir in couscous. Cover tightly and let sit for 5 minutes, or until water has been absorbed and couscous is tender.
- Use a fork to separate and fluff couscous. Set aside to cool slightly.
- Cut a thin slice from top and bottom of pomegranate. Lightly score sides (vertically), then gently pry apart. Use fingers to remove seeds.
- Transfer cooled couscous to a large bowl. Add pomegranate seeds, pistachios, mint, parsley, zest, and dressing. Mix gently, seasoning to taste with additional salt and pepper.
- While couscous cools, whisk together olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper in a small bowl until well combined.