Spinach-Pistachio Couscous Salad

Couscous is a grain-based product that is made from semolina, and while many people often confuse it with grain itself, it’s actually a type of pasta. Made into a dough that’s tossed together until little balls are formed, couscous is a staple food in households worldwide and especially popular in African, Moroccan, Algerian and Tunisian cuisine. A versatile ingredient, couscous can be mixed with nearly anything to create a tasty dish. Fruits, vegetables and meats can be used to create an excellent side or flavorful main dish that will satisfy all types of taste buds. Though it is similar in texture to rice, couscous cooks much quicker, making it the ideal option for nights when you want to create a quick and delicious meal.

Couscous is a very popular dish served all throughout the Arabic countries and the Mediterranean countries. Couscous is their version of rice and is eaten all the time. It’s been around since at least the 13th century, if not even earlier than that. Some people say it dates back to the 11th century.

Most couscous is made from durum wheat; the same grain used to make semolina flour. Durum wheat is most commonly cultivated in a region known as the Maghreb region, which contains countries like Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, Libya, Egypt and much of the Middle East. The invention of couscous is widely credited to the Berbers, an ethnic group indigenous to Northwest Africa. However, instead of “couscous,” it’s commonly referred to as sekrou or seksu. In the eastern Mediterranean, another unique name for this pasta-like dish is used, called maftลซl or maghribiyya.ย 

Since couscous is popular in several different cultures, there are many kinds. However, the three most common types of couscous include Moroccan, Lebanese and Israeli, with Moroccan being the most common and often purchased. Moroccan couscous is made up of much smaller granules than other types. Its small size means that it cooks quickly and can be prepared in just minutes. Israeli couscous granules are much larger than Moroccan ones, and the tiny orbs of pasta produced have garnered it the nickname “pearl couscous.” This type of couscous features a nuttier flavor and chewy texture and takes about 10 minutes to cook thoroughly. Lastly, Lebanese couscous, the least common of the three, is the largest, and its size earns it a longer cooking time.

I don’t know if I have ever eaten the Lebanese version of couscous, but I eat both the Moroccan and the Israeli versions all the time. My latest couscous dish used the smaller, Moroccan version. I turned it into a delicious Moroccan styled salad that I served with my Spanish pork chops. Still In A Spanishย Mode

Of course I changed it some, and “Jeannified it”, but then, that’s just what I do. ๐Ÿ™‚

Spinach- Pistachio Couscous Salad

1 cup couscous

1/2 tsp cumin

salt & pepper to taste

3/4 cup boiling water

6 TBSP olive oil

2-3 TBSP lemon olive oil

2-3 cups fresh spinach, stemmed and chopped

1 cup fresh cilantro, chopped fine

1 cup fresh parsley, choppd fine

1/2 cup shelled pistachios, chopped

1/2 cup Peruvian peppers, optional

2-3 green onions, sliced thin

2 TBSP chopped chilies or roasted Hatch chilies

Combine the cumin, salt, pepper and about 1 TBSP of the olive oil and/or the lemon olive oil and bring to a full, rapid boil. Then add the couscous and mix thoroughly. Cover and let steep for at least about 10 minutes.

Gently mix together all the chopped herbs, spinach, peppers and pistachios. Add the cooked couscous, the remaining olive oil and lemon olive oil with more fresh ground black pepper and gently toss together.

Serve along side your main part of the meal, or add chicken and enjoy as a main salad on its own, that is healthy, light and very tasty.

Couscous is very versatile, like both pasta and rice. It goes well with whatever you want to serve it with. I love couscous, and could easily eat it all the time too.

Have a great day and make everyday great. Stay safe and stay well Everyone. ‘Til next time.


Author: ajeanneinthekitchen

I have worked in the restaurant and catering industry for over 35 years. I attended 2 culinary schools in Southern California, and have a degree in culinary arts from the Southern California School of Culinary Arts, as well as a few other degrees in other areas. I love to cook and I love to feed people.

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