Pair pearl couscous with cherries and spinach for a delicious side salad featuring dried fruits and nuts. Serve this salad in under 30 minutes!
Sometimes it can be a challenge to find a side dish for dinner.
I always have pasta, rice and couscous in the pantry. It’s a standby for when we need it.
I also have a basket filled with every kind of dried fruit and nut that you can imagine.
I love to toss dried fruits and nuts on salads, on my cereal in the morning, and in my yogurt.
So why not add it to pearl couscous to make a delicious and quick salad for dinner.
It’s also ideal for any potluck or barbecue.
Any combo of dried fruits and nuts work well in this side dish.
I had dried cherries and slivered almonds I needed to use up.
But, if you have something different swap it out.
This recipe can be served at room temperature, cold or warm.
If you do pull it from the fridge add a drizzle of olive oil and give it a good stir.
What is pearl couscous?
Couscous is a Mediterranean pasta that comes in a variety of styles, including large Israeli couscous also known as pearled couscous, and the smallest grained Moroccan couscous.
Pearl couscous is not a grain. In fact it’s made from a mix of wheat flour, semolina and water.
These mini round pearls have a unique nutty flavor and are used like rice, pasta or any other whole grain.
Can you eat this pearl couscous salad cold?
Yes. Store the couscous in the fridge for up to three days. Also, it can sit at room temperature for a few hours.
How to make pearl couscous with cherries and spinach
It’s really rather simple. First, pick up a box of pearl couscous or follow these directions if buying couscous by the bag.
For each cup of dry couscous you’ll use 1 1/4 cups of water.
Add a half a teaspoon of kosher salt and a drizzle of olive oil or a pat of butter.
Next, bring the pot of water to a boil and add the couscous, giving it a quick stir with a spoon, reducing the heat and letting it simmer for about 10 minutes.
Then, fluff the couscous with a fork since it tends to bind together during the cooking process.
Finally, mix the couscous with the fresh fruit and nuts as well as a splash of olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
Try these variations:
- Substitute raisins, dried cranberries, currants, dried apricots in place of the dried cherries.
- Swap out the slivered almonds for toasted pecans, pistachios, pine nuts or pepitas.
- Stick with fresh fruit like cherries, blueberries, raspberries or blackberries.
- Not a fan of spinach, try arugula, kale or herbs like fresh basil.
Try these other delicious recipes using couscous
- Couscous Stuffed Peppers
- Pearl Couscous with Roasted Vegetables
- Lemon Basil Grilled Shrimp and Couscous
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Pearl Couscous with Cherries and Spinach
- 1 cup pearl couscous
- 1 cup water
- 1/4 cup orange juice
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 cup dried cherries
- 1/2 cup baby spinach, chopped
- 1/4 cup slivered almonds
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 tablespoon fig infused or white balsamic vinegar
- In a medium pot bring the water and orange juice to a boil. Add the couscous and olive oil. Cover and reduce the heat to low and allow the couscous to cook for about 8 minutes until almost cooked through.
- Stir in the cherries and continue cooking until couscous is tender, about 3 to 4 minutes longer. Remove the pot from the stove and allow it to cool completely.
- Add the spinach, almonds and couscous mixture to a boil. Add in the olive oil and balsamic vinegar and stir to coat. Serve immediately or refrigerate until ready to serve.
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