Pearled couscous, also known as Maftoul or Palestinian Couscous is a large, round, sturdy pearl of wheat. The wheat is boiled, sun dried, hand cracked, and then finally rolled into wheat flour to create beautiful little pearls of goodness. Once cooked, it’s texture tastes similar to a rice or pasta to complete any hearty meal.
I was introduced to Maftoul by my beautiful friend, Noreen who got me HOOKED! I've had it many ways but one of my favorite ways of eating it is as a salad. This couscous salad is a great side to grilled meats, baked chicken (my fav), or is even great on its own. A definite crowd pleaser that will have your guests raving for more!
Serves 8 to 10
2 cups Pearled Couscous
4 cups Water
1 tsp Soy Sauce
1 tsp Siracha
1 tsp Chili Garlic Sauce
Salt/Pepper (to taste)
1 Large Carrot (ribbons)
1 Small Tomato (chopped)
1/2 Red Onion (chopped)
1/2 Bell Pepper (chopped)
3 Button Mushrooms (chopped)
1 Can Chickpeas (Rinsed/ Drained)
4 to 5 Pitted Dates (chopped)
1/8 cup Sliced Almonds
1/8 cup Dried Cranberries
1/2 Bunch Parsley
1 tbsp Maple Syrup
3 tbsp Olive Oil
3 tbsp Lemon Juice
Salt/pepper to taste
-In a pot add all the couscous ingredients EXCEPT the couscous.
-Let it come to a boil, now turn the heat down to low, add your couscous, stir, and cover and let it simmer for 15 mins.
-Meanwhile, chop all your veggies and dry fruit.
-Once your couscous is cooked, fluff with a fork and pour into a strainer and run under cold water.
-Drain well and add to a large mixing bowl with all your chopped veggies and dry fruit.
-Add all your dressing ingredients to a jar with a lid and shake.
-Pour dressing onto your salad and toss.
-Chill for a couple hours and serve.
**Gluten Free Option: Sub Quinoa for Couscous, just don't wash the quinoa once cooked, add it directly to salad after fluffing with a fork.
**Don't have all the stock ingredients to boil the couscous? No problem, just add chicken stock, vegetable stock or water.
**Veggies of choice may be added as this is a very versatile salad.
**Ratio: Couscous is similar to cooking rice, a 2:1 ratio of liquid to grain. This means you have double the amount of liquid to couscous, quinoa or rice.
**Carrot Ribbons: To make the ribbons of carrots I just use a potato peeler and peel long ribbons of beautiful orange carrots. You can always chop them into matchsticks or dice them finely but I just like the long ribbons going through the salad.
**Why you wash the Couscous: To stop the cooking processes and to wash out any extra starch. Don’t worry! The flavor will still be there since we had such a flavorful broth for the couscous to steam and cook in.
**Lemon Juice Tip: If you refrigerate your lemons, heat them individually for 20 to 30 seconds then roll on a counter top to soften it. This will help loosen the membrane and extract the maximum quantity of liquid. A medium to large lemon gives you roughly 3 tablespoons of juice.
Catch the full video of how I make my Quinoa version over on my Instagram Highlights here!