Warm Couscous Salad with Apricot Vinaigrette

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A savory and sweet couscous salad with scallions, sliced almonds and a fruity apricot vinaigrette.

I love Moroccan food, especially the blending of savory and sweet, which is the idea behind this delicious salad. Made with couscous, scallions, fresh herbs, crunchy almonds, and a tangy-sweet apricot vinaigrette, it’s the perfect side dish for summer. By that I mean it’s wonderfully light, takes mere minutes to make, travels well to a picnic or BBQ, and can be served warm or room temperature. I recommend serving it with my Grilled Moroccan Chicken but it would be good with just about any chicken, pork or lamb dish.

What you’ll need to make the warm couscous salad
ingredinets
How to make couscous salad

Before we get to the recipe, a few words about couscous. Most people think of it as a grain, but it’s actually a form of pasta made from semolina flour. A staple throughout the Mediterranean and North Africa, it’s traditionally prepared in a double-chambered steaming vessel known as a couscoussière. The base pot holds a meat or vegetable stew and a steamer on top holds the grain, which slowly steams and absorbs the flavors from the stew. But for this recipe, you need not worry about all that — it calls for instant couscous, which cooks in just five minutes in a regular pot.

To start, bring the cooking liquid to a boil in a medium pot. Since couscous can be bland if not seasoned properly, I like to cook it in a flavorful chicken or vegetable broth instead of water. A pad of butter and a little salt help too.

cooking-liquid

Next, add the couscous, turn off the heat and cover the pot.

adding-couscous

After five minutes, fluff the couscous with a fork. If you let it sit, it will clump together.

fluffing-couscous

Meanwhile, make the dressing by combining the olive oil, white wine vinegar, salt, pepper and apricot jam in a small bowl.

making-vinaigrette

Pour the vinaigrette over the warm couscous.

adding-vinaigrette

Chop the scallions and herbs.

mint-and-scallions

Then toss them with couscous along with the sliced almonds.

stirring-in-herbs-scallions-and-nuts

Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper and serve.

ready-to-eat

This recipe was adapted and modified from Real Simple magazine.

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Warm Couscous Salad with Apricot Vinaigrette

A savory and sweet couscous salad with scallions, sliced almonds and a fruity apricot vinaigrette.

Servings: 4-6
Total Time: 30 Minutes

Ingredients

  • 1-1/2 cups low sodium chicken or vegetable broth (best quality such as Swanson)
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • Salt
  • 1 10-ounce box couscous (1-1/2 cups)
  • 6 tablespoons apricot preserves (best quality such as Bonne Maman)
  • 4-1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 scallions, white and green parts, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley or mint (optional)
  • 1/3 cup sliced almonds

Instructions

  1. Bring the chicken broth, butter and 1/4 teaspoon salt to a boil in a medium pot. Add the couscous and stir. Cover the pot with a tight fitting lid and remove from the heat. Let sit 5 minutes, then fluff the couscous immediately with a fork so it doesn't clump together.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the apricot preserves, olive oil, white wine vinegar, 1/4 teaspoon salt and a few grinds of fresh black pepper. Add about three-quarters of the vinaigrette to the couscous and stir to combine. Taste and add the remaining vinaigrette, little by little, if necessary (you may not need it all). Be sure to add all the little chunks of apricot from the vinaigrette, as they tend to settle at the bottom of the bowl (just use a fork to fish them out). Stir in the scallions, herbs and sliced almonds. Taste and adjust seasoning (I usually add a good bit of salt) and serve warm or room temperature.

Nutrition Information

Powered by Edamam

  • Per serving (6 servings)
  • Calories: 375
  • Fat: 15g
  • Saturated fat: 3g
  • Carbohydrates: 52g
  • Sugar: 9g
  • Fiber: 3g
  • Protein: 9g
  • Sodium: 227mg
  • Cholesterol: 5mg

This website is written and produced for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and the nutritional data on this site has not been evaluated or approved by a nutritionist or the Food and Drug Administration. Nutritional information is offered as a courtesy and should not be construed as a guarantee. The data is calculated through an online nutritional calculator, Edamam.com. Although I do my best to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures should be considered estimates only. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased, natural fluctuations in fresh produce, and the way ingredients are processed change the effective nutritional information in any given recipe. Furthermore, different online calculators provide different results depending on their own nutrition fact sources and algorithms. To obtain the most accurate nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator.

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Reviews & Comments

  • Can I use Smuckers sugar free apricot preserves instead of Bonne Maman apricot?

    • — Lynda Freedman on June 11, 2021
    • Reply
    • Sure, Lynda, that should work. Enjoy!

      • — Jenn on June 11, 2021
      • Reply
  • This was DELICIOUS! I ended up eating the entire batch myself, for dinner and then lunch over the next few days. Didn’t have mint, so next time I’ll add that. I did add some orange zest, a little bit of orange juice (before measuring the liquid) and some sliced dried apricots to the water before boiling it. After cooking, along with almonds added mandarin oranges. I put the salad dressing in my tiny Cuisinart mini-processor so the apricot preserves would make the dressing creamier.
    The flavors in the dish are wonderful.
    With the leftover dressing, the next night I poured it over a pork tenderloin before cooking. Awesome! Thank you Jenn! Another great recipe

    • — Laurie Ailworth on May 20, 2021
    • Reply
  • Winner! Fast, easy, delicious, and pretty! New favorite! Thank you!!

    • — Julie on May 4, 2021
    • Reply
  • Another great salad dish – I wasn’t sure about the apricot preserves but it was subtle & very good. Every salad I have tried so far are now my favorites!

    • — Sharon M. on April 18, 2021
    • Reply
  • Hi Jenn,

    Your recipes are stellar.

    On this recipe, I have never made couscous before. I carefully followed the directions, (I thought), I had ingredients prepped chopped etc., and I noticed you called for one and a half cups of water or broth, and the box asks for 1 1/4. I assume you intended the one and a half cups? ( all the recipes have turned out fabulous, except the texture on my couscous)
    I did mess up and not get to the fluffing part till couple minutes after the five minutes. I assume user error on my part there.( lol)
    I want to make this recipe and couscous again, so could you please give me advice about the one and a half cups of liquid?
    I am very grateful for your input and your recipes.
    I Have your first cookbook, and I’m looking forward to the next one.
    Thanks!!!

    • — Carol on March 16, 2021
    • Reply
    • Hi Carol, sorry to hear the texture of your couscous didn’t turn out as you expected. The couscous that I use actually calls for using 1:1 ratios of liquid and couscous, so if you found that you didn’t like the texture of it (and your package directions are different), feel free to cut back on the liquid the next time you make this. Also, glad to hear you like the first cookbook — the second one is coming out in September so stay tuned!

      • — Jenn on March 17, 2021
      • Reply
  • Do you think this would work with Quinoa instead of couscous? I have a whole bunch!

    • — Naomi on February 12, 2021
    • Reply
    • Sure!

      • — Jenn on February 12, 2021
      • Reply

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