Warm Couscous Salad with Apricot Vinaigrette

5 stars based on 33 votes


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.


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 couscoussiére. The base pot holds a meat or vegetable stew and a steamer on top holds the couscous, 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.


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


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


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


Pour the vinaigrette over the warm couscous.


Chop the scallions and herbs.


Then toss them with couscous along with the sliced almonds.


Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper and serve.


This recipe was adapted and modified from Real Simple magazine.

My Recipe Videos

Warm Couscous Salad with Apricot Vinaigrette

Servings: 4-6
Total Time: 30 Minutes


  • 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


  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.
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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.

Reviews & Comments

  • 5 stars

    Absolutely loved this! It was an excellent accompaniment to a spice-rubbed grilled chicken thigh recipe I made. It’s super quick and easy to make. I used the fresh mint and thought it was perfect. My only recommendation is to double the recipe. Four of us finished it all and I’m sure our guests would have loved more if we’d had it! This will be on repeat for summer barbecues with friends.

    - Aimee on July 3, 2018 Reply
  • 2 stars

    This is the first recipe from Jenn I didn’t enjoy. I can’t say what I don’t like about it but it just didn’t make me want to eat more. But will try more of her recipes!

    - Dina on May 30, 2018 Reply
  • I’m making this with the Moroccan grilled chicken and Moroccan Carrot and Chickpea salad. I already heavily sampled the carrot salad which is delicious! I do not have scallions. Would you sub shallots, onions or red onions instead or just do without?

    - Janet on May 5, 2018 Reply
    • Hi Janet, Any if those will work – I’d probably go with red onions for a little color but I’d definitely soak them in water for 10 minutes then drain to take the bite out of them. Hope your dinner is delicious!

      - Jenn on May 5, 2018 Reply
      • 5 stars

        Thanks as usual Jenn, dinner was definitely delicious! I wanted to follow up and saw that before I got your feedback I had gone ahead and used shallots. I would not actually recommend them as I felt it gave this couscous a crunch that did not seem right (though I like the almonds). The scallions are a better texture. I do like crunch in my couscous when I make it with greek salad ingredients of cucumber, onion, tomato, green pepper, and feta with a dijon red wine vinagrette but it didn’t seem right here. loved the carrot salad with it too!

        - Janet on May 8, 2018 Reply
        • Good to know- thanks so much for the follow-up Janet!

          - Jenn on May 9, 2018 Reply
  • 5 stars

    We made this dish tonight to accompany your grilled moroccan chicken. It was my first attempt making any cous cous dish & it won’t be the last. It was so easy. I made the dish as written. Adding mint instead of parsley. My husband & I loved the flavours & would absolutely make again. It was quick enough for a weeknight meal. Love dishes like this that are so easy but flavour is so nice it seems like it should have been more difficult :).

    - TracyV on January 18, 2018 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Such a great and unique salad that goes with so many dishes! I used walnuts instead of almonds and it was perfect!

    - Ashley on October 2, 2017 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I just made this and it is absolutely delicious! I can’t stop sampling it. I made it with the Near East Whole Grain Wheat Couscous. Thank you for the recipe.

    - Betsy on September 11, 2017 Reply
  • 5 stars

    This is a great quick and easy recipe. I substituted quinoa for couscous and plum preserve for apricot because we had just made some. I only added about 2 tbs of the vinagrette to the quinoa because it isn’t as absorbant as couscous. It tasted delicious! It was a big hit. I served it with the moroccan meatballs, cucumber dill yogurt sauce and steamed carrots.

    - Kim Green on August 19, 2017 Reply
  • Hi Jenn – first of all, thank you so much for all your wonderful recipes! I especially appreciate the way you try to simplify things for the home cook who may not have much time or formal culinary training. Regarding the cooking instructions for the couscous – my husband claims that the brand you used was not available at our grocery store tonight so he bought a different one. I notice that you reduced the amount of liquid you used to cook your couscous – should I proportionally change mine as well? (The cooking instructions for the one I have normally call for a 1:1 ratio of liquid to couscous – should I reduce the liquid)? Thanks!

    - Su on July 3, 2017 Reply
    • Hi Su, Yes, this recipe calls for less liquid because the couscous soaks up the dressing. Hope you enjoy!

      - Jenn on July 4, 2017 Reply
      • 5 stars

        Thanks so much for the speedy reply (on a holiday, no less)! I reduced the liquid to 1.25 cups of chicken broth for the 1.5 cups of couscous, and I loved the final texture/consistency. Even the vinaigrette alone was addictive – I couldn’t stop sneaking tastes of it! It was wonderful with some spicy ribs and the recipe you posted for cilantro lime sweet corn. My family loves your recipes!

        - Su on July 4, 2017 Reply
  • Hi!! I’m looking forward to trying on one of these warm summer days! Would Feta crumbles go well tossed in or would it be too much? Thank you!

    - Erin on May 21, 2017 Reply
    • Sure, Erin – I think feta would work here. Please let me know how it turns out!

      - Jenn on May 22, 2017 Reply
  • I would like to serve this with pulled lamb.. do you think if i sub the apricot jam for mint jelly…would the flavours work?
    ps LOVE your recipes!

    - Georgina on May 20, 2017 Reply
    • Hi Georgina, I do think it’d work (so long as the jelly isn’t green — that would turn the couscous an unappetizing color!) but you could also keep the recipe as is, and serve the lamb with mint jelly on the side.

      - Jenn on May 20, 2017 Reply
  • Hoping–this might be able to be made a day ahead and served cold? One reviewer mentioned it was “yum” either way…understand warm would be best but would cold be bad? Make ahead meals for entertaining are much preferred. Thanks for any thoughts!

    - Diane on May 17, 2017 Reply
    • Hi Diane, It’s totally fine to make this a day ahead. Instead of serving it cold, I’d suggest reheating it or bringing it to room temperature before serving. Also, I’d add the dressing right before serving. Enjoy!

      - Jenn on May 17, 2017 Reply
      • Great to know! Thanks so much! Forgot to ask: Can I substitute Apple Cider Vinegar for White Wine Vinegar? Can I make the dressing the night before and leave it out at room temp so mixes better (worried preserves will gel up)?

        - Diane on May 18, 2017 Reply
        • Hi Diane, apple cider vinegar would work here. And I think you could leave the dressing out, but I might refrigerate it and then pop it in the microwave for 5 – 10 seconds to thin it out if necessary.

          - Jenn on May 19, 2017 Reply
          • Jenn: You are the best. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate being able to read your website and learn from you. Every recipe I try makes people happy. Thank you.

            - Diane on May 19, 2017
          • 🙂

            - Jenn on May 19, 2017
  • 5 stars

    I prepared this cous-cous last Tuesday for a dinner meeting my husband organized. Served with grilled chicken and a green salad this stood out as the star of the table and was loved by all. Several of the ladies asked for “my” recipe and I was happy to tell them about Jenn’s website!

    - Karen Aamodt on May 11, 2017 Reply
  • I reviewed the nutrition box for the Warm Couscous Salad with Apricot Vinaigrette, there are 52g of carbs. I have heard there are good carbs and bad carbs and wondering what couscous falls under? Where would the salt be coming from in the recipe?

    - NS on April 27, 2017 Reply
    • Hi NS, Couscous, while not unhealthy, is not a whole grain. If you wanted to up the nutrition in this recipe, you could always try it with whole wheat couscous. I haven’t tried it that way, but I think it’d work nicely. Regarding the sodium, while the recipe calls for low sodium broth, I suspect that’s where most of the sodium comes from.

      - Jenn on April 27, 2017 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Wonderful recipe. My husband is a Moroccan Jew and I love yo find new things to make for him in the US. He had a couscousierre but it was lost in transit alas. We love your sight and make so many things you post. Thank you for sharing!!

    - Alita DeVere on April 27, 2017 Reply
  • Hi Jenn,
    Would I be able to double this recipe? I want to make it for a dinner party and I will have 8 guests.

    Thank you!

    Kristen Berry

    - Kristen Berry on April 7, 2017 Reply
    • Yep, no problem :).

      - Jenn on April 7, 2017 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Yumm!! Warm or cold – yum. Substitute brown rice – yum. Serve with the Grilled Moroccan Chicken- yumm!!

    - Tiffany on February 15, 2017 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Love this side with the grilled moroccan chicken. Wonderful blend of flavors and very easy to make. Another winner!

    - BD on February 15, 2017 Reply
  • 5 stars

    This was really good, I used whole wheat spelt couscous. I like a couple of other reviews felt it might be too sweet; so to maintain the apricot taste without adding the sweetness of preserves, I just cut up about 4 or 5 dried apricots and let them marinade in the oil for an hour or so. Then proceeded to make the recipe as directed. Used lemon juice instead of vinegar. Turned out great!

    - Gwyneviere on January 15, 2017 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I love this as a side dish with fish. I usually have any leftovers for lunch the next day. I absolutely love the flavours and texture of the dish.

    - Elizabeth on December 4, 2016 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I paired this with the middle eastern chicken kabobs and it was SO good. Great flavor combo. Also added grilled asparagus giving us a little more greens.

    - Arielle Troiano on October 8, 2016 Reply
  • 5 stars

    This couscous was so good! I didn’t have the apricot jam so I used my homemade peach jam- it turned out so nice! I used one less tbs to make sure it wasn’t too sweet. My husband loved it with the Moroccan chicken.

    - Daniella on August 9, 2016 Reply
  • Can I use peach jam instead of the apricot? I made some home made jam and don’t have apricot.

    - Daniella on August 9, 2016 Reply
    • Sure Daniella, that would be fine. Enjoy!

      - Jenn on August 10, 2016 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Easy, beautiful and delicious.

    - Joanne Kalk on July 30, 2016 Reply
  • 5 stars

    This was a perfect side dish with our grilled chicken kebabs. The adults loved it, but it was not a hit with the kids.

    - Tracy on June 19, 2016 Reply
  • Jenn – have you tried this with quinoa yet? I would like to make it but need a gluten free grain.

    - Laura on May 14, 2016 Reply
    • Sure Laura, it should be fine to use quinoa instead. Enjoy!

      - Jenn on May 15, 2016 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Thanks so much for your delicious and easy to make recipes. Especially appreciated as no one has taught me to cook and I don’t feel confident in the kitchen, so just learning on my own. I sometimes get intimidated by recipes requiring complicated techniques but these are easy and turn out so well. I made this couscous with the Morroccan chicken and everyone loved both. I liked that something so easy could turn out so well.

    - Steve on February 13, 2016 Reply
  • Since I don’t love couscous, may I use rice?

    - Barbara on January 9, 2016 Reply
    • Definitely!

      - Jenn on January 9, 2016 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I made this as a side with the Moroccan Chicken and it was a very generous meal. The tastes blended together perfectly and we could not get enough. Thank you for your recipes. I haven’t found one I didn’t love!

    - Jackie on December 5, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    This recipe is wonderfully easy, colorful, and absolutely delicious! Made it to go along with parmesan baked chicken and the slight sweetness of the apricot preserves was the perfect compliment! Another winner Jenn! Thank you!

    - Diane Miness on October 29, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Loved this easy to make (and easy to double) side dish. It was very easy to make it ahead of time – we ate it at room temperature and it was delish! I will be making this again for sure. I toasted the almonds because my husband is allergic to raw nuts, but otherwise I followed the directions exactly. Yum!

    - Debby on September 14, 2015 Reply
  • Could this work with the Hoisin ribs if I use parsley?

    - Susan on September 10, 2015 Reply
    • Hi Susan, Yes, I think it will work well.

      - Jenn on September 17, 2015 Reply
  • 4 stars

    I followed the recipe the first time I made it and it turned out great. Second time, I substituted quinoa for the couscous. Don’t do it! It turned into a wet soppy salad that we eventually pitched. Next time I will just use whole wheat couscous.

    - Ryan on August 29, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I did make this on Monday with some grilled fish…. I loved the flavor combo, I do have to say I did not have the couscous so I used quinoa instead and loved it.

    - Fran on August 27, 2015 Reply
  • 4 stars

    I have always like couscous but have never thought to add apricot flavor. Sounds delicious!

    - Rebecca B on August 27, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    This is a divine recipe. Thank you!!

    - trish on August 27, 2015 Reply
  • Can this recipe work with freshly squeezed lemon juice instead of white wine vinegar?

    - Cristina on May 23, 2015 Reply
    • Sure, Cristina — that would be fine!

      - Jenn on May 23, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I am planning on using this for a luncheon. Is it best to make this day of or can it be made the day before? Add dressing if made the day before or wait until you are serving it? Am also using your lemon poundcake. It is wonderful. Thank you

    - Maria McCabe on April 19, 2015 Reply
    • Hi Maria, It’s fine to make it a day ahead and either reheat or bring to room temperature before serving. I would add the dressing right before serving. Enjoy!

      - Jenn on April 19, 2015 Reply
  • Re this couscous with apricot dressing, (which sounds delicious), would you recommend serving it with the Moroccan chicken recipe and with the carrot-walnut-cranberry slaw or would the two side dishes be too similar in flavour, with the fruity taste in each? Thanks..your recipes sound great!

    - Steve on April 13, 2015 Reply
    • Hi Steve, It pairs beautifully with the Moroccan chicken. If you wanted to serve the salad, I would probably do it as a first course instead of a side. You might also like my Moroccan Carrot Slaw.

      - Jenn on April 13, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Another winner, Jenn! I made this last night to serve with Moroccan chicken and the roasted carrots with curry. Wow…my husband is still talking about it. I’m a real foodie and have always used FoodNetwork and Epicurious as my inspiration, but for the last couple of months your website is the first place I go. I use your recipes at least 3 times a week. Made your tilapia the other night and it was delish and so easy. I’ll be trying the lemon pound cake for Easter to serve with your fabulous leek quiche.
    Happy Passover!

    - Linda on April 3, 2015 Reply
  • sounds delicious, could you substitute quinoa for the couscous? thank you

    - rita on April 1, 2015 Reply
    • Hi Rita, Yes that’d be fine.

      - Jenn on April 1, 2015 Reply
      • thanks for getting back so fast! can’t wait to try!

        - rita on April 1, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    What a wonderful salad. I grew to love couscous while living in Brazil for a couple years. However, I never had it as the above recipe. All I can say is I am a huge fan. The apricot vinaigrette puts this dish over the edge. I served this along side the Crispy Tandoori Chicken Drumsticks with Mango Chutney on Jenn’s site. The two together were amazing.

    For my tastes, the next time I make it I will probably put a little less olive oil in the vinaigrette due to the end product having an olive oil taste (or maybe I need to use better olive oil). But other than that I will definitely be making this one again.

    - Mike C. on March 21, 2015 Reply
  • 3 stars

    I didn’t love this recipe…but then again I didn’t have the mint on hand, so not sure if that made a huge difference. I suppose I wasn’t a huge fan of the dressing. The apricot jam tasted super sweet in the dressing to me.

    - Emily on March 19, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Made this on Friday along w/ the Thai Chicken Skewers – so delicious! followed the recipes *exactly* and everything was fantastic. i wouldn’t change a thing on either. (Used 100% of the marinade on the cous cous. I made the dish in advance and stirred in 3/4 of the marinade b/c I feared it would all absorb and leave the dish dry. Then when it was time to serve I added the remaining 1/4 of the marinade to freshen it up.)

    - Lindsay on August 4, 2014 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Another winner! Easy with big flavor pay off.

    - Julia on July 18, 2014 Reply
  • 5 stars

    This is a simple, deceptively flavorful, couscous that goes well with so many dishes. My family loves it!

    - Dani on July 3, 2014 Reply
  • Lundberg makes a brown rice based couscous that is fabulous

    - Carole on April 3, 2014 Reply
  • What a wonderful interpretation of Moroccan food … This couscous salad sounds incredibly intriguing. I can’t wait to try it!

    - Josephine on April 3, 2014 Reply
  • I just made this salad and it is absolutely delicious! I used the mint and the chicken broth. I love everything about it, and look forward to having a wonderfully healthy lunches this week with my apricot couscous.

    - Pilar Keyes on March 23, 2014 Reply
  • I made this for a romantic dinner for my girlfriend, and she couldn’t get enough! She had multiple servings in one night. Needless to say, the salad didn’t last the weekend! It went really well with the filet mignon with gorgonzola sauce I made too.

    - Marina on February 22, 2014 Reply
  • I made this for Rosh Hashana this year, and it was a big hit! The apricot dressing gives it so much flavor. Highly recommend for a dinner party!

    - Michelle on November 8, 2013 Reply
  • This didn’t suite my palette entirely because I tend to favor salty over sweet but I thought the recipe itself was still delicious so I would really like to see another couscous related recipe with a different flavor.

    - Jenni on November 5, 2013 Reply
  • I made this for Rosh Hashana this year, and it was a big hit! The apricot dressing gives it so much flavor. Highly recommend for a dinner party!

    - Michelle on November 5, 2013 Reply
  • Love this, ate it with your Moroccan grilled chicken — winning combination!

    - Abby on October 22, 2013 Reply
  • I love this couscous recipe! I added some yellow raisins to it yesterday and loved the sweetness. When I have it for lunch, I always heat it up for 30 seconds in the microwave first.

    - Kathy L. Wells on July 31, 2013 Reply
  • My husband and I went on vacation with 3 other couples and I made this dish along with your Morrocan Chicken. What a hit! Made chicken salad with the left over chicken and it was GREAT!

    My friend said we should make the chicken salad for the fall fashion show we are planning, because it was so good.

    Thanks for the recipes…love them.

    - Patricia Brady on July 12, 2013 Reply
  • Ok, I just made this with quinoa and it is now gone. I ate it all myself. I discovered that it tastes better and has better consistency if you leave it sitting there for a while. Half hour should do it. I used water to cook the quinoa because I haven’t had good experiences with chicken or vegetable broth and quinoa. I forgot to add salt so that was a problem. Definitely add the mint. The mix of flavor between the onion and the mint is perfect.

    - Sophia on June 27, 2013 Reply
  • Hi, Jenn. The box of couscous I use (same brand as in your photo) calls for 2 cups of liquid for the 10 oz. box. Are you reducing the cooking liquid for the recipe?

    - Liesel on June 26, 2013 Reply
    • Hi Liesel, Yes because the couscous will absorb some of the vinaigrette.

      - Jenn on June 26, 2013 Reply
  • Jenn,
    I went to my local grocer a couple of days after this post to buy Bonne Maman apricot preserves. The shelves were fully stocked except the apricot which was half gone. I couldn’t help but think you must have a few followers in my neighborhood.

    - Danita on June 26, 2013 Reply
    • I hope so, Danita! Thank you 🙂

      - Jenn on June 28, 2013 Reply
  • Can I use Israeli Couscous with this recipe? It looks great!

    - Mitzi on June 24, 2013 Reply
    • Hi Mitzi, I suppose you could, but Israeli couscous definitely cooks differently so you should follow the package instructions instead of mine. The rest would be the same. Hope you enjoy!

      - Jenn on June 24, 2013 Reply
  • It tasted amazing!!! Thanks you so much. And the apricot jam is my new favorite jam. 🙂

    - Genevieve on June 24, 2013 Reply
    • Hi Genevieve, Thanks for being the first to review. So glad you liked it!

      - Jenn on June 24, 2013 Reply
  • This is such a great combination of ingredients and flavors. Love it. I was thinking “chicken” as i read it. Glad to know that is what you recommend.

    Wishes for tasty dishes,
    [email protected] Contessa

    - Linda on June 20, 2013 Reply
  • Damn! Once again you pick one of my favorite foods and ramp it up to make it even better.

    How you know my taste so well, girl??

    I love how you present all your recipes.


    - MickMil on June 20, 2013 Reply
  • What grain, if any, would you suggest for a gluten-free version of this? (I have several relatives with celiac disease.)

    PS: The curried roasted carrots are some of the best things I’ve ever eaten! I love your website.

    - Jean on June 20, 2013 Reply
    • Hi Jean, Thank you! I think this dish would be fabulous with quinoa.

      - Jenn on June 20, 2013 Reply
  • OMG this sounds so awesome. My kids love couscous so I might have to hide this recipe. (I avoid semolina for my gut health.) What do you think of making it with quinoa?

    - Sophia on June 20, 2013 Reply
    • Yes, quinoa would be great!

      - Jenn on June 20, 2013 Reply
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