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

  • That was SO good! I’m looking forward to trying other couscous recipes. We had it with the Moroccan chicken and green beans. Dinner was quiet and seconds were had! Thank you for a great recipe.

    • — Kim on November 24, 2020
    • Reply
  • Wow, this was incredibly delicious. We didn’t have white wine vinegar on hand so substituted apple cider vinegar. Enjoyed the combination of apricot, almonds and scallions. Will certainly make again!

    • — LisaR on November 13, 2020
    • Reply
  • This was the best couscous I have ever had, we paired it with broccoli and salmon. It was the perfect dinner and was well received by our young kids.

    • — Autumn Carter on October 28, 2020
    • Reply
  • Do you think i could use quinoa instead? I just don’t want to run to the store for the couscous – i already have the quinoa 🙂

    • — danielle on August 24, 2020
    • Reply
    • Sure!

      • — Jenn on August 24, 2020
      • Reply
  • Would rice vinegar work?

    • — Rose on July 23, 2020
    • Reply
    • Sure, Rose, that should work. Hope you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on July 23, 2020
      • Reply
  • Just made this, followed recipe exactly as written except I lightly toasted the couscous before cooking, delicious as usual!

    • — Cheryl on July 16, 2020
    • Reply
  • Quick question about the amount of couscous in this recipe. The recipe states 10 ounces. I bought a box of couscous that is the same brand as the one shown in your photo, but it is 5.6 ounces. So, should I use 2 boxes, or is the amount in the recipe an error? I noticed the recipe also says 1 1/2 cups – is this dry?

    • — Christelle M Mahoney on June 30, 2020
    • Reply
    • Hi Christelle, I’m sorry for any confusion – while I show that box in the picture, I used that but added more for the recipe, so you do need a total of 10 ounces. Hope that clarifies and that you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on June 30, 2020
      • Reply
  • This couscous paired perfectly with the grilled morrocan chicken! I added a lot of salt at the end. Very tasty. Another great recipe!

    • — Darlene on June 8, 2020
    • Reply
  • Absolutely delicious!! And so quick to make.

    • — Lyne H on April 28, 2020
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  • Totally fabulous. I added a few chopped dried apricots. Great just as an addition to salad.

    • — Anne on March 28, 2020
    • Reply
  • Hi Jenn:
    Thank you for your time in order to bring us all fabulous easy recipes!—I used homemade peachy lavender jam in place of apricot and subbed apple juice for the wine. ?We really enjoyed it.
    thank you again
    yvonne

    • — Yvonne on February 24, 2020
    • Reply
    • I have some homemade peach preserves. Can I use that in place of the apricot?

      • — Tonya Pagel on August 22, 2020
      • Reply
      • Yep 🙂

        • — Jenn on August 22, 2020
        • Reply
  • Hi Jenn could you use quinoa instead? Thanks so much

    • — Melissa on February 16, 2020
    • Reply
    • Sure!

      • — Jenn on February 17, 2020
      • Reply
  • I was a little unsure of the mint so I went half mint/parsley (1 tbs each) as either were recommended. I actually really liked the mint in it. And I bought toasted almond slices from reading other reviews. It was delicious.

    • — Michelle on February 3, 2020
    • Reply
  • I’ve made this twice in three days. Once with a whole wheat coucous and once with regular couscous. Both turned out good. I used a Bon Maman Intense Apricot jam. I didn’t toast the almonds as some suggested but I think that would be a nice addition next time. While I like the dish I feel like it is missing something. Like maybe some diced dried or diced dried rehydrated apricots. As I mentioned in another review I made a meal out of the couscous and the yogurt dip that accompanied the Moroccan meatball recipe.

    • — Katrina on January 29, 2020
    • Reply
  • Your website and book are my first stop when I plan meals each week. We had your Moroccan Grilled chicken for lunch and loved it so much I used the same spice blend on grilled salmon this evening with the apricot couscous salad and sautéed asparagus as a side. The couscous salad was heavenly – as was the Moroccan spice on the salmon!! I’m only sad I didn’t double the recipe. 😊 Thank you for sharing your gift of cooking with all of us!!!

    • — Nicky A. on September 29, 2019
    • Reply
  • OMG! What a delicious salad/side dish. Made it with homemade apricot jam and served it next to grilled pork chops.Absolutely divine!
    Thanks Jenn!

    • — Vivi on August 7, 2019
    • Reply
  • Just made it. I suggest doubling because you will be taking bites of it all day long. Very tasty. Perfect amount of sweetness from the apricot. Love it! I followed recipe exactly but did toast the almonds. Next time, I will toast a few extra for garnish.

    • — Chriss on August 6, 2019
    • Reply
  • Another winner! Jenn I can’t tell you how many of your recipes I have made and are now in my collection of recipes. I’ve already made a few more than once! This is an amazing combination of flavors…the chicken broth, the couscous, the almonds, the apricots created such a wonderful side dish. I was hoping there would be some left for lunch today, but no such luck!

    • — LAURA COX on July 3, 2019
    • Reply
  • Hi Jen – should I lightly toast the almond slices first? Thanks!

    • — Jay on July 1, 2019
    • Reply
    • Sure, Jay, that would be nice. Hope you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on July 1, 2019
      • Reply
  • Another delicious (and easy!) recipe. We loved it. You could easily use quinoa if you wanted. Thanks, Jenn, for your creative and reliable recipes!

    • — Corinne Forster on June 30, 2019
    • Reply
  • This looks delicious, and I’m going to try it. I just wanted to give you a correction. The word “couscoussiére” should be “couscoussière”. In the recipe, the accent is backwards. 🙂

    • — Kathy on June 28, 2019
    • Reply
    • Thanks, Kathy – I just fixed it! 🙂

      • — Jenn on June 28, 2019
      • Reply
  • My picky husband loved this.! (He loves everything I make from Jenn but I never thought he’d love this and the Chicken Moroccan I served with it. I was afraid he’d lick the plate. So outside of things I’ve been cooking for 50 years. I like others on this site can not rave more about every recipe I’ve tried. Thank you Jenn.

    • — Carol Oneill on June 26, 2019
    • Reply
    • 💕

      • — Jenn on June 26, 2019
      • Reply
      • Excellent recipe: easy to prepare, flavorful, and versatile; it can be served with any number of roasted or grilled meats or fish. For my first try, I served it to company with your Roast Chicken with Carrots, Dates and Pistachios. Both dishes were delicious and received raves. I have not eaten much couscous in the past, but you have made me a convert.

        • — Jo-Anne B on January 19, 2020
        • Reply
  • Delicious! I used rice wine vinegar instead of white wine vinegar and pearl coucos because that was what I had on hand. I made it with the grilled chicken and it was a hit with my in laws. Thanks for another fabulous recipe!

    • — Denise on June 11, 2019
    • Reply
  • I accidentally got pearl couscous, would this work for this recipe and would I need to change anything with the cooking time etc?

    • — Denise on June 11, 2019
    • Reply
    • Hi Denise, pearled couscous will definitely work for the recipe but the cooking time for it may be a bit longer than traditional couscous. Just follow the timing guidance on the package. Enjoy!

      • — Jenn on June 11, 2019
      • Reply
      • Thanks appreciate your timely reply ! Looking forward to trying this recipe!

        • — Denise on June 11, 2019
        • Reply
      • Will this be good for a couple of days?

        • — Mary on July 2, 2020
        • Reply
        • Yep!

          • — Jenn on July 2, 2020
          • Reply
  • This dish is wonderful with the Grilled Moroccan Chicken recipe. Our family and friends like it too. It is my husband’s favorite chicken recipe.

    • — Charlene on May 12, 2019
    • Reply
  • Hi Jenn. I was just about to make this and realized I don’t have apricot preserves on hand. Do you think it would be OK to substitute a smooth mango chutney for the apricot? Thanks

    • — Suzanne on May 1, 2019
    • Reply
    • Yes, definitely – I think that sounds delicious!

      • — Jenn on May 1, 2019
      • Reply
  • Hi there,
    Love your recipes !! Would this side dish go well with the Spicy Chicken Thighs with sweet and tangy honey glaze?

    • — Cari on April 20, 2019
    • Reply
    • Yes, definitely. 🙂

      • — Jenn on April 21, 2019
      • Reply
  • This was a wonderful side with the Moroccan chicken. I did add chopped water chestnuts for a little crunch.

    • — Nina Quintal on April 11, 2019
    • Reply
  • I served this with your Filipino Chicken Adobo for a dinner party recently and I honestly had one guest yell to me while I was in the kitchen retrieving something: “This couscous is so good!” I honestly never thought someone would notice couscous like that but this recipe really sings. I used Apple Cider Vinegar, I toasted the almonds until nice and golden and nutty, and I used peach preserves b/c that is all I had. Outstanding. My husband is usually a low carb guy but he ate every last bit of these leftovers. Another great recipe, Jenn!!!

  • Any chance I can substitute Apple Cider Vinegar for the White Wine Vinegar?

    • Sure, Diane – that’s fine. 🙂

  • Super great especially with the Moroccan Chicken. A real winner!!

  • My husband loves this. I use toasted, slivered almonds instead of sliced and use both the Italian parsley and the mint.

  • 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.

  • 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!

  • 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?

    • 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!

      • 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!

        • Good to know- thanks so much for the follow-up Janet!

  • 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 :).

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

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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!

    • Hi Su, Yes, this recipe calls for less liquid because the couscous soaks up the dressing. Hope you enjoy!

      • 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!

  • 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!

    • Sure, Erin – I think feta would work here. Please let me know how it turns out!

  • 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!

    • 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.

  • 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!

    • 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!

      • 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)?

        • 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: 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
          • 🙂

            • — Jenn
  • 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!

  • 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?

    • 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.

  • 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!!

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