Summer Couscous Salad

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This Summer Couscous Salad will be your new favorite! Roasted crisp corn, creamy avocado, sweet cherry tomatoes, tender couscous, and smooth mozzarella with an irresistible white balsamic vinaigrette!

Summer Couscous Salad

Summer Couscous Salad

Couscous salads have always been wildly popular on this site — for instance, Greek Couscous Salad, Italian Couscous Salad, and Chickpea Salad are all mega popular. So, today we’re adding to the collection with a personal favorite — this fresh and lively Summer Couscous Salad!

Ingredient shot: The items used in this recipe

Summer Couscous Salad Ingredients

  • Pearl couscous. Israeli couscous is also called pearled couscous; here’s what I use. It’s important to get the large balls of couscous for the right texture of this salad. Israeli couscous and regular (Moroccan) couscous are made with similar ingredients, but regular couscous is much smaller.
  • Cherry tomatoes. While any tomatoes will work, we love the sweetness and juiciness of cherry tomatoes — especially garden-fresh cherry tomatoes! Quarter large cherry tomatoes or halve smaller ones.
  • Fresh avocado. The avocado lends an amazing creamy texture to this salad. Wait for perfectly ripe avocados, as they make a huge difference in this salad. An avocado is ripe when it yields to gentle pressure (think: touching the tip of your nose). The avocado should not be at all squishy.
  • Mini mozzarella pearls. The mozzarella pearls are fun, but not entirely necessary. Larger mozzarella balls can be used instead– just cut them into quarters first. Alternatively, block mozzarella will work too. I recommend cutting block mozzarella into small 1/2-inch cubes.
  • Corn. More on this ingredient below!

QUICK TIP

What is couscous, anyway? They’re small grains of semolina–so that means they’re tiny pasta balls! Imagine taking a piece of spaghetti and cutting it into the teeniest, tiniest pieces possible. That’s couscous. Because the pieces are so small, they cook quickly.  Couscous is a fun way to serve pasta!

Process shots: add frozen corn to dry pan; roast and set aside to cool; combine couscous ingredients; cook until tender.

Let’s talk corn

There are a few different ways to prepare the corn for Summer Couscous Salad. While there is nothing like fresh sweet summer corn, frozen corn also works exceptionally well –especially for when you’re craving this salad in the dead of winter! 

And here are the options for roasting fresh summer corn:

  • Grill the corn on an outdoor grill until lightly charred all over. See the “quick tip” box below.
  • Grill the corn on an indoor grill pan until lightly charred all over.

QUICK TIP

How to grill corn: Remove the husks and silk. Rub vegetable or olive oil on all sides of the corn and sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper. Place on a heated grill (400-450 degrees F) and rotate every 3-4 minutes or until charred, about 12 minutes total. This also works on a grill pan.

If you don’t have fresh corn, I’d recommend one of the following preparation methods:

  • Buy pre-roasted canned corn (near regular canned corn in the grocery store) and use one can, drained.
  • Buy regular canned corn and roast it for a few minutes on the stovetop. More details on how to do that here.
  • Or, use frozen corn. Char it in a skillet until thawed and lightly roasted.

Let the corn fully cool before adding to this amazing salad.

Process shots: making the dressing by combining ingredients in a jar and shaking until combined.

The white balsamic vinaigrette is simple, mild, and adds the perfect finishing touch to this salad. Just combine all the ingredients into a jar and shake to combine. The dressing can be made in advance, but be sure to shake it up again before drizzling over this Summer Couscous Salad.

Summer Couscous Salad Dressing Ingredients

  • White balsamic vinegar. Don’t confuse it with white vinegar or balsamic vinegar (they are all different types of vinegar). White balsamic vinegar starts the same way that regular balsamic vinegar does but is pressure-cooked to prevent it from browning and it’s aged for a shorter time. The result is a less intense version of balsamic with a lighter, golden-hue, and milder (slightly sweeter) flavor.
  • Olive oil. Use good quality, extra virgin olive oil — the better your olive oil, the better the flavor of the dressing will be. Here are a few tips when trying to find good olive oil!
  • Dijon mustard. Make sure to use Dijon, not yellow mustard. There’s a big flavor difference! We love Grey Poupon® Dijon best.
  • Dried basil. Just a touch of dried basil adds a nice flavor to the salad. If you prefer, use oregano or Italian seasoning instead.
  • Honey. This is an ingredient you can play around with a bit in this dressing — add more for a sweeter salad and less for a tangier more savory flavor.

Process shots: Add salad ingredients to a large bowl and toss with the dressing.

Adding Protein to This Salad

 Summer Couscous Salad lends well to additional protein; I’d recommend leftover shredded rotisserie chicken — a lemon-herb flavored rotisserie chicken if you can find it! A side of grilled chicken is also a great option.

QUICK TIP

If adding a substantial amount of chicken into this salad, you may want to increase the amount of dressing.

Summer Couscous Salad

STORAGE

Storage

  • Once dressed, Summer Couscous Salad doesn’t sit very well with the dressing and avocado mixed into it. (The avocado browns and takes on an odd texture; the dressing wilts the veggies.)
  • If you aren’t planning to eat the entire salad at one sitting, toss and add dressing to the amount you’ll be eating at this time. Undressed, the salad stays fresh for 1-2 days. After a couple of days, the veggies, cheese, and avocado deteriorate significantly.

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Summer Couscous Salad

This Summer Couscous Salad will be your new favorite! Roasted crisp corn, creamy avocado, sweet cherry tomatoes, tender couscous, and smooth mozzarella with an irresistible white balsamic vinaigrette!
Print Recipe

Summer Couscous Salad

This Summer Couscous Salad will be your new favorite! Roasted crisp corn, creamy avocado, sweet cherry tomatoes, tender couscous, and smooth mozzarella with an irresistible white balsamic vinaigrette!
Course lunch, Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine American, Healthy
Keyword summer couscous salad
Prep Time 25 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 4 -6 servings
Calories 449kcal
Cost $12.11

Ingredients

  • 1 cup pearl couscous Note 1
  • 1-1/2 cups frozen corn
  • 2 cups (10.5 oz.) cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 cup mozzarella pearls
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • Optional: fresh herbs (basil or cilantro)

Dressing

  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar Note 2
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons honey Note 3
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • Fine sea salt & pepper

Instructions

  • CORN: Char the corn in a skillet until thawed and lightly roasted, or roast on a grill. Set aside to cool completely.
  • COUSCOUS: Follow package directions to cook couscous. Set aside to cool.
  • DRESSING: Combine all the dressing ingredients in a jar. Add salt and pepper to taste. (I add 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper.) Cover and shake the jar until ingredients are well combined. Use a spoon if needed to stir up settling honey.
  • SALAD: Combine the cooled corn and couscous in a large bowl. Add halved cherry tomatoes, mozzarella pearls, and diced avocado. If desired, add some fresh herbs. Drizzle dressing over the salad and gently toss to coat. Enjoy immediately!

Recipe Notes

Note 1: Couscous Israeli couscous is also called pearl couscous; here's what I use. It's important to get the large balls of couscous for the right texture of this salad. Israeli couscous and regular Moroccan couscous are made with similar ingredients, but regular couscous is much smaller.
Note 2: White balsamic vinegar: Not to be confused with white vinegar or balsamic vinegar, (they are all different types of vinegar). White balsamic vinegar starts the same way that regular balsamic vinegar does but is pressure-cooked to prevent it from browning and it's aged for a shorter time. The result is a less intense version of balsamic with a lighter, golden-hue, and milder (slightly sweeter) flavor.
Note 3Honey: If you prefer less sweetness, start with 1 tablespoon honey and increase from there.

Nutrition Facts

Calories: 449kcal | Carbohydrates: 51g | Protein: 11g | Fat: 24g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 15g | Cholesterol: 5mg | Sodium: 40mg | Potassium: 646mg | Fiber: 7g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 654IU | Vitamin C: 34mg | Calcium: 79mg | Iron: 2mg

We do our best to provide accurate nutritional analysis for our recipes. Our nutritional data is calculated using a third-party algorithm and may vary, based on individual cooking styles, measurements, and ingredient sizes. Please use this information for comparison purposes and consult a health professional for nutrition guidance as needed.

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2 Comments

  1. I see this salad is for 4-6 servings. Is the calorie content for the whole salad 449 calories, or per serving?? Could you tell me how many calories in 1 cup please?
    Thank you!

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