This summer couscous salad is the perfect summer salad with barely cooked zucchini, summer squash and corn. Some raisins are added for a Moroccan touch, and it's all tossed in a lemon-garlic vinaigrette.
Make this ahead and serve at room temperature. Take it to a potluck, serve at a dinner party, or make for a quick weeknight dinner.Jump to Recipe
Want to make this recipe perfectly the first time? I want to help with that. So, check out this Table of Contents to see which sections of this post will help you the most.
The beauty of this summer salad is that zucchini, yellow summer squash and corn barely needs any cooking. Two - three minutes at the most. And couscous cooks up in 5 minutes. Couscous is great for a vegetarian or vegan salad, like this baby bok choy salad with couscous, mangoes and strawberries.
Herbs like dill and mint make this summer couscous salad sing. But what makes this couscous salad special is the golden raisins.
It's a small thing, but raisins make grains salads come alive, like this Green Crispy Rice Salad with Herby Peas, one of my favorite salads on this blog.
🤷♀️ What is Moroccan Couscous?
The type of couscous used in this recipe is Moroccan couscous, named for where it originated. It's very popular in North African dishes where meat is scarce, and is used as a main portion of most meals.
Surprising to most, couscous is neither a grain nor a seed. Rather, it’s a form of pasta made of semolina and wheat flour that's moistened with water, and tossed together until it forms little balls.
Interestingly, I have found that this form of pasta is looked down upon by Italians, as many don't consider this a real pasta.
🧅 Main Ingredients + Notes
The secret to faster and easier meals often lies in the ingredients. For example, store-bought items and ingredients you make ahead and store in the refrigerator (or freezer) can turn a 60-minute recipe into a 30-minutes meal or less.
For the all of the ingredients, measurements and directions, go to the Recipe Card at the bottom of this post.
- Moroccan couscous - this not the same as Israeli couscous (also called pearl couscous).
- Yellow summer squash
- Corn - use frozen if fresh corn isn't available
- Shallots - a red onion also works great in this recipe.
- Golden Raisins - use dark raisins if that's all you have, but golden raisins work best.
- Pine nuts - I don't roast mine for this recipe, but you could if you wanted to increase the nut flavor of the dish.
- Fresh herbs - I use fresh dill and mint, but fresh oregano or marjoram would work well too.
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📝 Instructions Overview
Detailed instructions for making this Moroccan couscous salad are in the recipe card below, but here's an overview!
Make the vinaigrette. Make the vinaigrette, and smash a few garlic cloves. Add the garlic to the vinaigrette, and set aside.
Make the couscous. Pour the couscous into a baking dish. Bring some vegetable broth to a boil, and pour over the couscous. Cover with plastic and let sit for 5 minutes. Uncover and fluff with a fork
Sauté the veggies. Dice the zucchini and yellow summer squash, and mince the shallot. Cut the corn kernels from the cob.
Combine in a pan with a little olive oil, along with raisins and pine nuts. Sauté only long enough for the veggies to be al dente, about 2 minutes.
Finish with fresh herbs. Combine the veggies with the couscous, and toss gently with the herbs. Remove the garlic from the vinaigrette, and dress the couscous salad with most of it.
Serve. Serve at room temperature with a little extra dressing.
🥬 Make it Vegan
- Make this couscous recipe vegan by using agave nectar in place of honey.
💡Ideas for Possible Variations
- Add cooked chickpeas, or crispy chickpeas for a complete meal for vegetarians and vegans.
- Slice some cherry tomatoes in half and toss them into the salad along with sautéed, diced red bell pepper.
- Grilled halloumi cheese is a fabulous addition, or feta cheese, but it wouldn't be vegan.
- We are a mostly nut-free house due to allergies. If you don't need to worry about that, toasted almonds is a very nice addition for the flavor and the crunch.
🙋♀️ Can I Make This Salad Ahead?
- Yes, store in an airtight container for 3 - 4 days. Reserve some dressing to refresh the salad before serving.
Quick and Easy Moroccan Couscous Salad
- 1 cup vegetable broth (1 ¼ cup if cooking at high altitude)
- ¾ cup Moroccan style couscous
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 cup diced zucchini
- 1 cup diced yellow summer squash
- 1 cup corn kernels cut from a cob, or frozen
- ¼ cup finely chopped shallot
- ½ cup golden raisins
- ¼ cup pine nuts
- 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons slivers of fresh mint
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
- In a small bowl, whisk the lemon zest, lemon juice, honey, and olive oil. Add the smashed garlic cloves and let them macerate for 15 minutes.
- Bring the vegetable broth to a boil the microwave oven. Pour the couscous into a baking dish, and add the hot broth. Cover with plastic, and let sit for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork.
- In a skillet over medium high heat, warm up the olive oil. Add the shallot, and cook for 1 minute. Add the squash, zucchini, corn, golden raisins, pine nuts and salt. Sauté for only 2 minutes, and set aside to cool to room temperature.
- Serve at room temperature.