Like many grain-based dishes, wholemeal couscous salad can be a little bland without lots of added flavourings, provided here by the peppers, spring onions and parsley, while the pistachios give a lovely texture. The baby red peppers come in a jar; they give a hit of sweet, piquant flavour and are also great stuffed with a little cream cheese as hors d’oeuvres alongside olives.
Wholemeal couscous is less refined and contains a bit more fibre, but standard couscous would also work well. Whichever you use, it’s the ultimate grain for speedy cooking – made from steam-dried semolina, it just needs to be rehydrated in stock, as here, or boiling water. This goes well with the Lamb Tagine.
PREP TIME: 10 minutes
COOK TIME: 2-3 minutes, plus soaking
300g (11oz) wholemeal couscous
4 tbsp olive oil
450ml (15fl oz) boiling vegetable or chicken stock
100g (4oz) shelled pistachios
1 large bunch of parsley, chopped
1 bunch of spring onions, sliced
12 mild piquant baby red peppers in oil (from a jar), drained and sliced
juice of 1½ lemons
1. Place the couscous in a large bowl, add 1 tablespoon of the oil and mix to coat the grains. Pour over the boiling stock, stir and cover the bowl with clingfilm. Leave for 10 minutes until soft, then fluff up the grains with a fork to break up any that have clumped together.
2. Heat a frying pan until hot. Toast the nuts for 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly until golden brown (see note). Roughly chop and add to the couscous.
3. Add the parsley, spring onions, peppers, lemon juice and the remaining oil to the bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper and stir well.
4. Serve cold or warm.
Toasting the pistachios is worth doing as it brings out the flavour. Watch them like a hawk so they don’t burn!
Can be made up to 6 hours ahead and kept in the fridge.
Not suitable for freezing.
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