Pomegranate couscous salad is a bright and fresh side dish that is perfect for a picnic but would also be a light and festive side dish for the holidays. It is a great make ahead salad recipe that can be served with almost any entree.
We eat with our eyes first, so the rich jewel tones of pomegranate arils, bright yellow pepper and bits of fresh green herbs are sure to draw you in. They are nestled in a bed of tender cousous for a fabulous fresh side dish.
Because there are no salad greens to wilt, this salad can easily be assembled ahead of time. If you are worried about the herbs wilting, you can always wait to chop and add them right before you serve the salad.
It travels well too, making it great for potluck carry-ins and picnics. Put some in a jar for a lovely part of your brown bag lunch at work.
Or make this couscous as a cool, bright and fresh addition to your Thanksgiving menu. It will be a beautiful addition to your holiday table.
It would be wonderful as a side dish for your Christmas ham. It would also be fabulous with grilled chicken, pork or fish throughout the summer as well.
This pomegranate couscous salad is fabulous just the way it is written, but salads like this can easily be adjusted to match your taste preferences.
Couscous has such a soft texture and neutral flavor that carries the taste of all of the add ins so beautifully. But you can easily substitute in other options.
You could also use cooked orzo or even some farro. Pearled barley would be another great option.
You can also use your favorite fresh herbs, or whatever you have on hand. A different mix of herbs can easily adjust the flavor profile.
Frequently asked questions
What can you use in place of sumac?
If you don’t have sumac, you can replace it with a little bit of lemon pepper seasoning. Or use a little lemon or lime zest. If you don’t have any of those, you can leave it out but it does bring great bright flavor to the salad dressing.
What is couscous?
Couscous looks like a grain, but it is actually a very small pasta. It is made with semolina flour and water. Because of its small size, it cooks very quickly and lends itself well as a base to many different dishes.
More fresh side dish options
Mediterranean grape orzo salad is another great recipe. It pairs sweet grapes with salty feta cheese along with plenty of herbs and a base of orzo pasta.
Summer corn salad is another great bright salad with loads of vegetables. Fresh summer vegetables like corn, cucumbers and tomatoes come together to make the perfect summer side dish.
Texture and flavor abound in mizuna greens and quinoa salad. Don’t worry if you can’t find mizuna greens, kale would be a fabulous substitute.
Or make a Mediterranean couscous salad with cucumbers, tomatoes, artichokes and more.
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Pomegranate Couscous Salad
- 1 cup uncooked couscous
- 3 green onions chopped
- 1 yellow bell pepper in small cubes
- 2 small pomegranates
- ½ cup chopped fresh parsley
- ¼ cup chopped fresh mint
- Salt and pepper to taste
- ½ cup olive oil
- 3 Tablespoons lime juice
- 1 Tablespoon maple syrup
- 2 teaspoons sumac
- Cook couscous according to package directions. Fluff the grain with a fork. Let cool.
- Meanwhile, whisk together the ingredients for the dressing.
- Cut pomegranates in half. To prevent any mess, use a large bowl of water, hold a pomegranate in the water and then remove the seeds. Drain the water and keep the arils.
- In a large bowl, add the cooked couscous, green onions, bell pepper, pomegranate arils, parsley and mint. Toss gently to combine.
- Add the dressing and mix to combine everything
- Season with salt and pepper to taste