16 August 2010

Kitchen adventures: Couscous chicken salad

By: Jessica B.
Tagged: Food

Yes, I’m back in the kitchen after WAY too long of a break. Oh, I missed cooking on Sundays, while listening to music and Googling simple kitchen techniques. Seriously, I do that.

I’ve mentioned before that I love pasta and carbs. So much so that I might become a walking carb myself. Pasta, bread, you name it, I love it.

But in the summer, rather than bake a casserole with pasta, I’m looking to lighten up my food. Something still carby yummy but cool and easy to prepare without heating up the kitchen.

And lately, I’ve been falling in love with two things: quinoa and couscous.

These babies are my new b*tches. I love cooking with them. And after finding success with quinoa, I tried my luck with couscous this weekend. Here was the result:

Yeah, food styling fail. I know.

Couscous Chicken Salad (MyRecipes)


  • 1 1/2  cups  fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
  • 12  ounces  skinless, boneless chicken breasts
  • 1  (10-ounce) package couscous
  • 1  cup  chopped fresh basil
  • 1/4  cup  EVOO
  • 3  tablespoons  sherry vinegar
  • 3/4  teaspoon  salt
  • 1/4  teaspoon  freshly ground black pepper
  • 1  garlic clove, minced
  • 1 1/2  cups  halved cherry tomatoes
  • 1  cup  sliced green onions
  • 1  (15 1/2-ounce) can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained and rinsed


Bring broth to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add chicken; cover, reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes or until chicken is done. Remove chicken using a slotted spoon; set aside. Cool slightly, and coarsely chop.

While chicken cools, add couscous to broth; stir well. Cover and let stand 10 minutes. Place couscous in a large bowl; cool completely. Fluff with a fork. Stir in basil and next 5 ingredients (basil through garlic). Add chopped chicken, tomatoes, onions, and chickpeas; toss gently to combine. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours or overnight (not necessary but good to enhance the flavor).

Verdict: Yummy, yummy, yummy

Okay, I’m still mastering how long to cook this because I overdid the poached chicken and couscous, but it still worked! I also skipped the chickpeas because I only like them in hummus and I still loved this dish.

It was light, super fast to prepare and had a nice sweet flavor without overdoing it. The tomatoes are key to include and really, I could have used a bit more basil. It added such a nice flavor. Feel free to cut back on the EVOO too though, it’s easy to overdo it.

I can’t wait to cook with couscous again.

What do you like to make in the summer to keep the kitchen and house cool? Are you a pasta lover?


  1. Heidi Renée says:

    I adore couscous and quinoa. They’re my go-to grain when I’m throwing together a light dinner and not using a recipe.

  2. i’ve yet to try couscous or quinoa, i should really get on the bandwagon! thanks for sharing the recipe :)

  3. Allison says:

    i love cous cous and the BF actually said to me last night, “we’ve been eating this a lot lately.” Yes, well pasta isn’t the only carb we can eat.

  4. I am yet to try couscous. I should get on that! Maybe I’ll try this recipe minus the chicken :)

  5. Kate says:

    I cannot even tell you how much guacamole I’ve eaten this summer to avoid using the oven. You would think I’d be sick of it by now, but no.

    I love couscous! Sometimes I use Israeli couscous (bigger grains than the regular stuff) in soups to create something akin to a risotto. Good stuff.

  6. molly says:

    I’m totally obsessed with Quinoa!!!

  7. nic says:

    I think this sounds and looks awesome. I’m thinking maybe it’d make a nice little dinner for the boy and I. We’re trying to lighten up our evening eating- too many nights of heavy omelettes at the Melrose! Thank you for sharing!

  8. Kyla Roma says:

    This looks tasty! I love cooking, but in the summer it’s so so hot! We only have an in window air conditioner so in the summer we make a lot of salads, and try to BBQ everything else :)

  9. Ooh if you love couscous and quinoa you should try bulgur–another great grain!

  10. Erin says:

    Mmmmmm, that looks delicious. I will definitely have to try it once I’m off this stupid carb-restricted diet!

  11. Ooo, that sounds good. I’ll have to try it.

  12. kimmy says:

    i’m a salad freak in the summer time. my new obsession is Ellie Krieger’s newest book “So Easy”. simple recipes but w/ fresh ingredients. there’s an AMAZING chicken salad w/ apples and mostly greek yogurt (instead of tons of mayo..ick!) and a yummy panzanela salad that i’ve been making alot.

  13. Maki says:

    Yes, this looks really good. The colors look great too! Keep them coming – love your recipe! xoxo

  14. mandy says:

    Sounds great. I havent been cooking much either this summer. I’m just not in the mood when I get home from work. A bowl of cereal is just so much easier. =)

  15. Erin says:

    Couscous is definitely one of my favorite carbs. Especially the big pearl kind. Although the smaller kind is easier to cook and harder to screw up so I tend to stick with that.

  16. Akirah says:

    How fun! I may have to make a variation of this…I just bought a box of whole wheat couscous from Trader Joe’s.