North by Northwest Couscous Salad is light and fresh with pearl couscous, fresh apricots, sweet currants and toasty hazelnuts. The dressing is a subtle lemon and olive oil base and the dish keeps really well for many days worth of happy lunches.
My birthday was this past week and I had the day off. For breakfast we went to our favorite coffee house, but for lunch I was on my own. The day was hot & sunny – which is exactly how I like my birthday to behave. After some careful consideration, I decided on a light and fresh couscous salad topped with my all-time favorite nut – the hazelnut.
Last summer about this time, I was in Seattle for my cousin’s wedding.
Back to the salad…
I spent some time in the airport waiting for my husband’s flight to land (he was at a conference + met me there) which meant I was going to enjoy an airport lunch.
SeaTac did not disappoint. I had a great couscous salad for lunch! I scribbled down notes to recreate it at home, stashed the notes in my stack of papers and a year later FINALLY decided to make it!
So here you have it, North by Northwest Couscous Salad and Happy 1 year Anniversary to Danielle and Brian!
Mix and match seasonal fruit and you can make this salad all year long.
- 1/2 tsp lemon zest
- 2 Tbs fresh squeezed lemon juice
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
- 1/4 tsp Kosher salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- 3 Tbs olive oil
- 1 cup tricolor couscous
- 1/4 tsp kosher salt
- 1 cup fresh apricots chopped (you could use apples, plums, or even dried apricots)
- 1 cup diced carrots
- 1 cup diced celery
- 4 Tbs currants or raisins
- 1 can -15oz garbanzo beans
- 1 cup whole hazelnuts toasted and chopped
- 1/3 cup diced red onion
- 1/2 cup chopped parsley loosely packed
Whisk the lemon zest, lemon juice, sugar, mustard and salt in a small bowl.
Slowly add the olive oil, whisking as you go, until emulsified.
*This can be made ahead of time.
Prepare the couscous according to package instructions. (I used Bob's Red Mill - 1 cup couscous, 1.25 cup boiling water, 1/4 tsp salt, 10 minute covered simmer + 4 min off heat, then fluff)
Toast and chop the hazelnuts. Approx. 10 min @ 350F.
Mix all the ingredients in a large bowl, toss with couscous and dressing. Serve!
This is a lightly dressed salad. Which means it will transport well and hold in the fridge for an easy to pack lunch. Some may want to double the dressing to give it a stronger punch - I prefer it this way - a light subtle lemony flavor.