The perfect summer tomato and pearl couscous salad: nutty toasted couscous cooked in vegetable stock and tossed with tomatoes, herbs, and greens. This post is sponsored by Progresso Foods. Thanks for supporting the brands that make Brooklyn Supper possible! Jump to recipe.
It’s high summer, and stepping out into the July afternoon humidity feels roughly similar to taking a bath. The girls helicopter their arms, pretending to swim through the murky air as we head to the pool. The cicadas, ever heat-loving, drone so loudly they interrupt our evening conversations on the stoop. The leaves (and egg yolks) have gone pale from the heat, and the garden insists on a daily drenching.
In this heat, I’d like to forgo food altogether, or subsist on only fruit, but my stomach just isn’t having it.
I made the first version of this salad early last week without any plans to write about it. But it was so good, so easy, and so accommodating that by the time I made the second version, I knew it was time to share. The version photographed here is so pretty in the bowl with the tomatoes and and feta and greens and herbs arranged just so, but the secret power of this salad is that after the picture is snapped and the first round of salad eaten, it can be spooned into a container (photogenic or otherwise) and will keep perfectly for days.
My salad takes its cues from a classic tabbouleh but swaps out toasted pearl couscous for traditional bulgur. The recipe features another swap too – instead of cooking the couscous in water, I boosted the flavor with Progresso Vegetable Cooking Stock. Progresso’s stock is made with simple, fresh ingredients and makes for couscous that’s irresistibly nutty and herbaceous. To the couscous I added piles of heirloom tomatoes, copious chopped herbs and a mix of greens from the garden, sheep’s milk feta, and a dead simple olive oil and lemon dressing.
And then, we ate and enjoyed it all week.
The perfect summer tomato and pearl couscous salad: a nutty toasted pearl couscous cooked in vegetable stock and tossed with summer tomatoes, herbs, and greens.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 1/2 cups dry pearl couscous
- 1 2/3 cup Progresso Vegetable Cooking Stock
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt, plus more for finishing
- 2 cups chopped heirloom tomatoes (I used a mix of cherry and slicers)
- 2 cups chopped dark, leafy greens (such as kale, collards, spinach, or chard)
- 1/2 cup chopped basil leaves (I used a mix of green and purple)
- 1/2 cup chopped parsley
- 2 large or 3 small green onions, ends trimmed, and sliced thin
- 4 ounces sheep's milk feta, drained and crumbled
- freshly ground black pepper
- 1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon sherry vinegar
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
In a small saucepan, heat vegetable stock to a vigorous simmer.
At the same time, set a wide 2-quart saucepan over medium/medium-high heat. Add olive oil. When oil starts to shimmer, add couscous. Cook stirring almost constantly until the couscous is golden and smells nutty, 3 - 5 minutes. Edge heat down or pull pan from heat if it starts to burn. Stir hot stock into couscous, add 1/2 teaspoon sea salt, stir, cover, and turn heat to low. Cook 10 minutes, or until couscous is cooked through and all the water is absorbed, fluff with a spoon, and cool for 10 minutes.
To make dressing, use a fork to combine lemon juice, sherry vinegar, and sea salt. Whisk in olive oil.
To plate the salad, toss couscous, herbs, greens, and green onions with half the dressing. Taste and add sea salt as needed. Arrange in a bowl, scatter feta on top, and cover a section with tomatoes. Finish the tomatoes with a generous pinch of sea salt and a twist or two of pepper, and serve.
Toss leftovers together in a big container. Salad will keep well sealed in the fridge for 5 days.
Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Progresso Foods. Brooklyn Supper is happy to partner with the brands we use in our own kitchen and we hope you’ll use them too!