I was inspired by Middle Eastern flavours when I made this delicious Giant Couscous Salad for my meal prep lunches recently. Among the ingredients in this recipe are roasted aubergine, fresh flat leaf parsley, and pomegranate seeds. It stores well in glass jars (my favourite for meal prep), and can be enjoyed as a meal in itself or as a side dish. I ate this with a toasted pita bread and a spoonful of tachinosalata (a sesame dip) – yum!
Giant Couscous Salad
As I started to write this post, I looked at the Merchant Gourmet website (the brand of giant couscous we bought) and discovered that it’s not actually a couscous at all!
Regular couscous is made with semolina, whereas the giant version is made with various types of flour, and essentially is small balls of pasta. It was invented in the 1950s, after Israel’s first president, David Ben-Gurion asked the Osem Food Company to devise a wheat-based substitute for rice during the country’s austerity period. Its name depends on the type of flour it is made from, or the country it is from. It can also be called Ptitim, Maftouc, Mograbiah, Gredola, Jersualem Couscous, Pearl Couscous or Ben-Gurion Rice. Since it is twice as big as regular couscous, we’ll stick to giant couscous! You learn something new everyday!
Giant couscous is toasted, rather than dried, so this gives it a nutty flavour, with a light, yet hearty texture. If you’ve never tried it before, I highly recommend it as an ingredient, and of course, to try my recipe! When the autumn and winter months come around, I plan to try using it in soups and stews.
I cooked the couscous for around 8 minutes in some vegetable stock to give it some added flavour. Once cooked and drained, I added some dried mint.
I cut aubergine and red onions into bite size pieces, and roasted them in the oven. When cooked, I added the giant couscous to the roasting dish (the saucepan I cooked the couscous in was too small to do it the other way around, and I wanted to save washing up!) and gave everything a good stir.
I then threw in some roughly chopped fresh flat leaf parsley – stalks and all – as well as some pomegranate seeds and chopped almonds. I squeezed over some lemon juice, and stirred in some olive oil and checked for seasoning. I decided that the stock cube had enough salt for me, but you can add salt to your taste.
This salad can be eaten cold or hot (so serve it immediately after making, as it won’t reheat well). It keeps well in airtight containers too, so was perfect for my meal prep lunches for the week. And anything that can be stored well is great for prepping ahead for a barbecue or party, and is great for taking to a picnic or potluck.
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- 1 medium aubergine, chopped into bite size pieces
- 1 medium red onion, chopped into bite size pieces
- 2 tbsp olive oil, divided
- 200g wholewheat giant couscous
- 1 vegetable stock cube
- 1 tsp dried mint
- 30g fresh flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped
- 80g pomegranate seeds
- 50g blanched almonds, chopped
- juice of 1 lemon
- Preheat oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6.
- Place the aubergine and onion into a roasting dish, and drizzle with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Cook for around 30 minutes, turning halfway, until slightly charred.
- Meanwhile cook the couscous in water with a crumbled stock cube for around 8 minutes (or according to the package instructions). When cooked, sprinkle over the dried mint and stir through.
- Combine the couscous and roasted vegetables together.
- Add the parsley, pomegranate and almonds and mix well.
- Add the other tablespoon of olive oil, and lemon and salt to taste.
- Serve immediately if serving hot, or allow to cool before storing in an airtight container.
The nutritional information is approximate and worked out by using online resources. I am not a doctor, or dietitian, or providing medical advice, and hold no responsibility for the complete accuracy of calorie counts and nutritional information. I advise you check your own resources if you are using recipes to lose weight. All weight loss programmes should be followed on advice from a doctor.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 255Total Fat: 10gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 4mgCarbohydrates: 33gFiber: 7gSugar: 5gProtein: 7g
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