It’s incredible how everyday ingredients such as tomato and basil can make for such a flavoursome salad recipe. Complement this vegan couscous salad with balsamic blistered tomatoes for an easy side dish any time of the week.
- Why You’ll Love Vegan Couscous Salad
- What Are Blistered Tomatoes?
- How Do You Make Blistered Tomatoes on The Stove?
- Why Do We Cook Tomatoes?
- Is Couscous Vegan?
- What is Pearl Couscous?
- What Can I Add to Couscous for Flavour?
- Recipe Overview
- Variations and Substitutions
- What to Serve With Vegan Couscous Salad?
- Frequently Asked Questions
Why You’ll Love Vegan Couscous Salad
This is an incredibly easy salad with no dressing. The balsamic blistered tomatoes inject sweet and slightly tart flavours into the recipe, whilst the vegetable broth gives every single giant couscous salty hints.
By folding the avocado through the couscous when it’s still warm, it gives the whole dish a creamy texture without any dairy.
The freshness of the anise-like basil and coriander gives the whole dish a lift. Truly simple, yet delicate and almost hearty. We love healthy couscous recipes, and their simplicity means they can be whipped up on a whim!
What Are Blistered Tomatoes?
Blistered tomatoes are cooked tomatoes. When heat is applied to tomatoes, the skin breaks and the juices flow. You’ll also find that the skin begins to look a little wrinkled.
For this recipe, we have selected to use cherry tomatoes to give you those small pops of joy and it is such a great way to make couscous more interesting.
How Do You Make Blistered Tomatoes on The Stove?
One of the more popular ways to blister tomatoes is in the oven.
I prefer to make blistered tomatoes on the stove top by simply using either a cast iron skillet or a frypan. Both work equally as well as another.
Add some olive oil to the cast iron skillet or fry pan on medium heat. Simply add the cherry tomatoes and toss them a little so that the tomatoes are evenly cooked on all sides.
Why Do We Cook Tomatoes?
Once tomatoes are cooked, the consistency of the tomato changes to little dollops of bursting sweetness. They soften to the point of almost melting in your mouth.
When cooked, all the natural sweetness is released and becomes even sweeter, which is why it’s such a popular thing to do. Simplicity at its best!
Another lesser known incentive to make blistered tomatoes is that it is actually better to eat cooked tomatoes than it is raw tomatoes. This is because the lycopene antioxidant increases when it is put through a little heat.
Is Couscous Vegan?
Yes, it is! Couscous is not a naturally grown grain. It is made with semolina flour and it resembles more like pasta or rice.
What is Pearl Couscous?
In this recipe, we have selected to use pearl couscous, which are small balls of toasted semolina flour and that are bouncy and chewy in texture.
It is a staple in Maghrebi cuisine which can be found in the north-western part of Africa by the Mediterranean Sea. These countries include Algeria, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, and Tunisia.
What Can I Add to Couscous for Flavour?
The best way to add some flavour to couscous is to cook it in some flavoursome broth. The pearl couscous will absorb all the tasty goodness from the vegetable broth, allowing it to turn from a bland dish to a flavoursome one.
Flavour/Texture: The al dente pearl couscous is still firm and bouncy in texture. This is softened by stirring avocado through the pearl couscous when it is still hot, giving it a nice and creamy finish. The warm blister tomatoes give the dish pops of juicy bites.
This vegan couscous salad is slightly salty from the broth, tart from the balsamic, sweet from the cherry tomatoes, and so aromatic from the fresh herbs and coriander. A great combination of flavours that is yet ever so familiar and comforting.
Ease: Yet another easy salad recipe to put together. While this vegan couscous salad has a couple of cooking components, they are not difficult to execute. Follow our instructions and you’ll be able to serve a couscous salad recipe you’re proud of.
Time: Start making the vegan couscous salad by cooking the pearl couscous. While that is cooking away in the broth, you can prep the rest of the ingredients and you’ll be odn ein 20 minutes.
These are the ingredients you need for vegan couscous salad with blistered tomatoes:
Pearl couscous: A small packet or box will suffice. However, they have a great shelf life, so you can always make Roasted rainbow carrots with pearl couscous or Roast pumpkin salad with Israeli couscous and apple.
Vegetable broth: You can simply buy the vegetable broth or if you’d like to make your own, even better! It’s also a great way to get rid of any vegetable scraps you may have accumulated over time.
Avocado: Be sure that it is ripe and slightly on the softer side so that when it is stirred through the warm pearl couscous, it “melts”.
Cherry tomato: Make sure they are nice and fresh. A medley of different coloured cherry tomatoes will definitely give this vegan couscous salad a lift in appearance. Really great if you’re entertaining some guests.
Basil and coriander: As always, make sure the herbs are super fresh. Smell them to ensure they emit lovely smells.
Variations and Substitutions
Cherry tomato types: You can use any type of cherry tomato. Go for some colour to give the salad a lift. You can also use small vine-ripened tomatoes or kumato tomatoes. I wouldn’t, however, use normal tomatoes like beefsteaks as it would just drown the pearl couscous in juices.
Balsamic vinegar: The balsamic vinegar gives this vegan couscous salad s a little sweetness and tartness at the same time. However, if you’d like to make this couscous salad ultra healthy, you can leave it out altogether.
Herbs: While the basil is a must as tomato and basil work so well together, you can substitute the coriander or other herbs. This includes parsley, marjoram, tarragon, chives or chervil.
Step by step instructions for how to make vegan couscous salad with blistered tomatoes:
How to Cook Pearl Couscous and Avocado
In a small saucepan, bring 1 ½ cups of vegetable broth to the boil.
Add ½ cup of uncooked Israeli couscous and bring it down to low heat and cook for 10 minutes or until al dente.
While the pearl couscous is cooking, cut the avocado in half, peel it and dice half of the fruit. Place in a medium sized mixing bowl. Smash the other half and put on toast for breakfast the next day.
Drain pearl couscous in a colander and run under cold water for a couple of brief seconds and then place in the mixing bowl with the avocado.
Gently fold the warm couscous through the avocado to give it a creamy texture.
How to Cook Blistered Tomatoes
In a small mixing bowl, add 1 tbsp of balsamic vinegar and cherry tomatoes. Coat them thoroughly.
Add 1 tsp to a large fry pan on medium heat. When hot, add the cherry tomatoes and cook for 3 minutes. Toss occasionally. Remove from the heat and rest.
How to Prepare the Rest of the Salad
Roughly chop the coriander to yield ½ cup. Have some extra for garnish.
Pick the basil leaves to yield ½ cup. Have some extra for garnish.
Add the coriander, basil leaves, and juice of ¼ lemon into the mixing bowl of avocado and warm pearl couscous. Season with salt and pepper.
How to Assemble the Salad
On a platter, place the vegan couscous salad in a heap.
Gently place the balsamic blistered tomatoes on top.
Garnish with some coriander and basil.
Season with pepper and serve.
What to Serve With Vegan Couscous Salad?
Try these delicious vegan main dish recipes:
Packed full of healthy protein, these vegan chickpea patties would make for excellent burgers or used in a wrap.
If you have craving for a juicy steak, this tender vegan seitan steak is calling you. Or if you want something warm to go with the couscous and blistered tomatoes, a delicious stuffed sweet potato recipe would work well.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, you can. As the Mediterranean diet hones in on the consumption of whole grains, couscous can form part of that diet. Couscous is little balls of durum wheat or semolina flour and is a grain product that would work well with this diet.
Just like dry pasta, dry couscous can last for months past its best by date. Store it in a dry, cool place to ensure it will last longer.
Couscous can be made ahead of time for up to 2 days. However, it would be best to mix all the ingredients together when it is time to serve it up so that it will stay as fresh as possible.
This healthy couscous recipe truly is a magnificent symphony of flavours. To think that it can be done in under 20 minutes is fantastic.
Great for those days when you simply don’t have time or if you’re after something light yet wholesome. Give it a go and let us know how you went!
More Vegan Salad Recipes
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Vegan Couscous Salad with Blistered Tomatoes
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- In a small saucepan, bring 1 ½ cups of vegetable broth to the boil. Add ½ cup of uncooked Israeli couscous and bring it down to low heat and cook for 10 minutes or until al dente.
- While the pearl couscous is cooking, cut the avocado in half, peel it and dice half of the fruit. Place in a medium sized mixing bowl. Smash the other half and put on toast for breakfast the next day.
- Drain pearl couscous in a colander and run under cold water for a couple of brief seconds and then place in the mixing bowl with the avocado.
- Gently fold the warm couscous through the avocado to give it a creamy texture.
- In a small mixing bowl, add 1 tbsp of balsamic vinegar and cherry tomatoes. Coat them thoroughly. Add 1 tsp to a large fry pan on medium heat. When hot, add the cherry tomatoes and cook for 3 minutes. Toss occasionally. Remove from the heat and rest.
- Roughly chop the coriander to yield ½ cup. Have some extra for garnish.
- Pick the basil leaves to yield ½ cup. Have some extra for garnish.
- Add the coriander, basil leaves, and juice of ¼ lemon into the mixing bowl of avocado and warm pearl couscous. Season with salt and pepper.
- On a platter, place the salad in a heap.
- Gently place the balsamic blistered tomatoes on top.
- Garnish with some coriander.
- Season with pepper and serve.
- You can use any type of cherry tomatoes. Go for some colour to give the salad a lift. You can also use small vine-ripened tomatoes or kumato tomatoes.
- Blistered tomatoes are generally quite sweet so you can omit the balsamic vinegar if you want something even healthier.
- If you are not vegetarian, you can certainly use chicken stock for cooking the Israeli couscous.
- For a really healthy option, you can make the broth yourself. Otherwise, the vegan organic reduced salt liquid stock is more than good enough.
- If you’re taking this salad to a friend’s place to eat later, pack the couscous mixed salad seperate to the blistered tomatoes. Before serving, run 1 tsp of olive oil through the couscous as it can dry out a little bit. Will give it the glistening look it needs.
*Disclaimer: Nutritional information provided is an estimate only and generated by an online calculator.
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