Caprese Couscous Salad

published Jun 30, 2023
summer
Caprese Couscous Salad Recipe

This quick, almost no-cook side dish features couscous, pesto sauce, cherry tomatoes, and mini mozzarella balls.

Serves4 to 6

Makesabout 6 cups

Prep10 minutes to 15 minutes

Cook5 minutes

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oval serving dish of caprese couscous salad with grape tomatoes and mozzarella pearls with a serving spoon
Credit: Photo: Alex Lepe; Food Styling: Debbie Wee

There are endless ways to riff on the classic combination of tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil that make up a caprese salad. You can turn it into a sheet pan gnocchi dinner, stack it in a sandwich, or fold it into mac and cheese

This summer, though, I am all about this caprese couscous salad. Toss quick-cooking couscous with pesto, cherry tomatoes, and mini mozzarella balls and — in under 20 minutes — you have a star side dish that’s perfect for a backyard barbecue, picnic, or your weeknight table. 

Credit: Photo: Alex Lepe; Food Styling: Debbie Wee

A Barely-Cook Side to Enjoy All Summer Long

While

Israeli couscous

salads and
beyond, I happen to think it’s caused us to forget a little bit about regular ol’ couscous. That’s a shame because it’s equally as versatile and cooks up even faster.

But the best thing is that you don’t even really need to cook it at all: Simply bring a medium pot of water to a boil, stir in the couscous, cover, and let it steam off-heat for five minutes. That’s it! This ease is what summer meals are made of. 

Caprese Couscous Salad Recipe

This quick, almost no-cook side dish features couscous, pesto sauce, cherry tomatoes, and mini mozzarella balls.

Prep time 10 minutes to 15 minutes

Cook time 5 minutes

Makes about 6 cups

Serves 4 to 6

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cups

    water

  • 1 tablespoon

    olive oil

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    kosher salt

  • 1 cup

    couscous (about 5 ounces)

  • 1 pint

    cherry or grape tomatoes (about 10 ounces or 2 cups total)

  • 8 ounces

    fresh mozzarella cheese pearls (perlini) or mini cherry-size balls (ciliegine)

  • 1/3 cup

    store-bought or homemade basil pesto

  • 1 tablespoon

    red wine vinegar

Instructions

  1. Place 1 1/4 cups water, 1 tablespoon olive oil, and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt in a medium saucepan. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Stir in the couscous and immediately remove from the heat. Cover and let steam for 5 minutes.

  2. Meanwhile, halve 1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes. Drain 8 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese pearls or mini cherry-size balls. If using mini balls, halve them.

  3. Transfer the couscous to a large bowl and fluff with a fork. Let cool for 10 minutes.

  4. Add 1/3 cup basil pesto and 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar to the couscous and use a fork to stir and evenly coat the couscous. Add the tomatoes and mozzarella and toss to combine. Fluff the couscous as needed before serving, to keep the grains separate and light.

Recipe Notes

Storage: Leftovers can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 5 days.