This EASY and fresh couscous salad is so easy and tasty, and it goes with just about everything. You can serve it with fish, chicken, beef, lamb, or pork, or you can serve it as a meat-free and light main dish.
It’s so tasty, made with lots of fresh herbs, lemon, radishes, raisins and almonds. Serve it with fish, chicken, beef, lamb, or pork, or you can serve a larger portion and keep it as a light, vegetarian main dish by swapping the chicken broth for vegetable broth. You might also like this lemon-asparagus couscous salad or this Mediterranean Quinoa Salad.
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During my college years at the University of Maryland, my sister Cyndi and I waited tables at a restaurant in Bethesda, Maryland, called Houston’s. Everything they served was seriously addictive, but this couscous recipe is the one dish that Cyndi and I still make at home … over 20 years later!
What is couscous?
Couscous is a pasta, not a grain, despite popular belief.
It has a rice-like appearance but is actually made of semolina and wheat flour that is steamed. It’s prepared in a matter of minutes unlike pearl couscous which is larger in size. Whole wheat couscous is more nutritious than the regular variety. Lundberg also makes a brown rice gluten free couscous.
Where to find couscous
Couscous is widely available, you can find couscous in the pasta section, rice section, or often the “international foods” area of your grocery store.
How to make this low-carb
For a low-carb alternative, you can use raw cauliflower in place of couscous. To do so, place cauliflower florets in a food processor and pulse a few times. Mix with the remaining ingredients and serve.
Is this a salad or side dish?
Sort of both! Houston’s served it as a side dish, but I eat it as a salad for leftover sometimes. It’s room temperature when you make it, bur leftovers can be eaten cold. This will keep for several days, so it’s also great to make ahead for a few days (will it keep) Yes, it keeps for sure! It is good warm and cold.
More Salad Recipes I Love:
- Strawberry and Gorgonzola Salad with Poppy Seed Dressing
- Cobb Salad with Buttermilk Ranch Dressing
- Southwestern Black Bean, Quinoa and Mango Salad
- Chopped Wedge Salad
- Houston’s Grilled Chicken Kale Salad with Peanut Vinaigrette
- 1 ½ cups reduced sodium chicken or vegetable broth
- 1 cup dry whole wheat couscous, Lundberg brown rice couscous for GF
- ¾ cup roughly chopped radishes
- 2 scallions, chopped
- 3 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley
- ½ cup raisins
- 12 grape tomatoes, halved
- 1/3 cup sliced almonds
- 3 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- ½ teaspoon Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- In a small saucepan, bring chicken broth to a simmer.
- Add the couscous and cook gently until the broth is absorbed, approximately 3 minutes.
- Remove from heat, fluff with a fork and transfer to large bowl.
- To the bowl, add the radishes, scallions, parsley, raisins, tomatoes, almonds, mint, lemon juice and olive oil and toss to coat.
- Season with salt and pepper, gently toss again, taste and adjust the flavorings and seasonings as desired, and serve.
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48 comments on “Houston’s Couscous Salad”
The best cous cous recipe
Excellent salad. Such a nice change
I love this recipe. I substituted quinoa for couscous to make it GF.
If you made this with cauliflower rice, would you still cook it in the chicken broth?
I used Quinoa instead of the couscous and it was AMAZING!!! I served it with your Shawarma Chicken recipe and it was both colorful and satisfying. Thank you so much for the wonderful recipe!
This is one my favorites from Houston’s! I also LOVE the veggie burger!
I also loved Houston’s! Excited to try this!
Wow – this was yummy! Family devoured it. I look forward to sharing this with my friends at our next supper party. I might was well go ahead and print out the recipe for them!
Oh my gosh This is such a great recipe. I waited in line at the Houstons on Rockville Pike at least twice a week for years. Thanks for the great dish and for bringing back some great memories.
I followed the recipe exactly and this is wonderful. It tasted delicious when I ate it warm right after making, and I have now eaten it cold as leftovers the following two days and its still just as delicious. Thanks!
This isn’t vegetarian…calls for chicken broth….
Or vegetable broth.
Skinny Taste does it again! Made this tonight and was a big hit with my family, I didn’t add raisins as can’t do sweet and sour flavors! I served this was the Greek Lemon ‘0’ Point kebabs that Gina spoke about “Cooking with Points”. I then made the Skinny Taste Tzatziki Sauce and drizzled this over the kebabs, really good!
I think your version sounds delicious! But…..The original Houston’s recipe does NOT have raisins. They serve this with currants. Similar looking but different in taste for sure. 🙂
Girl, I grew up in Rockville! Houston’s! I’m gonna have to make this.
Thanks so much! I have been using your recipes for years. I’m a distance runner, fitness instructor, and I have six kids. You are THE go to for healthy eating for my family and I. Affordable, delicious and healthy!
This is one gorgeous dish!!
Loved it. I did substitute Craisins for the raisins (I don’t like raisins) and cilantro for mint (so so on mint). It was easy to make and very fresh tasting. Will definitely make again. Oh, my husband also loved it.
This was good. I made it last night to go with grilled chicken. I bought a box of whole wheat couscous. I didn’t realize that was 4 Times as much couscous as I needed. I should have used 4 Times the Rest of the ingredients. I will have to make it again.
For the lazy ones. Try to use Taboulet instead of Couscous, so you do not have to deal with the mintband the lemons.
You mention couscous is a pasta not a grain but this is misleading as it’s made totally from grains.You also add that it’s gluten free.Its full of gluten if made from normal cous cous.
It’s a processed grain. And I link to the gluten-free brand for those who wish to have it gf
I used quinoa instead of couscous, and cilantro instead of mint…it’s what I had in the house. Delicious.
I grew Up in a Maryland (Potomac) and loved Houston’s! Everything there was so yum!!
Another vote for the veggie burger recipe…..those are the BEST!
Hi there, 🙂
Just so people know – couscous is NOT gluten-free. I know that you mentioned that there is some GF couscous available in the blog post above, but often times I just skip to the recipe card. The little “GF” dot up top could be misleading. If you could please edit your card so that we don’t have anyone make this for someone with Celiac Disease, I am sure many would appreciate it!
Sorry I meant to repeat Lundberg as a brown rice gluten free alternative here.
I’m sorry to hear that couscous became a salad because the origin of couscous is Algeria and it’s served in so many ways except salad
Hello Amine! This dish actually tastes great served salad style 🙂
Well she said you can consider it a side dish. It sounds good!
Why on earth would the label of a food make you sad? Grain mixed with veggies and/or cheese is often known as salad in the US. Couscous tastes delicious no matter the label but helping to ‘mainstream’ it for people unfamiliar with it by categorizing it this way makes it more accessible. Happy eating!
Have not made recipe but for years have been searching for Houston’s dressing recipe for their grilled chicken salad with taco strips and honey lime dressing. Best salad ever !! Can you help?
Hey Linda! Yes, I loved that chicken salad too! I’ll see what I can find out and maybe do future guest post with the salad.
I have been making Todd Wilber’s version of Houston’s couscous for years. This recipe substitutes orange juice for the water and pine nuts for the almonds. In the comments section a contributor suggests a wonderful vinegar. Google for the recipe.
I bet this would be an amazing vegetarian meal with some chickpeas added!
I think so too, Meghann!
I can’t wait to try this recipe-looks wonderful.A good friend of mine started Houston’s first in Nashville then it spread like crazy because it was so popular.Thanks for the recipe.
Gina, what would the points be when substituting cauliflower for couscous?
To make it a gluten free or low carb recipe.
Can’t wait to try this! Any way to get the veggie burger recipe????
Hi Laurie – I agree, their veggie burger is so good! I’ll try to re-create it and will share the recipe with Gina.
Did you really give 4 stars to a recipe you’ve never tried?