This Glowing Green Spring Couscous Salad is packed with tender-crisp vegetables, miniature balls of mozzarella and salty almonds.  Finished with a fresh, vibrant lemon-basil pesto, this salad is easy, delicious, AND nutritious! Glowing Green Spring Couscous Salad with Lemon Basil Pesto

Hey there, friends!

How’s the week treating you?

Is it just me, or is this week going by incredibly fast… yet, exceptionally slow, all at the same time?

Like, the actual work days have been zooming by, but somehow it is ONLY Thursday.

Womp Womp.

That little bugger we refer to as time is mind boggling if you ask me.

Or, mind bottling as Boy likes to say.  😉

Aaaanywho, I’m going to keep the rambling to a minimum today, because PASTA!

And, not just any kind of pasta.

No ma’am.

Dainty, little pearls of couscous pasta HEAVEN.

Glowing Green Spring Couscous Salad with Lemon Basil Pesto Glowing Green Spring Couscous Salad with Lemon Basil Pesto

Glowing Green Spring Couscous Salad with Lemon-Basil Pesto

AKA pasta salad that will give you a healthy glow like WHOA.

Let’s discuss.

Al dente, chewy, teeny-tiny pearls of couscous pasta tossed in silky, luscious, smooth lemon-basil pesto; studded with tender crisp asparagus and sugar snap peas; scattered with spicy, sliced radishes and chopped spinach; speckled with fresh scallions; strewn with crunchy, salty almonds and dotted with creamy, cheesy, baby balls of perline mozzarella.

Healthy and refreshing (because ALL that green!), yet cozy and comforting (because pearls of pasta), this salad is basically LIFE.

…With a healthy dose of cheese, because let’s face it, life NEEDS cheese.  Besides, we absolutely must balance out all the nutrition-y goodness.  😉

Glowing Green Spring Couscous Salad with Lemon Basil Pesto Glowing Green Spring Couscous Salad with Lemon Basil Pesto

How to Make it:

Not only is this pasta salad straight up madness in the taste department, AND packed with all the healthy noms, it’s also a CINCH to throw together.

First, you are going to bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.  And when I say “salted” I mean, SALTED.  It should be as salty as the ocean, folks.

While the water is coming to a boil, fill a medium bowl with water and ice to shock the asparagus when it’s done cooking.

Drop the asparagus stalks into boiling water and let them cook for a couple minutes.  Then, add the asparagus tips and continue to cook until the asparagus is tender-crisp.  Use a large slotted spoon and transfer the asparagus to the ice water bath to stop them from cooking further.

Add the couscous to the pot, cover, reduce the heat to simmer and cook until al-dente.

While the pasta is cooking, make the pesto by adding all the ingredients, minus the oil, to a food processor.  Pulse until everything is finely chopped, and then stream in the oil while the machine is running.  Taste the pesto and adjust it to taste with salt and pepper.

When the couscous is done cooking, transfer it to a colander and rinse it with cold water.  Add the asparagus to the colander so both can drain.

To serve, transfer the drained couscous and asparagus to a large bowl and add in the pesto.  Toss well to combine.  Then, add in the remaining vegetables, almonds and mozzarella.  Toss everything again.

Serve it up, chow it down, and GLOW bae-bae, GLOOOOW.  🙌

Glowing Green Spring Couscous Salad with Lemon Basil Pesto Glowing Green Spring Couscous Salad with Lemon Basil Pesto

Recipe Notes:

  1. When cutting your asparagus into bite sized pieces, make sure you keep the stalks and tips separate.  The stalks will take longer to cook and become tender-crisp than the tips, so make sure you add them to the pot first.
  2. To save time and energy, you are going to use the same pot of water to cook both the asparagus and the couscous.  So make sure you use a slotted spoon, or skimmer, to transfer the asparagus to an ice water bath.  DO NOT just dump the asparagus into a colander or you will have to boil another pot of water, which isn’t a big deal, but it is a waste of time.  And no one likes that.  😉
  3. All the measurements for the vegetables in the recipe are merely a suggestion.  Feel free to add more of what you love, and less of what you don’t!  I encourage you to customize this to your liking.
  4. Toasting the pine nuts for the pesto is optional, but highly recommended if you want pesto with ALL the flavor!  It’s really easy to toast them, and I included instructions in the notes section of the recipe below.
  5. If you want VIBRANT green pesto, blanch your basil leaves.  Simply add them to boiling water and cook for 10 seconds.  Use a slotted spoon, or skimmer, to immediately remove them and transfer them to an ice water bath.  Drain the leaves and squeeze out the excess water before using.  *I blanched my basil leaves for this recipe.
  6. If you want a thinner pesto, slowly stream in more olive oil, one tablespoon at a time, until your desired consistency is achieved.  The pesto can be made 2 days in advance, and stored, covered in the refrigerator.  If you are going to make it in advance, I highly suggest blanching the basil (see note 5) for the pesto, or your pesto will be a dingy green.
  7. If you like a lot of sauce with your pasta salad, or just really love pesto, I suggest you double the pesto recipe below!

Glowing Green Spring Couscous Salad with Lemon Basil Pesto Glowing Green Spring Couscous Salad with Lemon Basil Pesto

This Spring Couscous Salad with Lemon-Basil Pesto needs to be in your life.  As a side at your next BBQ, for your lunch tomorrow, as your dinner all week on repeat.  WHATEVER.  Just get this in your pie hole.  Because I KNOW you want to glow.

Until next week friends, cheers – to scrumptious salads.

-xoxo-

Cheyanne

5 from 8 votes
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Glowing Green Spring Couscous Salad with Lemon-Basil Pesto
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
15 mins
Total Time
30 mins
 

This Glowing Green Spring Couscous Salad is packed with tender-crisp vegetables, miniature balls of mozzarella and salty almonds. Finished with a fresh, vibrant lemon-basil pesto, this salad is easy, delicious, AND nutritious! 

Course: Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine: American, Italian
Servings: 6
Calories: 496 kcal
Author: Cheyanne Holzworth-Bany
Ingredients
  • 2 Cups Pearl Couscous
  • 1 Bunch Asparagus trimmed and cut into 1’’ pieces
  • 8 ounces Snap Peas
  • 3 ounces Spinach Leaves stemmed and chopped (about 2 cups)
  • 2-3 Scallions thinly sliced
  • 2-3 Radishes thinly sliced
  • ½ Cup Almonds
  • 4 ounces Perline Mozzarella Balls (can substitute Bocconcini or shredded mozzarella)
  • Lemon-Basil Pesto:
  • 1 Cup Fresh Basil Leaves* packed
  • 1 clove of Garlic
  • 3 TBS Pine Nuts toasted*
  • ¼ Cup Parmesan grated
  • 1 small Lemon zest and juice
  • ¼ Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Salt and Pepper , to taste
  • Optional Garnishes: Microgreens, Lemon Wedges, Fresh Basil
Instructions
  1. Blanch the Asparagus: Fill a medium bowl with water and ice. Set aside. Bring 4 cups of salted water to a boil*. Add the stalks of asparagus to the pot and boil for 2 ½ minutes. Add in the asparagus tips and continue to boil for an additional minute*, or until the asparagus is tender-crisp. Use a large slotted spoon to transfer the asparagus to the ice water bath to stop the asparagus from cooking further. Let sit 2, or more minutes, and then drain.
  2. Add the couscous to the boiling water. Cover, reduce heat and simmer for 8-10 minutes, or until al dente. Drain and rinse the couscous under cold water.
  3. Meanwhile, Make the Lemon-Basil Pesto: In the bowl of a food processor, combine the basil, garlic, pine nuts, parmesan, lemon juice, zest, ¼ teaspoon salt and a pinch of pepper. Pulse until everything is finely chopped. With machine running, slowly drizzle in olive oil and process until smooth.* Taste and adjust for seasoning with salt and pepper. Set aside.
  4. To serve: In a large bowl toss the drained couscous and asparagus with the pesto. Add in the snap peas, spinach, and scallions. Toss again. Top with radishes, mozzarella and sprinkle with almonds and optional garnishes. Enjoy!
Recipe Notes

1. When cutting your asparagus into bite sized pieces, make sure you keep the stalks and tips separate. The stalks will take longer to cook and become tender-crisp than the tips, so make sure you add them to the pot first.

2. To save time and energy, you are going to use the same pot of water to cook both the asparagus and the couscous. So make sure you use a slotted spoon, or skimmer, to transfer the asparagus to an ice water bath. DO NOT just dump the asparagus into a colander or you will have to boil another pot of water, which isn’t a big deal, but it is a waste of time. And no one likes that. 😉

3. All the measurements for the vegetables in the recipe are merely a suggestion. Feel free to add more of what you love, and less of what you don’t! I encourage you to customize this to your liking.

4. Toasting the pine nuts for the pesto is optional, but highly recommended if you want pesto with ALL the flavor! It’s really easy to toast them. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. and line a baking sheet with aluminum foil for easy clean up. Place the pine nuts on the prepared baking sheet and bake for 5-6 minutes, or until golden brown. Let cool completely before using.

5. If you want VIBRANT green pesto, blanch your basil leaves. Simply add them to boiling water and cook for 10 seconds. Use a slotted spoon, or skimmer, to immediately remove them and transfer them to an ice water bath. Drain the leaves and squeeze out the excess water before using. *I blanched my basil leaves for this recipe.

6. If you want a thinner pesto, slowly stream in more olive oil, one tablespoon at a time, until your desired consistency is achieved. The pesto can be made 2 days in advance, and stored, covered in the refrigerator. If you are going to make it in advance, I highly suggest blanching the basil (see note 5) for the pesto, or your pesto will be a dingy green.

7. If you like a lot of sauce with your pasta salad, or just really love pesto, I suggest you double the ingredients for pesto to make a bigger batch!

Nutrition Facts
Glowing Green Spring Couscous Salad with Lemon-Basil Pesto
Amount Per Serving
Calories 496 Calories from Fat 216
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 24g 37%
Saturated Fat 4g 20%
Cholesterol 9mg 3%
Sodium 101mg 4%
Potassium 537mg 15%
Total Carbohydrates 54g 18%
Dietary Fiber 7g 28%
Sugars 3g
Protein 18g 36%
Vitamin A 51.8%
Vitamin C 39.6%
Calcium 22%
Iron 24.3%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

 

 

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Glowing Green Spring Couscous Salad with Lemon Basil Pesto