This quick and easy lemon couscous salad is healthy, light and bursting with fresh flavor! Packed with asparagus, snap peas, ricotta salata and a citrusy lemon vinaigrette this salad is perfect for lunch, as a side dish or light dinners!
¾poundThin Asparagus Spears – trimmed & cut on bias*
12ouncesSugar Snap Peas – cut on bias
1large Shallot – finely diced
4-5Radishes – thinly sliced
8ouncesRicotta Salata – crumbled (you can substitute feta)
1/3CupChives - Sliced
1/3CupParmesan – grated or shaved, or more to taste
1/3CupFresh Mint Leaves - torn
Flakey Maldon Sea Salt & Fresh Ground Pepper – to taste
7TBSExtra Virgin Olive Oil,divided
1 ½tspDijon Mustard
1tspLemon Zestplus more for garnish
Cook the couscous: Bring a large pot of salted water* to a boil. Season generously with salt. Add the couscous and cook according to package directions until al dente. Drain the couscous and rinse under cold water to stop the cooking process. Drain again, gently shaking the colander to remove excess water. Set aside.
OPTIONAL - While the couscous is cooking and cooling, sauté the asparagus and snap peas*: Heat one tablespoon of oil in a heavy large non-stick skillet over high heat. Add the sliced asparagus and snap peas. Season with salt and pepper. Quickly sauté, tossing constantly, until tender-crisp and bright in color, about 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat and transfer to a large bowl. Set aside and allow to cool.
Make the dressing: In a measuring cup or small bowl, whisk together the remaining 6 tablespoons of the oil with the Dijon mustard, lemon juice, honey, lemon zest, ½ teaspoon salt and scant ¼ teaspoon pepper. Taste and adjust for seasoning with salt and pepper.* Set aside
Toss salad: Add the cooled couscous to the bowl of asparagus and snap peas. Toss to combine. Add in the shallots and sliced radishes. Drizzle with half of the dressing. Toss to well to combine. (If serving later, cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate).
To serve: Add the ricotta, chives and mint to the salad. Taste and adjust with more dressing and season to taste with salt and pepper. Finish with parmesan, lemon zest and drizzle with any remaining dressing if desired. Enjoy!
If you want to add more flavor to your couscous, cook it in unsalted vegetable or chicken broth instead of water! Or, you can use a mixture of broth and water!
Quickly sautéing the sliced asparagus and snap peas is completely optional! This salad is really good raw!
I recommend you also peel the stems of the asparagus after trimming if you are going to skip step 2 of the recipe and serve the asparagus raw.
Make sure you add the vinaigrette to the couscous while the couscous is still warm! Warm couscous will soak up all the flavor from the dressing while cold couscous will simply swim in the dressing.
Always make sure you taste and adjust seasonings as you go! This is especially true with the dressing. If you want a sweeter dressing, add more honey. For a tarter dressing, add more lemon juice and/or zest. If the dressing just tastes bland, add more salt and pepper. BUT, just remember, the dressing is one component of the couscous salad and will taste completely different once every element is tossed together!