Summer is knocking on our doors which means meals start to be in the backyard for our family. Most meals include a protein prepared on the Traeger Grill – so a simple pasta salad that I can make ahead is perfect. It gives me the chance to actually hang out with the family while they work up an appetite in the pool. Pasta salad is a beloved side dish in our house, so of course, I have to play around with it. This time I made a Colorful Couscous Salad – a no mayo pasta salad so full of veggies – it’s like eating the rainbow!
Making your own dressings for pasta and potato salads is what really makes them stand out. When you really think about it – cold salads generally don’t require much “cooking” so the combination of the ingredients is the key. Most people use a mayonnaise based dressing for pasta and potato salads. Which I have no problem with at all, and make that sort too. But I also have 3 kids (so half of my family) that don’t really care for mayo. So I try to alternate making my dressings with and without mayo.
Knife cuts are another big part of making beautiful salads. One thing that I really try to do is cut everything to roughly the same size and shape as much as I can. With a small pasta like couscous (this style is specifically called Pearl Couscous or Isreali Couscous), I went with a dice on the veggies. If you use a short pasta like rotini or penne – you could do a julienne on the veggies.
I served this up with some simply grilled bone-in pork chops (just seasoned with paprika, salt, parsley, and garlic powder) and a homemade Mustard BBQ Sauce. It paired so wonderfully with a light bright couscous salad. This salad also keeps so well. So if you are lucky enough to have any left after dinner – you are going to be enjoying it for lunch all week.
Now Let’s Get Cookin’!
Colorful Couscous Salad
- 1 lb Pearl Coucous
- ½ lb Bacon cut into ½-inch pieces
- 1 Yellow Bell Pepper diced
- 1 English Cucumber peeled, seeded, diced
- ½ Red Onion diced
- ½ cup Fresh Parsley chopped
- 1 cup Cherry Tomatoes quartered
- 2 Garlic Cloves minced
For the Dressing
- ¼ cup Avocado Oil
- ¼ cup Apple Cider Vinegar
- 1 Lemon zested and juiced
- ¼ cup Honey
- ½ tsp Cayenne Pepper
- ¼ cup Dijon Mustard
- Prepare all of the ingredients.
- In a frying pan over medium-high heat, add bacon and cook until crispy. Remove to paper towel covered plate and let cool.
- Combine dressing ingredients in a bowl.
- Add the couscous and water to a pan (use measurements as listed on the package). Cook as directed on package (usually covered over medium-high heat). Drain in colander and rinse with cool water. Transfer to a large bowl.
- Add bacon, dressing and veggies to bowl with couscous. Toss to combine. Cover and place in refrigerator until ready to serve.
Estelle Forrest self-published this cookbook after a lot of playing around in the kitchen. You can purchase your own copy here:
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