a happy soul

how taking care of your body will allow your soul to achieve a higher level of happiness

Couscous Salad


I have this war with carbs (don’t we all!?) and sodium. While making this recipe, it reminded me how easy it is to just whip something up without really looking at the ingredients…and that is exactly what I did.

Couscous is a pasta, and not considered a grain. It’s not as nutrient dense as whole grains (as I had originally thought). Couscous does contain about 40-50 grams of carbs per serving. (Check Food Network here for some more information about couscous.)  Although they get a bad rap, carbs aren’t completely bad as long as you are eating a balanced diet. This dish is best used as a side to a dinner that has protein and some leafy greens like a spinach salad; unless you are carb-loading you may not want a whole bowl as your dinner.

Sodium is also a tricky thing. The Near East Plain pearled couscous has 0 mg of sodium while the Near East Roasted Garlic & Olive Oil pearled couscous has 510 mg of sodium. Why such a difference? It’s that little bag of seasoning that causes all that ruckus. I recommend the plain couscous, and I recommend staying away from any seasoning packages. (Check this blog for an awesome, informational rant on seasoning packets!)


Couscous Salad


1 package (or one cup) of plain Pearled CousCous

1/2 cup grape tomatoes, sliced in half

1/2 cup diced cucumbers

1/4 cup chopped scallions

1/4 cup pine nuts

3 tbsp olive oil

2 tbsp of lemon juice or zest of half a lemon

Salt and Pepper to taste

Additional spices like garlic powder, paprika, cumin…whatever sounds good!


  1. Cook the couscous following the directions on the package.
  2. Brown the pine nuts in a skillet until light golden brown..kind of like perfectly cooked marshmallows. My definition of perfectly cooked marshmallows is “lightly brown;” hopefully your definition of perfectly cooked marshmallows isn’t “torched and black.” 🙂
  3. Add the tomatoes, cucumber, lemon (juice or zest), olive oil, salt, and pepper to a medium sized bowl.
  4. Add the couscous and gently fold together
  5. Add the pine nuts and scallions to the couscous salad.
  6. Optional: Add some shredded chicken!
  7. Enjoy!



Just a heads up: Pine nuts are a little pricey but very tasty.

Sliced almonds are a good substitute if you are looking to save a few $$.



You could use some leftover shredded chicken and add it to you couscous salad.




Author: Erica Van Treese

I live an exciting, adventurous life with my husband Ben (he can take credit for the adventurous part). We live in little ol' Columbus and we just love this city! I'm an organizer with OCD (self-diagnosed). My husband turned me into a crazy water ski competitor and taught me how to jump off a 5 foot ramp going 32mph to see how far I can go, and sometimes I don't land the way I should (The whole ski community is a little coo coo, but I love them). I love pizza, and when I proclaim my love for pizza all my friends go "We know". My favorite thing is when my family and friends gather for a meal, and there is banter and wine. I love art and looking at beautiful things and I believe every item of decor in a home should have a meaning and a story behind it. I love food and exercising, but just like any other person there are days I really don't feel like going to the gym or I just rather throw in a pizza in the oven for dinner (and sometimes I do). This blog is a reflection of my love for being happy and my journey on eating right and exercising to achieve a higher level of happiness.

2 thoughts on “Couscous Salad

  1. Thanks for the shout-out, and indeed – if you wish to control sodium (and/or sugar) intake, you should definitely stay away from premade sauces and seasoning packets! Besides, making the seasoning mix yourself allows you to make it exactly to your liking, too!

    P.S. Lovely photos, and I love couscous! Have you tried bulgur wheat, by the way? It’s great stuff!

  2. You’re welcome! I don’t think I had to go on my own rant, yours was pretty dead on :). I’ve had bulgar wheat in restaurants and it’s quite amazing! I just haven’t ventured to cooking with it yet, but I’m feeling brave and think I’ll try it soon!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s