Friday, May 01, 2020

Pearl couscous salad

April 18, 2020

With this Lab Farewell Cookbook salad recipe, Cassie nailed our cooking style! It's made substantial with couscous, green and leafy with mint, studded with nuts, and shimmering with Ottolenghi's favourite ingredient, the pomegranate seed.

Still, it's not a repeat on any of our usual recipes. It's years since we bought pearl-sized couscous, and I enjoyed its bubble tea-type chewiness. I didn't realise that we're outside pomegranate season, so the fruit was a bit paler than it should be. Cassie has since advised me that you can buy pomegranate seeds frozen, so I'll be more attentive and keep that option to hand in future.

This is the kind of dish that's great as a dinner-time side, leftover on its own for lunch, or as a potluck contribution. I can imagine its flashes of green and red looking very festive as part of a Christmas spread. This time round, the two of us paced it out over a few days in tandem with a roasted cauliflower, grape and cheddar salad.

Pearl couscous salad
(a recipe shared by Cassie in the Lab Farewell Cookbook)

2 cups vegetable stock
1 cup pearl couscous
1/3 cup olive oil
2 teaspoons pomegranate molasses
pinch of ground allspice
juice of 1 lemon
2 spring onions, finely chopped
1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted
1/2 cup pistachios, toasted
small bunch mint, leave picked and stems discarded
seeds of 1 pomegranate

In a medium-large saucepan, bring the stock to the boil and add the couscous. Cook until couscous is soft (timing can vary a lot depending on its size; check the packet for guidance). Drain, if the water is not all absorbed. Stir half of the oil into the couscous, and set it aside while you prepare the other ingredients.

Place the remaining oil, pomegranate molasses, allspice, lemon juice and spring onions in a jar. Screw on the lid and shake the jar vigorously, until the dressing is emulsified.

In a large bowl, stir together the couscous, dressing and remaining ingredients. You may like to set a few pistachios and pomegranate seeds aside to sprinkle over the top.


  1. looks delicious - I love pomegranate seeds - so pretty and refreshing but I hate breaking up pomegranates - must look out for the frozen seeds.

    1. Hi Johanna, these frozen seeds could be a revelation for both of us!

  2. I always get frozen seeds if I have a recipe that calls for them. I tried breaking up a pomegranate once and I was over it.

    1. Susan, you are way ahead of me on this one! I don't mind breaking up a pomegranate, although I often curse the splatters it leaves on my clothes.

    2. I am not that into the pomegranate seeds themselves to make me feel like going through the whole pomegranate process. Frozen makes everything easy! I do like pomegranate juice and pomegranate molasses though.

    3. Oh yeah, I think the molasses is my favourite!