I like making this warm couscous salad, which works perfectly as a main dish; due to its ingredients' richness, it is hard to beat on the Nutrition Department, so make in batches, and you won't have to worry about being well nurtured for a couple of days.
This recipe was inspired by the undisputable Lebanese Salad: Tabbouleh, also on this site. It is one of the World's renowned couscous recipes.
Get some nice fresh vegetables like Eggplants, Bell Peppers, and Onions.
- Sprouted lentils (optional)
- Olive oil
- 3.5 ounces almonds raw
- Cherry tomatoes
- Mint (optional)
Dice the veggies and bake them with a splash of extra virgin olive oil. Or over a lined parchment paper to avoid sticking and omit the oil.
How to make couscous? Simple hydrate the couscous with the same volume of warm water for 5 minutes.
If you are using olive oil, you can choose to hydrate the couscous in a marinade of olive oil and lemon juice for five minutes, and then stir in the mix in the salad. This is the same method used to make the traditional Tabbouleh Salad. The only difference is that Tabbouleh uses Burghul wheat, which takes a little longer to soften.
Cut the cherry tomatoes and pan-fry them face-down.
Roast your almonds if you have raw ones.
Chop your mint and arugula.
Then, take your veggies out of the oven and assemble them. Use a large bowl and mix with the rest of the ingredients, except for the grilled tomatoes. If you are using sprouted lentils, mix them in as well.
Serve with the grilled tomatoes on top.
To make this recipe outstanding, you need to balance the number of textures in it. I am a big fan of textures; they are such an essential part of the eating experience.
Flavor and Seasoning
I recently read one of the most exciting gastronomy books I have come across lately: Flavor: The Science of Our Most Neglected Sense.
I understood something that was a turning page for me: how the sense of touch affects our eating experience.
Our tongues perceive texture using the sense of touch, and it becomes part of what we end up calling flavor.
Who doesn't use words like crunchy, silky, and hard when describing their bites!
So, yes, we use a lot of textures here.
- Crunchiness: delivered by the sprouted lentils, roasted almonds, and fresh leafy greens.
- Softness: The grilled tomatoes and the oil coat all the ingredients, bringing silkiness to your bite.
- Heat: yes! How hot and spicy your food is, is something you experience with your sense of touch.
- Freshness: delivered by the mint, arugula, and also the water of the lentil's sprouts.
So, a massive amount of sensory experiences are tickled: taste, touch, smell (brought by the combination of the spices), sight as a very colorful dish, and hearing, as you can hear your bites… all contributing to your final flavor takeaway.
- Couscous - replace for farro, orzo, pearl couscous, quinoa or burghul wheat.
- Sprouted lentils - use any other sprouts such as soy or broccoli sprouts.
- Almonds - replace with your choice of nuts such as walnuts and even sunflower seeds work perfectly.
- Veggies - change the eggplant or red bell pepper, for any other vegetables that are easy to roast such as zucchinis or sweet potatoes.
Let's talk about protein
As you may know, lentils are one of the best sources of protein on a plant-based diet.
If you are curious about vegan protein sources, I recommend reading this 6 mins great article on the matter. When you sprout lentils, studies have shown to enhance their amino acid profile, increasing their protein concentration, and improving the quality and availability of their vitamins and minerals, amongst other great benefits.
Note: Please refer to our two steps guide to Sprout Lentils before making this recipe.
So, we use them in different recipes, including salads, hamburgers, and soups (don't miss the Hearty and Spicy Sprouted Lentils Soup).
Sprouted lentils have an earthy taste and don't need cooking. In addition, they have a crunchy texture that goes well as an addition to several dishes.
More Heart Warming Recipes
If you try this recipe, let us know! Leave a comment, rate it, and don’t forget to tag a photo #ourplantbasedworld on Instagram. Cheers!
Recipe: Couscous Warm Salad
- Chop. Start by chopping your onion, red bell pepper, and eggplant in dice, add the crushed garlic.1 eggplant, 1 red bell pepper, 1 red onion, 1 garlic clove
- Toss. Place the veggies in a bowl and toss the veggies with olive oil and thyme.1 teaspoons sea salt, ½ teaspoon thyme, 2 tablespoons avocado oil
- Grill on a tray for 25 mins at 400ºF (200ºC).
- Hydrate the Couscous with triple the amount of warm water for 5 mins.1 cup couscous
- Cut the cherry tomatoes in halves and pan fry them, face down.6 cherry tomatoes
- Roast your almonds if you have raw ones (which I highly recommend, given the beautiful aroma it adds to the dish).3.5 ounces almonds
- Chop your mint and arugula.3 tablespoons mint, 3.5 ounces arugula
- Remove from the oven and assemble. Take your veggies from the oven and assemble in a large bowl with the rest of the ingredients (except for the tomatoes).8 ounces sprouted lentils, ½ teaspoons paprika, 1 teaspoon turmeric, 1 teaspoon black pepper, 1 teaspoon sea salt, 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Serve with the grilled tomatoes on top.6 cherry tomatoes
Learn more about Sprouting Lentils and its benefits.
We sometimes take for granted that we have years (or decades) of cooking experience that the average visitor may not. Add to, or remove from, the list below with health and safety tips.
- Cook to a minimum temperature of 165 °F (74 °C)
- Do not use the same utensils on cooked food, that previously touched raw meat
- Wash hands after touching raw meat
- Don't leave food sitting out at room temperature for extended periods
- Never leave cooking food unattended
- Use oils with high smoking point to avoid harmful compounds
- Always have good ventilation when using a gas stove
The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice. See our full Nutritional Disclosure here.
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