Mediterranean Couscous, Swiss Chard and Chicken Salad

Mediterranean Couscous, Swiss Chard and Chicken Salad
Mediterranean Couscous, Swiss Chard and Chicken Salad. Katie Workman /
  • 50 mins
  • Prep: 20 mins,
  • Cook: 30 mins
  • Yield: Serves 6 to 8
Ratings (4)

I love Mediterranean couscous, also called Israeli couscous.  In the summer, I make main dish salads with this tiny round pasta all the time, and add chicken or shrimp or whatever protein we’re in the mood for. And if there is a vegetarian in the house, I keep the protein to one side, so that the salad itself is vegetarian, and let everyone add the chicken as they wish.  Make sure you use water or vegetable broth to cook the couscous if you are aiming to keep some of the salad vegetarian.

This salad is extremely pretty and colorful; I used rainbow Swiss chard for even more visual punch. You can definitely use other vegetables here, as the season dictates, and in particular you can swap around and play with all kinds of different greens in place of the Swiss chard.

What You'll Need

  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • ½ teaspoon coarse of kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 1 large bunch Swiss chard
  • 1 red onion, sliced
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 yellow bell pepper
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 3 cups cooked Israeli couscous (see Note)
  • 1 small red onion, slivered
  • 1 cup pitted kalamata olives
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh basil
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese 

How to Make It

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  2. Seed, core, and cut the peppers into 1-inch pieces.  On a rimmed baking sheet toss together the peppers with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, spread it back out again, and roast the peppers for 10 minutes until tender and lightly browned.
  3. Meanwhile, chop the chard by slicing off the stems and roughly chopping the greens. Rinse well in a colander, then shake the colander to get rid of excess moisture. Heat a large pot over medium high heat. Add the 1 tablespoon of olive oil, then add the onions and saute for 4 minutes. Then add the garlic, and stir for another minute. Add the chard, season with salt and pepper and saute for about 5 minutes, until the chard is tender.

  1. For the dressing, whisk together 1 tablespoon of olive oil, the lemon juice, and salt and pepper to taste. 

  2. Preheat the broiler.  Brush the chicken with the remaining tablespoon of olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and broil chicken breasts for 5 minutes on each side until the chicken is golden brown and cooked through.  Let the chicken rest for 5 minutes, then dice it.

  3. Place the couscous in a mixing bowl, add the cooked peppers, olives, basil and Parmesan.  Pour over the lemon dressing, toss to combine everything well, and check for seasonings.  

Note:  To make the Israeli couscous, use 2 1/3 cups vegetable broth or water to 1½ cups Israeli couscous.  Heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil in a medium pot over medium high heat.  When the oil is hot, add the couscous, and stir in it the oil occasionally for about 3 minutes, until it starts to color.  Add the broth or water, cover the pot, and bring to a simmer.  Lower the heat and continue to simmer for about 12 minutes, until the liquid is mostly absorbed, and then turn off the heat and let sit covered for another 2 minutes.