If you’ve ever gone grocery shopping in France and stumbled on our French “Taboulé”, you may have raised an eyebrow… Yes, what the French call “Taboulé” is more of a loose-adaptation from the authentic Levantine “Tabbouleh” made of bulgur and a bounty of herbs – but trust me, it’s just as delicious.
Instead of bulgur, the French Taboulé is made with couscous that is often cooked in chicken stock for extra flavour, and studded with diced vegetables and raisins. It also uses less mint and other herbs which gives it a more couscous-forward texture and less-green appearance.
This French “Taboulé” is the most ubiquitous version in France, especially in the Summer. It is a lunch and dinner staple, often served alongside Grated Carrots or a Beet salad. It is great to make when tomatoes are at their ripest and when you just yearn for a fresh-tasting, fuss-free yet totally satisfying recipe option.
This salad is so tasty, so fragrant, with a bounty of herbs and is so simple to make. 5 ingredients, herbs, spices and a light dressing – it’s about as easy a recipe as they come.
How to make this French-Style Couscous Salad
The recipe begins with soaking dried raisins in a bowl of water, to re-hydrate them and get them plump and juicy. I know that raisins aren’t everyone’s favorite, but I guarantee you they are so tasty in this recipe. They add a nice chewiness and sweetness, that makes this fresh salad so satisfying and filling.
The recipe continues with the preparation of a light and fluffy couscous. This is achieved by steaming the couscous is hot chicken stock (or salted water). My tip here is to add a heavy drizzle of good-quality extra virgin olive oil to the liquid. To do so, I used Oliv’s Coratina Extra Virgin Olive Oil, which added nice fruity flavors, a subtle pepperiness and slight spicy aftertaste. Along with adding some great aromas to the couscous, the addition of EVOO to the boiling stock helps the couscous to be light and fluffy once cooked. This tip works for me, every single time.
The couscous is then transfer to a bowl to cool down to room-temperature and the vegetables get prepped in the meantime. I used red and green bell peppers – you can use yellow and orange too if you would like, for more color. I used cherry tomatoes, cut in half – large tomatoes, cubed, work great too.
The herbs used for this Couscous Salad are chopped curly parsley and mint. They add so much brightness and aromas to this salad. When the couscous is cooled to room temperature, you add the prepared vegetables and chopped herbs to it and mix everything together.
The final step is the dressing made from EVOO, lemon juice, salt, cumin and cayenne pepper.. To give a rich yet fruit flavor, I again used Oliv’s Coratina Extra Virgin Olive Oil. This is a versatile EVOO which works perfectly for a dressing.
My Cooking tips
- Add 2 tablespoon of good-quality EVOO to the chicken stock (or water) when steaming the couscous – this will ensure a light and fluffy couscous, every single time.
- You can substitute cherry tomatoes for large tomatoes, diced – same quantities apply.
- You can substitute or complement the red and green bell peppers for yellow and/or orange – same quantities apply.
I hope you’ll love this French-Style Couscous Salad! It’s colorful, fresh, satisfying and a true Summer staple in France.
This is the perfect dish to accompany a Summer BBQ pr to carry along for an outdoor picnic (pack it in a Tupperware). You can enjoy it at any occasion, be it lunch or dinner, especially during warmer weather. It pairs well with Eggplant Toasts with Goat Cheese & Walnuts, Stuffed Eggplant boats, Pepper Steak and Lamb Chops.
You may also like
- French-Style Grated Carrot Salad
- Frisée with Bacon & Egg (Salade Lyonnaise)
- Herby Sugar-glazed Spring Vegetable Jardiniere
- Kasha Green Bean Potato Salad
Did you make this recipe?
For the couscous:
1 ¾ cup chicken-broth (or water with ½ tsp salt)
1 ½ cup (10oz) Couscous
2 tbsp (30ml) extra-virgin olive oil (ie. Oliv’s Coratina EVOO)
1/3 cup (50g) raisins, not packed
About 2 cups (500g) cherry tomatoes, cut in half
¼ red bell pepper, seeded and diced
¼ green bell pepper, seeded and diced
½ bunch fresh curly parsley, chopped
6-7 sprigs fresh mint, stemmed and chopped.
For the dressing:
½ tsp salt
½ tsp fresh ground black pepper
¼ tsp cayenne pepper
¼ tsp ground cumin
1/2 lemon, juiced
3 tbsp (45ml) extra-virgin olive oil (ie. Oliv’s Coratina EVOO)
Step 1 – Soak the raisins in a bowl with water – the water should cover all the raisins. Let them soak on the counter for a minimum of 30 minutes.
Step 2 – Make the Couscous. In a medium pot, bring the chicken stock (or water and salt) to a boil. When the liquid is boiling, stir in the extra virgin olive oil and couscous (the water should cover the couscous). Take the pot off the heat and let the couscous steam for exactly 6 minutes (lid-on). After 6 minutes, take the lid off and use a fork to fluff the couscous. Transfer the couscous to a bowl to let it cool down to room temperature.
Step 3 – When the couscous has cooled to room temperature, add the diced bell peppers, halved cherry tomatoes, chopped parsley and mint, raisins (drained), and stir.
Step 4 – Add the dressing ingredients: the salt, pepper, cayenne pepper, cumin, lemon juice and EVOO. Stir to combine, cover the bowl with a plastic film and chill for at least 2 hours before serving (the helps the couscous and raisins to soak up the dressing and for the flavors to meld). This Couscous salad should have a slightly moist, pleasantly “chewy” consistency after the 2 hours.
Keeps well in an air-tight container, chilled, for up to 5 days.
Did you make this recipe?
I’d love to know how it turned out! Please let me know by leaving a comment below, rate the recipe and/or share a photo on Instagram: tag @pardonyourfrench and hashtag it #pardonyourfrench. Bon Appétit!