This Giant Couscous and Halloumi Salad is perfect for a light lunch. It's a healthy and balanced salad that is packed with tasty flavours and texture. If warm and creamy halloumi with soft and chewy giant couscous, green beans and crunchy flaked almonds with a yogurt garlicky dressing sounds good you need to give this one a go. It's super easy to throw together and can be made ahead if you're someone who likes to meal prep.
Key ingredients and possible alternatives
- Green beans - because you have to have veg in your salad and their smooth texture goes well with the tiny balls of giant couscous. You could substitute the green beans with another green vegetable like broccoli.
- Giant couscous - otherwise known as pearl couscous or Israeli couscous forms the base of the salad. It has a soft and chewy texture and is less grainy than regular couscous. You can also use regular couscous if you prefer, just keep the volume the same and note that the cooking instructions will be different.
- Halloumi - brings milky flavour, saltiness and a slight tartness to the salad and provides protein. You can use full fat or reduced fat halloumi if you wish to make the salad a little healthier. Halloumi could be substituted with feta, but this would give the salad a very different taste and texture.
- Toasted flaked almonds - add a crunch that contrasts with the chewiness of the giant couscous and halloumi.
- Lemon zest - brings citrusy freshness.
- Dressing - yogurt, crushed garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, salt, pepper and a little sugar are mixed to form the creamy garlic yogurt dressing. This dressing adds moisture and richness to the salad. You can use low-fat yogurt if you wish to lighten it up. I strongly advise tempering the garlic first by microwaving it for 15-20 seconds. This reduces its bitter flavour. You can also use garlic powder instead.
How to make Giant Couscous & Halloumi Salad
1. Cook the beans, giant couscous, and toast the flaked almonds.
Bring a saucepan of generously salted water to boil and add the green beans. Simmer for a few minutes until they are tender. Remove them with tongs when they are ready and set aside. Use the same water to simmer the pearl couscous for 10 minutes until soft and chewy, but still slightly al dente.
Place a frying pan on a medium to high heat and add the flaked almonds. Toast them for a few minutes until they start to brown. Then remove them from the heat and set aside.
2. Make the dressing
If you are using fresh garlic I strongly recommend that you temper it first by heating the peeled cloves in the microwave for 15-20 seconds in a covered bowl. This gets rid of its unpleasant bitter flavour. Crush the garlic with a garlic press when ready or cut into tiny pieces with a sharp knife.
Mix all dressing ingredients in a bowl and set aside.
3. Fry the halloumi
Place a medium-sized saucepan on a medium to high heat, add olive oil and fry the halloumi until it starts to brown on both sides. You might need to do this in two batches and add a little more oil.
4. Assemble the salad
Mix the cooked green beans and lemon zest with the giant couscous and serve on plates or in bowls topped with the toasted flaked almonds and warm halloumi. You can serve the dressing on the side or pour it on the salad and toss to incorporate.
Tools and equipment
- Medium-sized saucepan - for boiling the couscous and green beans.
- Medium-large frying pan - for toasting the ground almonds and frying the halloumi.
- Salad bowl - for tossing the salad ingredients before serving.
- Bowl or jug - for mixing the dressing.
- Garlic press - for crushing the garlic, you can use a sharp knife to chop it into tiny pieces if you don't have one.
- Lemon zester - you can also use a fine grater to zest the lemon.
- Slotted turner - for flipping the halloumi while it fries.
- Sieve - for straining the giant couscous. The holes in most colanders are bigger than the small balls of giant couscous so it's best to use a sieve instead.
3 Tips For Perfect Giant Couscous & Halloumi Salad
- Use the same water for the beans and giant couscous - you can cook the green beans and giant couscous in the same saucepan of generously salted water. This is optional but will save you time and washing up. Just make sure you cook the beans before the giant couscous. The beans can be removed with tongs, but the giant couscous will have to be strained through a sieve.
- Toast the almonds - this makes them crisp and crunchy and improves their flavour. Keep an eye on them, it only takes a few minutes to get them brown so it's easy to forget about them and let them burn.
- Temper the garlic - don't skip this step. The dressing tastes so much better without the tart bitterness of untempered garlic. You just need to microwave it for 15-20 seconds to rid the garlic of these slightly unpleasant bitter flavours. You can also use garlic powder in the dressing if you prefer.
The salad can be stored in the fridge for up to 3 days. I strongly recommend storing the dressing and salad separately to avoid a soggy salad. This dish is not suitable for freezing.
This can happen when the halloumi is cut too thinly and/or when it is cooked for too long. Ensure the pieces are at least 0.5cm/0.25 inches. A couple of minutes on each side should be enough to brown them.
Yes, you can but I would recommend cooking up a fresh batch and adding this to the leftover salad if possible. Otherwise, the cooked halloumi will keep for up to 3 days in the fridge. It's perfectly safe to eat it cold, just not as nice as freshly cooked warm halloumi. Warming the leftover halloumi in the microwave for 20 seconds will vastly improve its taste and texture.
No, it's perfectly edible, but not very tasty. Pan-frying it for a few minutes will vastly improve its texture and flavour and reduce the saltiness.