(French Fridays with Dorie: Couscous Salad)

It is a rainy, overcast day in August here in Upstate NY.

Runner Girl is back to school

The temperatures have dropped below seasonable temperatures.

And frankly, I am a little confused about what season it is right now.

Back to school always meant the beginning of fall around here (i.e. the Thursday after Labor Day) - now that back to school happens in mid-August, I have to keep reminding myself that summer has yet to run its course.

I don't have to put away the deck furniture.

The shovels and snow blower can stay put away for a few more months.

The lawn still needs to be mowed and the mulch beds still need weeding (and probably will all the way until they are covered with snow).

This week's French Fridays with Dorie recipe helps remind us that summer is still around us.

Couscous (I departed from the recipe and use Israeli couscous), simmered in broth and spices is brought to life with some of summer's bounty - carrots, peppers, cucumbers and herbs are joined by chickpeas and raisins (in another departure, I used goldenberries instead of raisins). The end result is a visually stimulating salad, that is sure to please the summer loving palette.

In the spirit of disclosure, I did go a little off recipe. Aside from the couscous and goldenberries change out, I nixed the cumin (because no one in my house would touch it if I used it) and left out the snap peas (couldn't find them).

This dish seemed to be a fitting side to yogurt marinated grilled chicken and tomato & mozzarella salad.

While I don't see myself duplicating this salad in its entirety in the future, I did enjoy many of the components together and can see variations of it happening. (I am envisioning a version with roasted root vegetables).

Hopefully, everyone is figuring out how to stretch their enjoyment of those last days of summer (unless you are in the Southern Hemisphere and are anxiously awaiting the change of seasons).

Peace out.


This post participates in French Fridays with Dorie. Dorie's recipe for couscous salad (plus a bonus lemon chicken recipe) can be found here on Epicuious.com.


  1. I was so surprised when I heard that kids back home are already going back to school. Why is it so early this year? Is this the new norm? It's a sucky norm, if it's going to be like this every year. (My brain can't process that by this time next year, I'll be bringing Charlie to his first day of kindergarten, at some yet-to-be-determined location in the US. I thought I'd at least have until september!) Your couscous looks great, and i really like the idea of the roasted root vegetable version. Since people reported that it made so much, I figured it would be the perfect thing to bring to a bbq tomorrow, so it's sitting in my fridge now.

  2. Your whole meal sounds divine! And aren't those little cukes cute? They're a little bitter, though, so more for looks than actual eating :/ Don't think I'll be buying them again!

  3. Couscous salad does make us think of summer and we hope that there will be more warm days to enjoy!

  4. Sounds like a wonderful meal Cher!

  5. I'm a little confused by the seasons as well. Perhaps because we seemed to go from full on heat-stroke inducing summer temps to chilly early autumn in the course of a day. I don't feel quite ready. And I think that most of us made a few tweaks to this recipes. I feel like it was designed to clean out my crisper and so that's what I used it for.

  6. I must try this again with something something chicken (cannot decide) grilled, roasted or pan fried!

  7. I like the idea of roasted root vegetables with this salad - something to keep in mind for fall. I'm hoping we get an extended warm spell through September, here. I don't feel like I've gotten enough time in the garden this year.

  8. I'm with you about the seasons as we have been swinging from 60's at night to high 80's during the day. With rain. Yay. I want sweatpants but then the air conditioner too. Egad. Older son heads back to Boston next weekend so it is going to be a fire drill getting ready this week. The younger one starts his program in January. Which means everything (protein shakes, clothes, workout stuff) they shared all summer will be fought over royally this week :) Ok, the recipe. Good stuff, fun to tweak and limited use of stove. Perfect. Hubby really did like it so I will be hunting Trader Joes for your Israeli Couscous to make more. :)

  9. It's been crisp here all month, so I'm completely confused. I like the idea of Israeli couscous in this one. I really loved all the spices that the grains got cooked with, so I'll remember to try that with other grains in the future. And, I love your idea of root vegetables as we move officially into fall. I like that this was so easy to tailor to your own (and your family's) tastes.

  10. The weather has been all wacky this year. We've had great summer weather with enough rain to keep the forest fires at bay. But, it's gotten colder and leaves are starting to change and Fall is in the air. I am soooooo not ready for cold weather. I liked this recipe just as it was written except for the cilantro. I do think roasted veggies would be tasty. But I love roasted vegetables just as a general concept. Roasted brussels sprouts with Maldon Salt. Mmmm Is Runner Girl a Junior? It seems just yesterday that she was leaving for her freshman year and Mom was a bit shaky about it. How time flies. Scary.

  11. Looks great, Cher. I don't care for couscous too much, but that Israeli
    couscous looks very interesting, almost like the Italian Acini Di Pepe
    that I add to soups.

  12. I wish we could get some of your New York rain. California is so dry this year. We love curry so this was a hit with me and my husband.

  13. I liked this one, but I knew the scale would be enormous from previous Dorie salads. I halved it and had heaps to go with dinner for the rest of the week. Loved it though.

  14. I don't eat couscous enough to appreciate it! But your post might be a good place to start :D

    Choc Chip Uru

  15. We are NOT enjoying the end of summer. Its hot and dry and the wind is, indeed, 'sweeping down the plain'. We will be glad for it to end! I liked this salad and can see making it again but Gary didn't enjoy it which is weird since he eats most anything. I'm always surprised when he doesn't like something. I might be envying you the cool temps now but come winter I will be glad to be where I am!

  16. I used Israeli couscous the last time I made couscous too. I much prefer it to regular--something about the texture. We've had such a strange summer here. For the most part it's been so cool, it's felt like fall for at least the last month. I expect we'll have an insanely hot October just to make up for things!

  17. I think I might have liked this better with Israeli couscous - yours looks really good! I am confused about the season too as my daughter started school two weeks ago already! It mentally feels like fall, but outside still feels like summer. Weird.

  18. 116 today, and 113 all weekend. It is definitely still summer in SoCal - wouldn't mind a little of your cooler weather if you could manage to send some my way.

    Loved this salad, and how flexible it was. Even Sous Chef approved.

    Hope you are having a great Labor Day!


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