Summer salad series: Ottoman Couscous salad

Summer salad series: Ottoman Couscous salad

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Salad season is here. As the weather gets hotter over the coming months,  salads  really shine.  Fast, healthy and easy to make, salads can be a meal in themselves or a beautiful side dish. They are perfect for outdoor meals, you can make them at home and transport them easily without dramas. For a barbecue, at the beach or a light meal on the deck at home, a salad is simply stunning.

But it can be easy to fall into a salad rut. Mix things up this summer and explore the options that seasonal fresh fruit and vegetables offer with our summer salad series.

This  Ottoman couscous salad comes from chef Jace Blunden, who developed it in the early 2000s. It was so popular that after being on the  menu for only a few weeks, variations began popping up in cafes all over town.  More than a decade later he says it is still the recipe most requested by friends and most borrowed by other chefs.

Not quite Tunisian, not quite Turkish, it has a mix of Middle Eastern flavours that transcends borders. Jace has decided it’s Ottoman, after the empire that stretched around the Mediterranean and into Africa. If you feel adapting this recipe yourself, get some souk market inspiration from our bazaar themed ingredients here.  All of these products are sold in store.

Ingredients (Serves 4)

  • One 250g packet Pearl couscous (Israeli)
  • A quarter of a cup of pistachio nuts or pine nuts, roasted and chopped
  • 2 tablespoons barberries
  • Half a teaspoon pomegranate molasses
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon Ras El Hanout
  • 2 large fresh tomatoes
  • 1 large lebanese cucumber
  • Half a cup chopped mint
  • Half a cup chopped parsley
  • Half a cup chopped coriander

Ottoman salad

Boil  a large volume of water and cook the couscous for 10 minutes. Quickly strain and run cold water over the couscous to keep it separated and chewy, without going gluey.

Mix with finely diced tomatoes, cucumbers, mint, parsley and coriander. Add the barberries and roasted pistachios.


Mix the lime juice, balsamic vinegar, extra virgin olive oil,  Ras el Hanout spice mix and  pomegranate molasses.

Pour dressing over salad, mix and serve immediately.

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