Honey Harissa Couscous Salad

by Eat Well with Lex

Couscous Salad gets a tasty upgrade from a simple side dish to a full meal when tossed with fresh veggies, honey harissa vinaigrette, and grilled chicken. It’s refreshing, filling, and works as a healthy lunch or dinner option!

Want more delicious salad recipes? Try my Grilled Asparagus Caesar Salad and Mexican Corn Salad with Cucumber next.

Delicious Harissa Honey Chicken Couscous Salad

There’s no basic couscous recipe in this house! This honey harissa couscous salad with chicken is a Mediterranean-inspired dish that brings together the perfect blend of sweet and spicy flavors. It has plenty of flavor, texture and is made with fresh nutritious ingredients that will have you scraping your plate! It’s an instant crowd please that will have anyone you make it for asking for me.

Why This is the Best Couscous Salad Recipe

  • Flavorful: The chicken is generously seasoned and then marinated. Once the couscous is cooked to perfection, toss everything with a smoky, sweet honey harissa sauce.
  • Versatile: Swap the protein, make the harissa more or less spicy, use different vegetables… make this recipe yours!
  • Great Meal Prep: This stores well so you can enjoy it throughout the week for an easy, wholesome lunch.
harissa-infused grilled chicken served with flavorful couscous salad

What is Couscous?

Couscous is crushed durum wheat semolina, formed into tiny circles. Although it is often mistaken for a whole grain, it is a pasta. It has a mild, nutty flavor that makes it the perfect blank canvas for a variety of seasonings. It’s a staple in Mediterranean cuisine.

What is Harissa?

Harissa is a North African chili paste made with dried peppers, garlic, oil, citrus, and spices. It’s earthy, spicy, subtly sweet, and fragrant. Some variations include herbs like mint or floral notes from rose petals.

Ingredients

Honey Harissa Chicken

  • Chicken: Boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • Honey: This adds a touch of sweetness.
  • Olive oil: Use a high-quality oil for the best taste.
  • Harissa paste: Adjust the measurements according to your preferred spice level.
  • Spices & Seasonings: Generously season with ground cumin, ground coriander, garlic powder, salt, and black pepper.
overhead view of ingredients for honey harissa chicken couscous salad

Couscous Salad

  • Dry couscous:
  • Chicken broth: You can use water or a low-sodium broth instead.
  • Veggies: halved cherry tomatoes, cucumber, yellow bell pepper, finely chopped red onion, and arugula
  • Fresh herbs: I add chopped parsley and dill for a refreshing taste.
  • Crumbled feta cheese: This adds a salty, tangy quality.

Honey Harissa Vinaigrette

  • Olive oil: This helps the ingredients cling to the salad.
  • Red wine vinegar: This adds a sharp, tangy flavor.
  • Honey: This tames the heat in the harissa.
  • Harissa paste: The main flavor component of the sauce.
  • Seasoning: Keep it simple with salt and pepper to taste.

How to Make Couscous Salad

Marinate Chicken

In a bowl, combine the olive oil, honey, harissa paste, ground cumin, ground coriander, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Mix well to form a smooth marinade.

flavorful marinade with harissa and honey for chicken

Add the chicken breasts to the marinade, ensuring they are coated evenly. Then cover the bowl and let the chicken breast marinate in the fridge for at least 30 minutes or preferably overnight.

chicken marinating in a honey harissa marinade

How to Cook Couscous

In a medium pot, bring the chicken broth or water to a rolling boil. Stir in the couscous, cover the pan then remove it from heat. Let it sit for about 5 minutes or until the couscous absorbs all the liquid. Fluff the couscous with a fork and set it aside to cool. You can also cook the couscous according to the packaging instructions.

Prepare the Vinaigrette

In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, honey, harissa paste, lemon juice, salt, and pepper until well combined. Taste and adjust the seasonings to your liking. Set the vinaigrette aside.

zingy dressing made with harissa and honey

Cook the Chicken

Preheat the grill, grill pan, or skillet to medium-high heat. Cook the chicken breast for about 6-8 minutes on each side or until they are fully cooked through and have a nice char.

Alternatively, you can bake the chicken in a preheated oven at 400 degrees F. for about 20-25 minutes or until done.

Assemble Honey Harissa Couscous Salad

In a large bowl, combine the couscous, cherry tomatoes, diced cucumber, bell pepper, red onion, parsley, and some of the honey harissa vinaigrette. Toss the salad ingredients together until well combined.

Feel free to add the arugula at this step as needed. If you are not serving this salad immediately, do not add the arugula until ready to serve.

mix of colorful vegetables and aromatic herbs in the salad

Slice the honey harissa chicken breast into thin slices then add the chicken to the couscous salad. Drizzle more honey harissa vinaigrette over the salad as needed and toss gently to coat everything with the dressing.

Finally, garnish with crumbled feta and fresh dill.

Pro Tips

  • Chicken breasts are easy to overcook and dry out. The chicken is done when it reaches an internal temperature of 165°F.
  • Use more or less harissa depending on how spicy you want the dish to be. Taste test the vinaigrette before adding it to the couscous salad.
  • Remember to fluff the couscous with a fork once it’s cooked.

Recipe Variations for Couscous Salad

  • Chicken: Instead of chicken breasts, you can use boneless, skinless chicken thighs.
  • Protein: Swap the chicken for pork, shrimp, beef, or even tofu.
  • Couscous: For a healthier option, choose whole wheat couscous. It’s made with whole wheat durum flour.
Couscous salad with fresh vegetables and herbs

Can Couscous Salad Be Made Ahead?

You can make harissa couscous salad a couple of hours ahead and set it in the refrigerator so the flavors have a chance to meld.

Storing Leftovers

Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. Enjoy it cold, room temperature, or hot from the microwave.

Common Questions

Is couscous good for diabetics?

Couscous is an excellent source of protein and lowers glucose levels so it’s great for people with diabetes.

How long does couscous salad last in the fridge?

Couscous salad lasts up to 5 days when properly stored and refrigerated.

Can you freeze couscous salad?

You can freeze cooked couscous on its but once it is combined with other ingredients (like fresh herbs and salad dressing) it’s not recommended.

Is harissa very spicy?

In general, harissa is a moderately spicy paste but the spice level depends on the brand and variety that you buy.

More Salad Recipes:

Watermelon Strawberry Salad

Summer Berry Salad with Strawberry Vinaigrette

Pesto Potato Salad

Chicken Pesto Pasta Salad

DID YOU MAKE THIS COUSCOUS SALAD RECIPE?

Leave a star rating and comment below to let us know your thoughts. You can also share the recipe on Instagram and tag @eatwell.withlex.

Delicious Harissa Honey Chicken Couscous Salad

Honey Harissa Couscous Salad

Couscous Salad gets a tasty upgrade from a simple side dish to a full meal when tossed with fresh veggies, honey harissa vinaigrette, and grilled chicken. It's refreshing, filling, and works as a healthy lunch or dinner option!
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Marinating Time (Chicken) 30 minutes
Course Lunch, Main Course
Cuisine Mediterranean
Servings 4

Ingredients
  

Honey Harissa Chicken

  • 2 Boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 tbsp Honey
  • 2 tbsp Olive oil
  • 2 tbsp Harissa paste adjust to your prefers spice level
  • 1 tsp Ground cumin
  • ½ tsp Ground coriander
  • ½ tsp Garlic powder
  • ½ tsp Salt
  • ¼ tsp Black pepper

Couscous Salad

  • 1 cup Dry couscous
  • cups Chicken broth or water
  • 1 cup Cherry tomatoes halved
  • 1 cup Cucumber
  • ¼ cup Red onion finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup yellow bell pepper diced
  • ¼ cup Fresh parsley
  • 2 tbsp Fresh dill chopped
  • ¼ cup Crumbled feta cheese
  • 2 cups Arugula

Honey Harissa Vinaigrette

  • ¼ cup Olive oil
  • 2 tbsp Red wine vinegar
  • 2 tbsp Honey
  • 1 tbsp Harissa paste
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Instructions
 

  • Marinate the Chicken: In a bowl. Combine the olive oil, honey, harissa paste, ground cumin, ground coriander, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Mix well to form a smooth marinade.
  • Add the chicken breasts to the marinade, ensuring they are coated evenly. Cover the bowl and let the chicken breast marinate in the fridge for at least 30 minutes or preferably overnight.
  • Cook the Couscous: In a medium pot, bring the chicken broth or water to a rolling boil. Stir in the couscous, cover the pan then remove it from heat. Let it sit for about 5 minutes or until the couscous absorbs all the liquid. Fluff the couscous with a fork and set it aside to cool. You can also cook the couscous according to the packaging instructions.
  • Prepare the Vinaigrette: In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, honey, harissa paste, lemon juice, salt and pepper until well combined. Taste and adjust the seasonings to your liking. Set the vinaigrette aside.
  • Cook the Chicken: Preheat the grill, grill pan or a skillet to medium-high heat. Cook the chicken breast for about 6-8 minutes on each side or until they are fully cooked through and have a nice char.
  • Alternatively, you can bake the chicken in a preheated oven at 400 degrees F. for about 20-25 minutes or until done.
  • Assemble the salad: In a large bowl, combine the couscous, cherry tomatoes, diced cucumber, red onion, bell pepper, parsley, dill and some of the honey harissa vinaigrette. Toss the salad ingredients together until well combined.
  • Feel free to add the arugula at this step as needed. If you are not serving this salad immediately, do not add the arugula until ready to serve.
  • Slice the honey harissa chicken breast into thin slices then add the chicken to the couscous salad. Drizzle more honey harissa vinaigrette over the salad as needed and toss gently to coat everything with the dressing.
  • Garnish with crumbled feta and fresh dill.
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