Mexican Couscous Salad

Mexican Couscous Salad | Cookie Monster Cooking

It’s that time of the year.  You know, when you realize you’ve eaten a few too many cookies during the holidays and didn’t go for a run as often as you would have liked.  Combine that with stress from travel and general life craziness … and then add in some more cookies for good measure.

As cliché as it may be, it really is a great time of the year to do a sort of reset, if you will.  We eat really healthy about 80 to 90 percent of the time, but after the holiday nuttiness my body is always craving good-for-me food.  And whispering that I should probably take a step back from the sugar and butter.

At least for a little bit.

Mexican Couscous Salad | Cookie Monster Cooking

So let’s talk an easy weeknight dinner or even a great lunch option.  Mexican couscous salad.  I’m down with pretty much anything that has mexican flavors … and especially something that is light, filling and is good for you in a sneaky sort of way.

And by sneaky I mean it is packed with veggies, whole grains, some protein and a smoky chipotle honey dressing.  And it tastes delicious and you won’t even be thinking about sugar.  Or chocolate.  Well, at least when you’re eating this salad.

Mexican Couscous Salad | Cookie Monster Cooking

I’m definitely down with that.  2014 you’re off to a good start.

Mexican Couscous Salad
Yield: about 4 to 6 servings
For the salad:
  • 2 ½ cups water
  • 2 cups whole wheat pearl couscous
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 1 cup frozen corn (fresh would also work)
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon chili powder
  • ¼ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (14 ounce) can fire-roasted diced tomatoes, drained well
  • ½ cup cilantro, chopped
  • ½ cup feta crumbles
For the dressing:
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 ½ teaspoons honey
  • 1 to 2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, minced
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  1. To make the salad - add the water to a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Add in the couscous. Give it a good stir then cover and turn down the heat. Simmer for about 10 minutes, until most of the water is absorbed (it should be cooked but al dente). Immediately drain the couscous and rinse well with cold water (to stop the cooking). Transfer to a large bowl and set aside.
  2. Set a medium skillet over medium heat. Add in the olive oil. When hot, add in the red onion. Cook for about 2 to 3 minutes, until it starts to soften. Add in the corn, cumin, chili powder, paprika and salt. Continue to cook for about 5 to 7 minutes, until tender. Turn off the heat and allow to cool slightly. Transfer to the bowl with the couscous.
  3. Add the black beans, tomatoes, cilantro and feta to the bowl with the couscous. Toss to combine.
  4. To make the dressing - in a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, honey, minced chipotle pepper and salt until smooth. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss until well combined. Season with additional salt and/or pepper if needed.

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  1. We just had this tonight and it is absolutely delicious! Definitely remembering this one!

  2. You had me at you reach 4 even more cookies. Couscous can be really bland in my opinion, but this looks super flavorful!

  3. I love couscous, and this looks so fresh, healthy and delicious. I’ve never tried a Mexican spin on it, but it looks like it’d be fantastic.

  4. What an appealing and flavor filled salad bowl! I am going to try this with brown rice couscous for my veggie gluten-free daughter (and the rest of the family!). I even think a big bowl of this would be great at a Super Bowl party! Thanks, Ashley!

  5. Well if this is healthy eating then I am on board for 2014! I love all the Mexican flavors you have going on in this salad, Ashley. Absolutely gorgeous! :D

  6. Yes…step away from the butter!! Haha. This salad looks like a good excuse to lighten things up. I’m always a fan of Mexican flavors and I love the idea of using couscous!

  7. What a delicious looking salad! I love anything Mexican. The honey chipotle dressing sounds so good!

  8. Pretty much obsessed with anything that starts with “Mexican” so you won my heart. You won it big!

  9. Love salads like this! Packed with lots of goodies is the only kind of salad in my opinion. ;) This recipe might be healthy, but it sure isn’t lacking in flavor. The addition of chipotle ensures that! I could add chipotle to anything. Except for maybe cookies… though sweet and spicy chocolate chipotle cookies could definitely become a thing. ;)

  10. Yay, healthy is good and I’m totally on board! :) Love the chipotle peppers in the dressing. Pinned! Enjoy the rest of your weekend Ashley. :)

  11. Oh yeah, I’ve consumed more cookies than I’d like to confess, so salads like this are welcome now. I love mexican stuff (minus the cilantro ahem) and couscous, so I know that this salad will be a total winner!
    I hope you’re having a lovely weekend! xx

  12. What a beautiful and easy looking salad. I am totally on that January fresh start. I love the addition of feta cheese! I just bought some to make a yummy salad :) .

  13. I eat healthy most of the time, but when I eat a few more treats then normal, I can definitely feel it. This looks like the perfect way to recover from the holidays!

  14. This looks absolutely delicious! I have a few friends coming over for lunch, and this will be perfect, thanks!

  15. This sounds like the perfect lunch!! Love it!

  16. This salad looks lovely, light, and really delicious!

  17. I don’t have couscous nearly as much as I should – but this salad looks fabulous! And yes, something refreshing and healthy sounds wonderful after the food-filled holidays!

  18. a healthy salad like this is what we need! ;)

  19. This is just the type of salad I always crave. I love all the fresh, Mexican flavors! And yes, I ate far too many cookies and didn’t work out as much as I should have over the holidays. Have a great weekend, Ashley!

  20. I also try to eat healthy most of the time but save a room for indulgences (and chocolate!). I made a bowl of black eyed peas on New Year’s that looks something like your gorgeous salad and I saved some to throw into salad greens. I want to try the chipotle peppers in adobe – it sounds like such a great addition to a dressing!

  21. This looks amazing!! Healthy and nourishing!! Perfect for the New year!! Thanks for sharing! Hope that you have a great day :)

  22. I absolutely love pearl couscous, Ashley, and I need this salad! I love all of these flavors, and I’m with you on taking a step back from butter and sugar for a while, even if my posts don’t reflect that just yet. ha Have a great weekend!

  23. Wow Ashley, I love the Mexican flavors in this couscous…it sure makes a great meal.
    Happy New Year :D

  24. Not cliche at all, I agree that January is the perfect time to take a step back and reevaluate and eat better! I’m pretty sick of all the sugar too, at least for the next few days! This salad looks gorgeous and I’ve never tried wheat pearl couscous, they look great though!

  25. This salad is screaming eat me!! I love the combo of mexican and cousous!

  26. Love your combo of red wine vinegar and chipotle peppers in adobo sauce in this dressing for this delectable salad!

  27. I was happy when I saw the title but even more excited when I saw that you used pearl couscous! I love that stuff and it makes awesome salads. Pinned. I totally know what you mean about resetting and craving healthy foods. I’m the same, whenever I’ve gone a little overboard I start craving greens like crazy!

  28. This is totally my kind of salad. I love couscous!!

  29. I am SO loving this Ashley! I’m on the hunt for healthy recipes that well, don’t look (and taste) “healthy”. And this looks amazing. Love the Mexican flavors and that honey chipotle dressing! Pinning. Tweeting. Making. :)

  30. These salad looks like the perfect way to start off the new year! Love that it’s packed with flavor!

  31. Hehe, we definitely had our fair share of heavy meals and decadent treats over the holidays so salads are perfect right now. Love this veggie packed mexican couscous salad and that red wine vinegar with adobo peppers sounds awesome!

  32. A beautiful and satisfying salad. Love the simply dressing too.

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