This salad makes for a delicious and interesting addition to any picnic or potluck but could work just as well in cooler weather by leaving out the tomato and cucumber. It uses basic pantry ingredients and fresh vegetables that you might just be growing in your garden! While either the couscous or quinoa can stand on its own in this salad, the combination of them adds color, texture, and variety to this dish. Gluten-free eaters can substitute the same amount of quinoa for the couscous. And don't forget the tahini sauce! Sauces can take some of your favorite meals from “yawn” to “wow” and this one couldn't be any easier to make. This recipe is perfect for substitutions so make it your own by experimenting with foods that have a Mediterranean personality!
Mediterranean Couscous-Quinoa Salad with Tahini Sauce
1/2 cup quinoa, rinsed
1 cup water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup instant couscous
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup boiling water
1 cup cooked or canned chickpeas (drained and rinsed)
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved (or substitute 1 large tomato, chopped)
1/2 medium cucumber, chopped
1/4 cup pitted black or kalamata olives, chopped
1/2 cup chopped artichoke hearts or hearts of palm (or both!)
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley or basil, or more, if desired, for a bright fresh taste
1/4 cup sliced almonds (or substitute sunflower or raw pumpkin seeds)
2 tablespoons capers, drained
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup tahini
1/3 cup warm water
1 to 2 tablespoons tamari or soy sauce
1 to 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 to 2 large garlic cloves, grated or minced
2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
Bring quinoa, water, and salt to a boil in a small pot. Cover and reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook for about 15 to 20 minutes, until the quinoa is tender with just a little bite to it. Don’t overcook or you’ll lose the texture. Remove from heat, and fluff with a fork. Set aside to cool.
Place the couscous and salt in a large bowl. Add the boiling water. Cover with a plate and let stand for 10 minutes. Remove the plate, and fluff with a fork. Add the quinoa to the couscous, and gently mix to combine. The grains should be separate and not mushy.
Mix in the chickpeas, tomatoes, cucumber, olives, artichoke or hearts of palm, parsley, almonds, and capers. Drizzle in the oil and lemon juice over everything and toss together.
To make the tahini sauce, stir everything together in a small bowl. Start by using the least amount of tamari, lemon juice, and garlic, then add more to suit your taste.
Serve with tahini drizzled on top.