Thursday, June 5, 2014

10-minute cherry and chicken couscous salad

Pair sweet, ripe cherries with savory grilled chicken and crunchy granola in this summer salad recipe that takes only 10 minutes to prepare. No need to turn on the oven for this easy and healthy weeknight meal salad!

easy and healthy cherry and chicken couscous summer salad recipe

There's a reason you're seeing so many salads showing up lately on food blogs and cooking shows. Well, there are three big reasons:

1) Salads showcase seasonal summer produce.

After a long winter of hot-house tomatoes and root veggies, we go a little cray cray with all the fresh produce at our fingertips from CSA shares, farmer's markets and local produce stands. Tomatoes that taste like tomatoes and not like cardboard? Why yes, I'll eat them with every meal. I'm guilty of adding a salad as the side and vegetable to nearly every dinner I make during the summer -- so fresh, so delicious, so easy.

2) Salads don't require you to turn on the oven.

Done and done. Maybe it's too hot outside ... or maybe you'd just rather be outside. Either way, a meal salad means you don't really have to cook and you can still have a delicious, healthy and satisfying meal. Yeah, how cool is that?

3) Salads are easy to prepare.

Really: Do I need a supporting paragraph here talking about how much we love quick and easy weeknight recipes? No, I didn't think so.

So be prepared to see more summer salads from The Ninj this year. Like this cherry and chicken coucous salad, which meets all the awesome criteria above: it's full of sweet, ripe, summer cherries; you don't have to turn on the oven; and you can make it in 10 minutes.

Yes, you read that correctly: TEN-MINUTE cherry and chicken couscous salad.

easy and healthy cherry and chicken couscous summer salad recipe

Say whaaaaaaaaaat? 

Seriously: I'm not lying. Ten freakin' minutes. You can have a gorgeous, healthy meal salad for dinner with little more than ten minutes of effort. Everyone, and I mean everyone, has ten minutes to make dinner.

No excuses. Can you boil water? Good. And do you own a knife? Excellent. Make this salad for dinner.

Simply cook the Israeli couscous in boiling water for 8-10 minutes, during which time you chop the fruit, veg and cooked chicken and whisk up the dressing. Drain the couscous, toss it all together and you're good to go.

Now, to be fair, I did not factor in the cherry-pitting to the time estimate. But come on -- that still would only add about five or ten minutes to the total. So a 20-minute-max meal salad. Or, if you omit the the chicken, a 20-minute vegetarian meal salad or side dish to serve at your next BBQ or take to the office potluck.

You have 20 minutes for all that, don't you?

easy and healthy cherry and chicken couscous summer salad recipe

20-Minute Cherry and Chicken Couscous Salad

(adapted from Cooking Light)

1 1/2 cups Israeli couscous (I like to use the whole wheat kind)
2 tablespoons lemon juice
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
2 cups sweet cherries, pitted and halved
3/4 cup thinly sliced celery
1/4 cup parsley leaves, coarsely chopped
2/3 cup granola
1 1/2 cups cooked chicken breast, chopped

Cook the couscous in boiling water for 8-10 minutes or according to package directions. Drain and set aside.

While the couscous cooks, whisk together in a large bowl the lemon juice, olive oil, honey, mustard, salt and pepper until blended. Add the couscous and all the remaining ingredients, tossing gently to coat. Done!
-- print recipe --


  1. That looks really wonderful. I love Israeli couscous, and adding granola sounds great. Can't wait to try this!

    1. You were the one that turned me on to the whole wheat version! Enjoy.

  2. This is my kind of weeknight dinner!

  3. 10 minutes? Liar! There's no way something that beautiful is done in 10 minutes. :-)

  4. This truly is a stunning salad. Love the addition of granola! So creative... I wouldn't have ever thought to do that! Pinned :)