Orange Scented Couscous Salad with Cranberries and Maple Pecans

Posted on Dec 20, 2017

Orange Scented Couscous Salad with Cranberries and Maple Pecans

I look forward to the Christmas season every year. It is a time to catch up on the lives of family and friends from near and far. Along with the jovial holiday camaraderie is also many meals featuring countless rich and delicious foods. After a couple days of eating and drinking to excess, I am craving a healthy option that is more exciting than a handful of celery and carrot sticks.

Orange Scented Whole Wheat Couscous with Dried Cranberries and Maple Pecans is a light lunch or tasty side dish to pair with roasted or grilled chicken, fish or steak. The dish features whole wheat pearl or Israeli couscous. The small ball shaped pasta is larger than the granular sized couscous and is toasted instead of dried. When cooked, it has a slightly chewy, toothsome texture.

The robustly nutty tasting pasta is as simple to prepare as rice. It absorbs all the liquid in which it is cooked. To add a depth of flavor to the couscous, it is cooked in a combination of chicken stock and orange juice. The couscous is combined with sweet and tart dried cranberries, crunchy celery, mild shallots, and maple glazed pecans. A quick to whisk together vinaigrette featuring orange juice, balsamic vinegar, and extra virgin olive oil lightly coats the ingredients. A generous sprinkling of fresh chopped parsley adds a bright pop of color and flavor.

The couscous dish holds up well in the refrigerator for a few days. It is delicious served at room temperature or chilled. Having a bowlful of this hearty yet fresh-tasting dish on hand will be a welcome alternative to the bounty of tempting treats that abound during the festive holiday season.

Orange Scented Couscous Salad with Cranberries and Maple Pecans
Recipe type: side dish
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
  • For the couscous~
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • ⅔ cup orange juice
  • 1 cup whole wheat Israeli couscous
  • For the salad~
  • ½ cup chopped pecans
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • ¼ cup orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • ⅔ cup dried cranberries
  • 2 stalks of celery, thinly sliced
  • 1 medium shallot, thinly sliced
  • ¼ cup chopped parsley
  1. In a medium sized saucepan over high heat, add the chicken stock and ⅔ cup orange juice. Bring to a boil and add the couscous. Turn the to low and bring to a simmer. Cover the saucepan and simmer until the water is absorbed, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and let stand covered for about 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork and set aside.
  2. In a small saucepan over medium high heat add the pecans and maple syrup. Bring the syrup to a boil while stirring the nuts to completely coat with the syrup. Remove the coated pecans to a piece of foil that has been coated with cooking spray. Let cool.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk the ¼ cup orange juice, balsamic vinegar, extra virgin olive oi salt and pepper. Set aside.
  4. In a large bowl, add the cooked couscous, cranberries, celery, shallot, parsley, and maple pecans. Add the vinaigrette and toss to coat the ingredients. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve at room temperature or chilled.
Recipe by Amy Casey ~ 2017

© 2017 amycaseycooks


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