Recipes Salads Pasta Rice and Grain Salads Couscous Salad with Saffron, Dried Fruit and Pine Nuts

Couscous Salad with Saffron, Dried Fruit and Pine Nuts

Tangy citrus, dried fruit and toasted pine nuts flavor this savory Middle Eastern salad. For a meatless picnic, pair it with roasted summer vegetables and a chopped cucumber salad. Or serve it alongside simple grilled fish or barbecued chicken.


  • 1 orange 
  • 1/8 tsp. saffron threads 
  • 1 1/2 Tbs. olive oil 
  • 1 1/2 cups whole-wheat couscous 
  • 1/3 cup thinly slivered dried apricots 
  • 1/4 cup golden raisins 
  • 2 cups water 
  • 1/2 tsp. salt, plus more, to taste 
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon 
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh mint 
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste


Zest the orange to yield 1 tsp. grated zest. Juice the orange and reserve 1/4 cup juice.

In a dry fry pan over medium heat, shake the saffron threads until fragrant and a shade darker, about 1 minute. Transfer the saffron to a small bowl and, when cool, crumble with your fingertips.

Put the couscous in a large bowl, drizzle the olive oil on top and stir well to coat. Scatter the couscous with the apricots and raisins.

In a small saucepan over high heat, bring the water to a boil. Stir in the saffron, the 1/2 tsp. salt and the cinnamon and pour over the couscous. Cover the bowl tightly with aluminum foil and let stand until the couscous is tender and the liquid is absorbed, about 5 minutes.

Remove the foil and fluff the couscous grains well with a fork. Stir in the mint, pine nuts, orange zest, orange juice and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper. Serves 4.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Eat Well, by Charity Ferreira (Oxmoor House, 2008).