I made the salad again, with romaine and spinach and I loved it. The Romaine was firm and crunchy. No problem tossing the dressing with the salad. No limp leaves. Hooray for firm lettuce! I know you think I’m weirdly obsessive about ridiculous things. But this is important, I promise.
A few hours before serving, start prepping the salad and make the dressing. The dressing is best when it’s been refrigerated for a bit. This also gives time for the couscous and corn to cool off after they’ve been cooked. A little bit before you’re ready to serve, you can assemble all the ingredients you’ve already prepped and toss with the dressing! This is a great “make-ahead” salad for showers or parties. You can prep everything the day before, refrigerate it all, and toss everything together before eating.
Want more of a complete meal? Throw in some chicken and you’ve got a great main dish for dinner. Or just serve it as a side salad. It’s delicious any way you decide to make it.
Basil Couscous Salad
- 1 package Olive Oil and Garlic Couscous OR 1/2 cup of cous cous prepared as directed
- 12 cups Romaine lettuce about 1 large or two medium heads*
- 1/2 cup Craisins
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan or Asiago cheese
- 1 1/2 cups or 3-4 medium ears fresh white corn cooked, cooled and cut off cob*
- 1/2 cup toasted pumpkin seeds
Dressing: (enough for a double batch of salad)
- 1 cup fresh basil leaves*
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- 1/2 shallot chopped (optional)
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- Salt and Pepper to taste
For best results- a day before, or at least a few hours before:
Cook package of couscous according to directions on box. Cool completely. If you are using plain cous cous follow directions for cooking in recipe notes.
Wash and dry lettuce, set aside in refrigerator.
Cook corn, rinse with cool water. Cut corn off cob and place in refrigerator to cool completely.
Make dressing by mixing all ingredients in blender or by using a hand immersion blender. Refrigerate.
When ready to serve:
Place cooked couscous in a large bowl. Chop lettuce into bite size pieces. Add lettuce and rest of salad ingredients into bowl. Just before serving, drizzle dressing (I only use about 1/2 ) and toss. You may serve additional remaining dressing on the side.
- When I say "large" head of Romaine, I'm not talking about a Costco head of Romaine. Those are Romaine hearts. If you are using Costco Romaine, probably about 4-5 heads will do.
- The first time I made this salad, I tried to cook the couscous and cook the corn and let both cool before adding to the salad. It really works best to cook both several hours or the day before and refrigerate. Also best to use really cold lettuce and dressing. I tried both ways, and had the best result when preparing ingredients the day before and then toss the ingredients when all completely chilled.
- If fresh is not available, frozen corn works well!