Colorful couscous chicken and white bean salad

Colorful couscous chicken and white bean salad
This couscous chicken and white bean salad is delicious, refreshing, healthy, and so quick to make. Cucumbers, red onion, parsley, and cherry tomatoes are mixed with creamy white beans and juicy chicken breast pieces all combined together with whole wheat couscous. Top this salad with a simple and tasty olive oil and lemon dressing to make this the perfect salad for any occasion!

 

Inspiration and thoughts

One of my favorite salads!  This is my go-to salad when I want to make something healthy and delicious but also quick and easy.  It’s perfect for meal prepping too because leftovers are delicious.  I also always make and bring this salad to get togethers, gatherings, and dinner parties and it never disappoints. 

I’ve always loved couscous but actually used to use it even more as a backpacking meal because of how easy and quick it is to make and how light it is to carry.  All you have to do is boil water, add couscous, let it site for 5 minutes, then its done!  And I always spice it up with other things of course (even in the mountains!).   That quick cooking aspect of couscous makes it a favorite for me, especially in this recipe.  Couscous is perfect for hot meals and for salads, but I definitely prefer to have it in salads or stuffings instead of other grains and pastas.  I love a salad with quinoa in it, which has been so popular in everything these days, but I prefer couscous every time if I have to choose.

couscous salad side view in bowl

How it’s made, substitutions and notes

So easy and quick.  Cook your chicken first in a medium mixed skillet or cast iron.  I used two medium sized chicken breasts for this recipe pretty thinly sliced for quick cooking, and I use a cast iron skillet.  This cast iron skillet is great and I love it.  If you have thicker pieces that is fine,  just make sure to cook them a bit longer than in my recipe below and to cover them on low heat while they are cooking.  They might also need more than a tablespoon of chicken broth, and you can also use water instead if you prefer or don’t have it on hand. 

After the chicken is done, let it rest for a minute and then cut it into small bite sized pieces.  While it cooks though, start your couscous.  This is the easiest part – just add your chicken broth to a small skillet and bring to a boil.  When it boils turn the heat off, add the couscous, and let it sit for 5 minutes, covered.  Fluff it up a bit with a fork and then leave covered until you’ve chopped up the rest of the ingredients.  couscous ingredients in bowl

Time to chop.  Chop up the cherry tomatoes, red onion, cucumbers and parsley and all them all to a large bowl.  Drain and rinse your white beans (never skip that!) and add them to the bowl too.  Add the chicken breast and couscous and mix everything together.

Lastly, the dressing.  This dressing is my mom’s favorite.  She does not like most thick or unhealthy dressings and prefers simple olive olive and lemon dressings with a few spices to top any salad.  I grew up with these and also use that as my go-to dressing and favorite thing to spice up any salad easily and with few ingredients.  Add the olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic powder and lemon juice to the bowl and mix.  Taste it too! This is a simple dressing and adjustable based on your taste, so add more or less olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic powder and lemon to your liking!  I love lemon juice in a salad, and as you can see I added the juice of two lemons to this one.  If that’s too much, adjust to your tastes.  

For substitutions, check out my notes at the bottom of this post in the Recipe Notes!  Lots of variations of this salad if you need to find some alternatives, which is great. 

Serve and enjoy! Hope you love this one. 

featured image for couscous in bowl

Colorful couscous chicken and white bean salad

This couscous chicken and white bean salad is delicious, refreshing, healthy, and so quick to make. Cucumbers, red onion, parsley, and cherry tomatoes are mixed with creamy white beans and juicy chicken breast pieces all combined together with whole wheat couscous. Top this salad with a simple and tasty olive oil and lemon dressing to make this the perfect salad for any occasion!
5 from 1 vote
Course Appetizer, dinner, lunch, Main Course, Side Dish

Ingredients
  

  • 1 cup couscous any dry couscous; I used dry whole wheat couscous
  • 1 cup + 1 tablespoon chicken broth (the tablespoon is for cooking the chicken)
  • 2 medium sized thin cut chicken breasts
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped red onion
  • 10 ounces cherry tomatoes chopped in half; I used yellow cherry tomatoes
  • 3 Persian cucumbers chopped
  • 1 can white beans/great northern beans rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped parsley
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • juice of 2 lemons (more or less to taste!)
  • 1/4 tsp salt (more or less to taste!)
  • 1/4 tsp pepper (more or less to taste!)
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder

Instructions
 

Cook the chicken breasts

  • Add salt, pepper and garlic powder to each side of the chicken breasts. Heat olive oil in a medium sized skillet or cast iron on medium high heat. Add the chicken when the oil is nice and hot and cook for 1-2 minutes then flip it over to the other side. Add 1 tablespoon of chicken broth to the pan. Lower the heat down to medium/medium low and continue to cook for 10-15 minutes, depending on the thickness of your chicken breasts (See notes below!). When the chicken is done, let it rest for a minute then slice into bite sized pieces.

Make the couscous

  • While the chicken is cooking, add the chicken broth to a small skillet and bring to a boil. Turn off the heat, add the couscous, and cover for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, fluff up the couscous with a fork and cover again until you've cut your veggies.

Cut the veggies, tomatoes and wash the beans

  • Chop all of the veggies and tomatoes and wash and drain the white beans. Add everything to a large bowl.

Add it all together!

  • To the large bowl, add the couscous and chicken. Then add the lemon, olive oil, salt and pepper, and garlic powder and mix together. This is a simple dressing and adjustable based on your taste, so add more or less olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic powder and lemon to your liking! Enjoy!

Notes

For the chicken breasts, everyone has their own way to cook chicken breasts, but for this recipe this is my way: I used two medium sized thinly cut chicken breasts so they would cook faster.  Heat olive oil in a medium sized skillet or cast iron on medium high heat. Add the chicken when the oil is nice and hot and cook for 1-2 minutes then flip it over to the other side. Add 1 tablespoon of chicken broth to the pan. Lower the heat down to medium/medium low and continue to cook for 10-12 minutes, depending on the thickness of your chicken breasts.  If you get thicker chicken I would recommend cooking for 15 minutes and to also keep the heat on low and cover the chicken as it cooks.  Make sure to cut in and test the chicken to ensure it is cooked through! 
Substitutions: You can use Roma instead of cherry tomatoes, cilantro instead of parsley, and any bean instead of the white beans.  You could also use another meat instead of chicken if you prefer, and when you cook the couscous, you can also use water instead of chicken broth.  The broth gives the couscous a richer flavor, but water is fine!
Dressing: This is a simple dressing and adjustable based on your taste, so add more or less olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic powder and lemon to your liking! 
Keyword cherry tomato, chicken, chicken breast, couscous, dinner, easy, healthy, lemon, lunch, olive oil, parsley, persian cucumber, quick, red onion, salad


2 thoughts on “Colorful couscous chicken and white bean salad”

  • 5 stars
    Delicious, Stacy. I love this salad because its delicious with or without meat and has all the nutrients of a full meal. Instead of white beans, I will use garbanzo beans and add cilantro.

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