Colorful couscous chicken and white bean salad
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.
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.
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.
Colorful couscous chicken and white bean salad
- 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
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!