Pearl Couscous Salad with Heirloom Tomatoes and Basil Pesto

This summery salad is packed with herbs, spinach and heirloom tomatoes. It travels well and is great at room temperature, so it’s perfect for a picnic or packed lunches. Use a combination of red, yellow, green and orange tomatoes if you can. 



For 8 Serving(s)


  • 6 c packed arugula
  • 1 c packed fresh basil
  • 2 c pearl couscous
  • 1/2 c olive oil
  • 1/4 c pine nuts
  • 4 clv garlic
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 t salt
  • 1/2 t black pepper
  • 6 heirloom tomatoes
  • 1 cucumber
  • 1 white onion

Pearl Couscous Salad with Heirloom Tomatoes and Basil Pesto Directions

  1. Blanch the arugula in a large pot of boiling water for 10 seconds. Dunk the basil in the pot too, then use tongs to immediately transfer the arugula-basil mixture to a colander. Rinse under cold running water to stop the cooking, until no longer warm to the touch. Set aside to drain.
  2. Return the pot of water to a boil. Add the couscous and cook, stirring occasionally, until al dente, 8-10 minutes. Drain, then spread out the couscous on a rimmed baking sheet and drizzle with a a bit of olive oil, and toss to coat. Let cool to room temperature.
  3. In a small skillet over medium heat, toast the pine nuts until golden brown, about 2 minutes. Remove from the pan and set aside to cool.
  4. Squeeze remaining water from the arugula-basil mixture. Transfer to the bowl of a food processor. Add the pine nuts, garlic, lemon zest, lemon juice, salt, pepper and olive oil. Pulse until smooth, adding a little water a bit at a time if the consistency is too thick. Taste, and adjust with more salt and pepper if needed.
  5. Transfer the couscous to a large serving bowl. Add some of the pesto (you may have some leftover) and stir to coat. Fold in the tomatoes, cucumber and onion. Serve.

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