Erin and Misty's Basil Couscous Salad aka- my new favorite salad

My amazing friend Erin (who recently left our neighborhood for Cali, can't even get started on how much we miss her and her fam) , gave this recipe to me last fall. Erin inherited this recipe from her little sis, Misty . I filed it away until this summer because I thought it looked like a great summer salad. Tried this recipe out the other night, when I needed to make a salad for 60. It was a wedding shower, and perfect for the event. First try, I used the spring mix suggested, but I really dislike it when a salad goes limp. Don't you hate that? I like using romaine in salads that are heavy on other filler ingredients. Reason being- I like the green to be substantial enough to support the other ingredients. Salads are like shows. In this salad, the greens are support, and all of the other ingredients are leads. Melinda, my show-a-holic friend, who is turning 48 (yikes, you're old!) this week will love this analogy.
Anyway, tonight, I made the salad again, with romaine and spinach. 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.

Basil Couscous Salad
Erin Blake and Misty Mayfield

printable recipe
1 package Olive Oil and Garlic Couscous
12 cups Romaine lettuce (about 1 large or two medium heads)
1/2 cup Craisins
1/2 cup grated Asiago or Parmesan 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

Fresh Basil 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 couscous according to package directions. Cool completely. Refrigerate.
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.
-Misty said this salad was originally served with chopped chicken as a main ingredient. Great for a main dish salad.
-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.
-*You may use frozen corn. I won't be as delicious, but you won't know the diff if you don't use fresh first. ;)
-*Don't even think about using dried basil.


  1. And my new favorite salad. I was going to be asking you for the recipe so I am glad you posted it!

  2. This looks like a fabulous salad

  3. I miss Erin... but am happy to be the littlest sis of those two above-mentioned ladies. I've never tried it but I guess I'm obligated to now.

  4. Yikes how old are WE going to be? I was ok until i saw it in print. ( I am half way to 96). I did love the show-salad comparison and the salad.

  5. Thanks for your great site. The photo looks like it has sunflower seeds or pine nuts in the salad. I have pumpkin seeds, but they have a rather strong flavor. Which nuts work best with this salad? Btw, my claim to fame is as sis-in-law to the Celeb Laurie of Amazing Choc Cake fame.

  6. Kelly, you will love this salad!
    Anon- the seeds in the photo are roasted punmpkin seeds. I loved the crunch. To eat alone, the flavor was a little strong, but perfect on the salad. You could sub any of the seeds you mentioned. Lucky you to be related to Laurie! Love her. Thanks for sharing!

  7. I made this salad for dinner this week. It is sooooooo good! The dressing is just delicious and fresh tasting. I can't wait to make it again. Everyone in my family enjoyed it. Thanks so much for sharing so many wonderful recipies. I look forward to your new posts each week! Love all your recipies. Thanks again!

  8. My friend called and said that i HAVE TO try this salad! I've never cooked with couscous. Where do you buy it?

  9. Brenna you can buy couscous at most groc stores. You will find it close to the rice. Let us know if you try it!

  10. Totally gorgeous looking salad. Thanks for sharing.

  11. made this tonight for a bbq side dish, and it was so fresh and fabulous! the texture is amazing (such a great combo of crunchy, chewy, etc) and the creamy basil dressing just makes your mouth water like it's crying with happiness!

  12. I'm making this tonight. It's my fav. X


Tell us how you really feel...