Fresh asparagus, green peas, broad beans, pine nuts and herbs combined with couscous are a wonderful combination for a summer salad. I like to make this couscous, asparagus and broad bean salad as a side dish at a BBQ or for a light summer lunch that really makes the most of those summer flavours. The pine nuts add a delicious crunch and flavour boost. Suitable for vegans.
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I absolutely love the time of year when summer vegetables are in season. You just can’t beat the taste of fresh asparagus, broad beans and peas.
Ok, new potatoes, homegrown tomatoes and baby courgettes are pretty good too.
But there’s something about the combination of asparagus and broad beans that is really special.
I’ve combined them with peas and couscous in this summer salad recipe. A vegetarian version of this salad would probably contain feta cheese. Rather than using a vegan cheese alternative here I’ve used pine nuts, which are one of my favourite ways to add an extra flavour boost to vegan dishes.
This salad also contains plenty of olive oil, lemon juice and salt and pepper.
How difficult is this salad to make?
One of the best things about this summer couscous salad is how easy it is to make. No-one wants to spend a lot of time slaving over a hot stove on a warm summer’s day. And there’s very little actual cooking involved with this recipe.
- The couscous simply soaks in boiling water and absorbs it.
- I like to double pod my broad beans which involves blanching them - cooking in hot water then plunging into ice cold water - about 2-3 minutes cooking time.
- The asparagus and peas need to be cooked for just a few minutes
- And finally the pine nuts are best when toasted.
All in all that’s less than ten minutes cooking and you can do most of it at the same time, meaning that it's even less.
How do you prepare broad beans?
As mentioned above I like to double pod my broad beans (also known as fava beans).
When you remove the outer casing you are left with large beans with a grey-ish casing. You can cook them and eat them with this outer skin on but they are a beautiful colour and taste much nicer if you remove it.
The easiest way to do this is to blanch them - cook in boiling water for 2-3 minutes, then drain and place in a bowl of iced water. Once cool enough to touch you can squeeze the delicate green inner broad bean through the outer skin.
Read more about how to double pod broad beans.
Is couscous difficult to prepare?
Couscous is so easy to make. It doesn’t require any active cooking time - after all it’s being rehydrated rather than cooked (most couscous available to us here in the UK is pre-cooked).
Simply place your couscous in a heatproof bowl - here I use 240g.
Pour over 300ml boiling water and cover with a lid.
Remove the lid after five minutes and fluff up with a fork. Add olive oil and salt and pepper or use your couscous in the recipe below.
What should you serve with this broad bean couscous salad?
My favourite way to eat this salad is as a vegan BBQ side dish. We had it recently with vegan sausages, griddled veggies and homemade flatbreads.
It also makes a lovely light lunch, perhaps with some hummus or another dip.
What ingredients do you need to make couscous and broad bean salad?
- 240g couscous
- 300ml boiling water
- 200g asparagus
- 130g double podded broad beans, approx 8-10 pods
- 150g peas
- Small handful pine nuts,
- Small handful fresh mint or basil leaves
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- Salt and pepper, to taste
What special diets is this salad suitable for?
This couscous salad is suitable for vegetarians and vegans.
Couscous is made from wheat so it isn't suitable for anyone following a gluten free diet. However, you could substitute quinoa in its place if you need it to be gluten free.
This salad is also nut free. Despite the name, pine nuts are actually a seed. Pine nut allergies are rare but check with the person you're cooking for if you're not sure.
Do you need any special equipment to make this salad?
That’s another one of the reasons why I love this salad so much - you don’t need any special equipment at all.
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Pin summer couscous, asparagus and broad bean salad
How to make summer couscous, broad bean and asparagus salad
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Broad bean and couscous salad
- 240 g couscous
- 300 ml boiling water
- 200 g asparagus cut into thirds and woody stems discarded
- 130 g double podded broad beans see notes below approx 8-10 pods
- 150 g peas frozen or podded, cooked
- Small handful pine nuts toasted
- Small handful fresh mint or basil leaves torn up
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Place 240g couscous in a bowl and cover with 300ml boiling water. Leave for 5 minutes to absorb the water and then fluff up with a fork.
- While the couscous is soaking, chop your asparagus into thirds and place in a frying pan with a tablespoon of water. Heat up then reduce the heat to low, cover with a lid and cook for 2-3 minutes until just staring to soften. Set aside and allow to cool.
- If you haven’t already double podded your broad beans* (see note below) and cooked your peas do so now.
- Toast a small handful of pine nuts in a dry frying pan and leave to cool.
- Add the asparagus, broad beans and peas, pine nuts and herbs to the couscous. Mix well then add 1 tbsp olive oil and 1 tbsp lemon juice. Season to taste with salt and pepper, adding more olive and lemon juice if needed.
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