Young’s Seafood, the UK’s leading supplier of fresh and frozen seafood, have recently launched a new range of cook-from-frozen 100% cod fillet ready-meals called Simply Bake. They asked me to develop a delicious and simple recipe for a side dish to serve alongside one of the meals.
I love combining giant couscous with a few simple ingredients and a tasty dressing to make a dish that works equally well as a side or on its own. I created this simple but delicious giant couscous salad with classic Mediterranean flavours to serve with the Cheese & Leek Simply Bake.
The tomatoes are roasted until their flavours intensify and the sugar in the tomatoes and the balsamic caramelises a little. Baby spinach is perfect for this recipe as you don’t need to cook it – it wilts very quickly once mixed with the hot couscous. The dressing takes only moments to make – I favour the jam jar method though you can whisk the ingredients in a bowl if you prefer. You can also make double the dressing and store in the fridge for a couple of days to dress a different salad later in the week.
Although we enjoyed it hot with the cod bake, this salad can be served hot, warm or cold as you like.
Balsamic Roasted Tomato, Baby Spinach & Giant Couscous Salad
Serves 3-4 as a side or 2 as a main
For the roasted balsamic tomatoes
250 grams cherry or baby plum tomatoes, halved
1 tbs olive oil
2 tbs balsamic vinegar
A generous sprinkle of sea salt
For the couscous
150 grams giant couscous (dried weight)
100 grams baby spinach, washed and patted dry
For the dressing
1 tbs French mustard (or 1 teaspoon mustard powder)
2 tbs honey
3 tbs balsamic vinegar
4 tbs extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste
Tip: Make double the volume of dressing and save half to dress another salad later in the week. It will keep for 2-3 days in a sealed jar or box in the fridge.
- Prepare the ingredients for the roasted tomatoes, weigh the couscous and baby spinach, and place the spinach into a large bowl.
- Preheat your oven to 180 °C (fan).
Note: If you’re roasting the tomatoes in the same oven as you are cooking a Simply Bake meal, your oven will already be on at 170 °C (fan) which is fine; your tomatoes may take a few minutes longer.
- Lay the tomatoes out on a lined baking tray, cut side up.
- Combine the balsamic vinegar and olive oil (for the tomatoes not the dressing), and drizzle over the tomatoes.
- Sprinkle the tomatoes with a little sea salt and cook for 25-30 minutes until the tomato halves have wrinkled, partially collapsed and taken on a darker colour.
- Once the tomatoes are in the oven make the salad dressing. Combine all the dressing ingredients in a small jam jar with tight-fitting lid and shake hard or whisk together in a bowl. Taste and adjust the balance of vinegar and sugar as you prefer.
- Once the tomatoes have been in for about 15 minutes, put the couscous on the cook according to the packet instructions – usually you will need to bring it to the boil and then simmer for 6-7 minutes. When it’s ready, drain thoroughly before adding to the bowl with the baby spinach. Stir together gently so that the heat of the couscous wilts the spinach.
- When the tomatoes are ready – slumped and wrinkly with some colour from the caramelised balsamic and natural sugars – remove them from the oven and stir gently through the couscous and spinach.
- Drizzle the couscous salad with dressing just before serving. Use only as much dressing as you like, the rest can be stored in the fridge for a few days to use on another salad.
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Kavey Eats was commissioned by Young’s Seafood Limited to develop a recipe and participate in their Bake Off event.