Tossed with fresh herbs and summer vegetables, finished with a light lemon dressing, this Herbed Couscous and Tofu Salad is an easy and tasty salad with so many possible variations.
I love this recipe as a summer picnic salad, but mix up your veg, and you can make a seasonal fall salad version. It’s also a lovely dish when you want to pull together a substantial vegan salad without too much fuss.
What is Couscous
Up there with quinoa, couscous, a staple in North African cooking, is an incredibly versatile ingredient. It might look like rice, but couscous is actually a tiny pasta made from wheat or barley. Much like pasta, couscous works wonderfully in salads. You can prepare it in advance, keep it in the fridge and use it on its own like rice, or to bulk out all kinds of fresh salad recipes.
This Mediterranean style couscous salad is perfect for summer picnics and bbq’s and is substantial enough to work as a main dish.
This Herbed Couscous and Tofu Salad has no hard and fast rules – we give you the base; you can toss it with whatever fresh herbs or veggies you choose or the season dictates.
If you want to add more Mediterranean flavour to this couscous salad, consider adding one or all of the following:
- kalamata olives
- fresh or roasted red pepper
- crumbled feta (or vegan feta)
Herbed Couscous Salad with Tofu Ingredients
For the Couscous
- 1 cup couscous
- 1 cup water
- Salt to taste
For the Tofu
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 12 ounces firm tofu, drained and cut into cubes
- 2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered
- 1 cucumber, sliced and quartered (English cucumbers are less bitter with thinner skin)
- ½ cup fresh herbs like mint, basil, parsley, or dill – roughly chopped
- juice of 2 lemons
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- salt and ground black pepper, to taste
How to Make Herbed Couscous Tofu Salad
Cook the Couscous: Bring 1 cup of water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add the couscous and a pinch of salt and stir once. Place the lid on the saucepan and remove it from the heat (see notes). Allow the couscous to steam for 5 minutes, then remove the cover, fluff with a fork and set aside to cool.
Chop tomatoes and cucumber in halves or quarters and set aside.
Cook the Tofu: Add a tablespoon of olive oil to a skillet and heat it. Add the tofu blocks to the pan in an even layer and cook until golden brown. Make sure the tofu is golden on all sides. You may need to do this in two batches to ensure the cubes are evenly golden on all sides. Reduce the heat a little if the tofu looks like it could burn. Set aside to cool.
Tip: If the tofu has a lot of water when you take it out of the package, drain as much from the block as you can for firmer tofu cubes. Press it between paper towels to allow it to drain. You can find tips for preparing tofu here.
Add the chopped fresh herbs, lemon juice, olive oil and salt and pepper in a small bowl and whisk well to make the dressing.
Prepare the salad by combining the couscous, tomatoes, tofu, and cucumber in a large salad bowl. Drizzle the dressing over and toss to combine.
Recipe Tips & FAQ’s
When cooking the couscous, make sure you remove the pan from the heat once the water has boiled and the couscous added. If you cook couscous under heat, it will stick together and become a mess. It cooks by absorbing the boiling water and steaming in the pot. Light and fluffy is the name of the game with couscous.
Yes, you can. If you like to meal prep, cooked couscous can be cooked in advance and will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to four days. Couscous is a very versatile ingredient. You can use it in loads of ways for quick and satisfying meals, and it only takes five minutes to cook.
Extra firm tofu is best for salads as it will hold up to dressings better, soaking up the flavours without going soggy.
No. you can eat tofu straight from the package. Cooking the tofu gives it a bit of extra texture and flavour which adds to the overall salad. If you want to add extra flavour, you can cook your tofu in a light sauce or seasoning.
A tremendous make-ahead salad, this couscous and tofu salad will keep in the fridge in an airtight container for three days or more. I recommend leaving the dressing to last to prevent it from becoming soggy. This recipe is also one of those great salads where you can have all the components prepped and toss it together at the last minute.