Spiced Chicken and Couscous Salad + More Cool Salad Recipes

A cool, whole-meal salad is just the ticket for lunch or dinner—but it doesn’t have to be the same-old salad and toppings thrown together. Check out this recipe and more.
Spiced Chicken and Couscous Salad

Photography Terry Brennan, Food Styling Lara Miklasevics

A lighter meal for lunch or dinner is perfect when the weather is hot, and a cool whole-meal salad is just the ticket. But it doesn’t have to be the same-old salad and toppings thrown together. In a nod to the berbere spice of Ethiopian cuisine, the chicken in this recipe is tossed with some warming, colorful spices before cooking, says Twin Cities chef and cookbook author Robin Asbell, who created it for Real Food. It goes well on top of tender couscous, lightly dressed in vinaigrette. You do need to bake the chicken, but the small pieces cook quickly and you’ll have that oven off in no time. Hearty spinach leaves hold their own among all of the other veggies and the chicken adds spice for a satisfying meal salad.

Spiced Chicken and Couscous Salad

Makes 4 Servings

1 tablespoon paprika
¼ teaspoon cayenne
1 teaspoon ground cumin
¼ teaspoon allspice
½ teaspoon ground coriander
½ teaspoon salt
1 pound chicken breast
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
2 cloves garlic, pressed
½ teaspoon salt
8 ounces green beans, stems removed
½ cup couscous
½ cup water
4 ounces baby spinach, washed and dried
2 large tomatoes, cut in wedges
½ cup sliced almonds, toasted

  1. Heat the oven to 375°F. In a large bowl, mix the paprika, cayenne, cumin, allspice, coriander and salt. Slice the chicken across the grain in ¼-inch thick slices, then add to the bowl with the spices.
  2. Drizzle 1 tablespoon of the olive oil on a sheet pan and spread the chicken over the oil. Bake for 15 minutes, just until the chicken is cooked through. Let cool on a rack.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk the remaining olive oil, wine vinegar, garlic and salt. Reserve.
  4. In a steamer, bring water to a boil, then steam the green beans for 5 minutes. Rinse and cool.
  5. In a small pot, bring ½ cup water to a boil, then stir in the couscous and remove from heat. Let stand, covered, for 5 minutes, then uncover, stir in 2 tablespoons of the dressing and fluff.
  6. On a large platter or in a baking dish, spread the spinach, then top with couscous, green beans, tomatoes and chicken. Drizzle with dressing, sprinkle with almonds and serve.

Nutrition info (Per Serving): Calories 520; Fat 31g (Sat. 6g); Chol 75mg; Sodium 690mg; Carb 29g; Fiber 6g; Sugar 4g; Protein 32g

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Mary Subialka is the editor of Real Food and Drinks magazines, covering the flavorful world of food, wine, and spirits. She rarely meets a chicken she doesn’t like, and hopes that her son, who used to eat beets and Indian food as a preschooler, will one day again think of real food as more than something you need to eat before dessert and be inspired by his younger brother, who is now into trying new foods.