When you’re making food for a large number of people, it makes sense to shop at wholesale markets. I would buy grains, flours, and dried goods in bulk, saving money whenever I could. The only downside was that I always had an excess of these dried goods. My latest purchase was 10 lb of couscous for one event. Left with more than half of the grains, I had to be creative and think of dishes that used couscous. One of those dishes ended up being Houston’s couscous recipe, a personal favorite. Couscous is tossed with barley, cherry tomatoes, radishes, raisins, almonds and mint with a lemon vinaigrette. So fresh yet so delicious!

houstons cous cous


Serves 4


Houston's couscous

45 minTotal Time

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  • 3 cups water, divided
  • 1/2 cup pearled barley
  • 1/2 cup couscous
  • 1/2 cup radishes, finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons green onions, chopped
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/3 cup toasted sliced almonds
  • 1/4 cup parsley, chopped
  • 1/2 cup mint, chopped
  • juice and zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper


  1. Combine barley and 1 1/2 cups water in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat. Cover, reduce heat to low and continue to simmer for 25 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool. 
  2. Boil 1 1/2 cups water in a medium sauce pot over medium heat. Add the couscous, cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer for 3 minutes. Remove from heat and fluff the couscous with a fork. Let cool.
  3. Combine both grains in a large bowl. Add radish, green onion, golden raisins, tomatoes, almonds, mint, and parsley. Season with lemon juice, lemon zest, white wine vinegar, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Serve.


**Helpful tips and common mistakes

Houston’s couscous is the perfect summer salad for BBQs and large gatherings. It’s light enough to pair well with other proteins such as salmon and steak yet still satisfying. The combination of grains with crunchy almonds, fresh herbs, and sweet raisins all play very well together.

mise en place

The first step is to cook the couscous and barley. To cook the barley, combine the grain with water in a medium pot. Bring it to a boil, cover the pot, and lower the heat to a simmer. Continue to cook the barley until all of the liquid has evaporated. This is similar to how you would cook rice on the stovetop.

For the couscous, bring a pot of salted water to a boil then add the couscous. Cover the pot and let it simmer for about 3 minutes or until all of the liquid has evaporated. If you use pearl couscous, cook it for about 10 minutes instead.

mixing the cous cous salad

Chop the vegetables, throw in a handful of fresh herbs and give everything a stir. This couscous salad lets all of the ingredients shine so you don’t need a heavy dressing. Serve Houston’s couscous as a side dish or add steak, shrimp or grilled chicken to make it a complete meal!

For another couscous recipe, be sure to check out this delicious couscous bowl with halloumi and poached egg.

houstons cous cous


Looking for someone to come to your house and prepare these dishes for you? It is possible! If you are in Los Angeles and looking for a private chef, please feel free to contact me. For more information, visit Private Kitchen Los Angeles.


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