When I was a catering chef a couple years ago, I used to shop for my groceries at a wholesale market. This meant that every item was purchased in bulk, perfect for large parties. The only downside was that I always had an excess of these dried goods. If I wanted to make a couscous side for one meal, I had to purchase 10 lb of couscous. I was faced with a challenge; what do to with all this couscous! I had to get creative, serving couscous in as many different ways as possible. One of those sides was this Houston’s couscous recipe that was my personal favorite. Couscous is tossed with barley, cherry tomatoes, radishes, raisins, almonds and mint with a lemon vinaigrette. So fresh yet so delicious!

houstons couscous

Houston's couscous

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

This summer salad is perfect 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 the crunchy almonds, fresh herbs, and sweet raisins all play very well together.

The first step is to cook the couscous and barley. Simply cook them in water and let cool. Chop the vegetables, throw in a handful of mint and squeeze some lemon juice and that’s all there is to it!

Houston's couscous

Serve as a side or top it with steak for a great healthy lunch!

Houston's couscous



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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