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Warm Couscous & Grilled Zucchini Salad


Serves four as a side dish.

  • To learn more, read:
    Zucchini Loves High Heat
  • by from Fine Cooking
    Issue 65

  • 3 small or 2 medium zucchini (about 1 lb. )
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 2 tsp. packed light brown sugar
  • 1/8 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • Pinch cayenne
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 large red onion, sliced into 1/3-inch-thick rounds
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 7-1/2 oz. couscous (1-1/4 cups)
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 Tbs. finely grated orange zest
  • 2 Tbs. fresh orange juice; more to taste

Wash the zucchini well to remove any grit and dry them with paper towels. Trim off the ends and quarter the zucchini lengthwise. Slice off the top 1/4 to 1/2 inch of the soft seed core by running a sharp knife down the length of each quarter; it’s all right if some of the seeds remain. Arrange the zucchini, cut side up, on a baking sheet lined with paper towels. Sprinkle with kosher salt (about 1/2 tsp.) and set aside for 10 minutes. Blot the quarters dry with the paper towels.

Heat a gas grill to medium high or prepare a medium-hot charcoal fire. In a small bowl, mix the cumin, brown sugar, cinnamon, cayenne, 1 tsp. salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. In a medium bowl, gently toss the zucchini quarters with 1 Tbs. olive oil and the spice mix. Let sit for 10 minutes. Thread each onion slice onto two thin skewers (to hold the concentric rings together), brush both sides with 1 Tbs. of the olive oil, and sprinkle with a little salt.

Meanwhile, bring 1-1/2 cups water to a boil in a large saucepan. Stir in the couscous, 2 Tbs. of the olive oil, and 3/4 tsp. salt. Cover, remove from the heat, and set aside.

Set the zucchini cut side down on the grill and cook (if using a gas grill, keep the lid closed), flipping occasionally, until it's browned and softened but not mushy, 6 to 8 minutes. Return the zucchini to its original bowl and toss to pick up any spices clinging to it. Reduce the heat to medium (if using a charcoal grill, put on the lid and partially close air vents). Grill the onions until soft and slightly charred, 8 to 10 minutes. Coarsely chop the zucchini and onions and stir them into the couscous, along with the cilantro, orange zest, and orange juice. Taste for salt and pepper; add a little more orange juice to taste. Serve immediately.

Serving Suggestions

Make a meal of this salad by serving it with grilled shrimp skewers.

nutrition information (per serving):
Size : based on four servings, Calories (kcal): 380, Fat (kcal): 15, Fat Calories (g): 130, Saturated Fat (g): 2, Protein (g): 9, Monounsaturated Fat (g): 11, Carbohydrates (mg): 52, Polyunsaturated Fat (mg): 2, Sodium (g): 740, Cholesterol (g): 0, Fiber (g): 5,

Photo: Scott Phillips

Made as is (except roasted the veggies instead of grilling them) and it was fabulous. I used tri-color couscous, so the presentation was beautiful. A possible go to for our next outing.

I followed this recipe exactly for the 4th of July BBQ. It was delicious. All the ingredients together give it great flavor. The red onions and zucchini were crisp, not mushy. It takes a little bit of time to prepare but it was worth it. I made the spice mixture and prepared the cilantro and orange zest and juice before hand so I could just toss it in. I paired it with some steaks. My husband loved it. I will definitely be making this again!

This has to be one of my top ten Fine Cooking recipes. It is a recipe I that I adore.

This has to be one of my top ten Fine Cooking recipes. It is a recipe I that I adore.

Love this. It's on my personal list of the 10 best FC recipes of all time. Make extra, since you're sure to want leftovers.

I really loved the spice combination of this dish!! I pan grilled the zucchini & onions and used lemon zest instead of orange zest and it turned out really nice. I think next time I'd add some chick peas or chicken to make it the main course. Will definitely make this again!

This recipe is time consuming to say the least, however it is well worth the effort. I added grilled eggplant as well. If you like couscous, you will love this dish. It is even better as leftovers.

The grilled onions really add alot of delicious flavor to this dish. I added the rub to some shrimp and grilled these also. The recipe was a little more time consuming than I expected but it was a very delicious recipe that I will make again.

Excellent recipe! Loved the flavor of the spices on the zucchini.

This is a delicious side dish. The spices really make it stand out. Highly recommended!

This is very good. I added boneless chicken strips to the rub and made a full meal out of it.

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