Fruited Couscous Salad with Tarragon, Citrus & Buttermilk Dressing

This was inspired in large part by our friend Alex’s curried couscous salad with dried cranberries and walnuts. I de-curried, un-nutted, and upped the fruit and sweetness with cooked down fruit in brown sugar and butter.

The dressing was a riff on my new standard buttermilk/citrus/cilantro coleslaw dressing. Instead of lime, i went for orange juice to match the tart and sweet with the fruit. Instead of cilantro, I went tarragon for a fresh herb that would contrast the fruit and couscous and pair well with the slightly sour buttermilk.

Plated up & ready to go


Equal parts totaling 2 cups cherries (pitted and chopped), dates (pitted and chopped), and dried apricots (chopped)
2 cups couscous
3 cups water
¾ stick butter, divided
1 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons dark brown sugar
1 cup mayonnaise
1 cup buttermilk
¾ cup chopped fresh tarragon
½ cup fresh squeezed orange juice
salt and pepper to taste

For the salad:

  1. Heat ½ stick butter and brown sugar in a sauté pan. add fruit over medium heat and heat through/begin to break down the fruit.
  2. In a large pot, add the water, sugar, remaining butter, and salt. bring to a boil.
  3. As soon as the water comes to a boil, add the fruit mixture and the couscous. stir through quickly.
  4. Cover and remove from heat. ready to serve in 20 minutes (or when all liquid is absorbed).
  5. Use a cup or ramekin to mold the individual salads and turn them out onto a lettuce bed.

For the dressing

  1. Mix all ingredients in large bowl.
  2. Pour over individual salads.

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