Megann Marcellino recently shared some of her favorite recipes. Some have been light and tangy, such as the Red Leaf Lettuce Salad, and others warm and comforting, such as this pizza recipe.
Today, she’s going to share another delicious summer salad—Pomegranate, Chicken, and Couscous Salad.
Megann Marcellino on Mediterranean Food
I can’t really claim this as a tried-and-true family recipe, as I only discovered it last summer, but I keep thinking I need to “make that salad” again! I love the fresh parsley, mint, and cilantro combo.
And what makes it even better is how Israeli it tastes. I have never lived there, but I have visited often. Sometimes I feel a little homesick for that delicious Mediterranean food, rich in extra virgin olive oil and fresh flavors.
This salad is no exception.
This recipe calls for harissa paste. It was a new-to-me ingredient a year or so ago, but I have really enjoyed finding ways to incorporate it. I do order my harissa paste from Amazon.
If you’ve never heard of harissa paste, read below to find out more.
When I made this tasty and tangy salad last year, I wasn’t able to find pomegranate “rubies,” as my best friend calls them (most people call them seeds), and we definitely missed that crunch and the sweetness that the seeds add to the salad.
I wouldn’t recommend skipping that ingredient if at all possible!
What Is Harissa Paste?
Harissa is a hot chili pepper paste. It is primarily made of roasted red, Baklouti, serrano, and other hot chili peppers. Various spices, herbs, garlic paste, coriander seed, saffron, rose, and caraway are also mixed into the paste. It typically contains olive oil to bind the flavors together.
It is a spicy paste, but you can adjust how many and what kind of chili peppers to include to control the intensity.
The Pomegranate, Chicken, and Couscous Salad Recipe Includes 3 of the 7 Species of Deuteronomy 8…
“For the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and springs, that flow out of valleys and hills; a land of wheat and barley, of vines and fig trees and pomegranates, a land of olive oil and honey.”—Deuteronomy 8:7-8
Pomegranates, in the Bible, also known as “grained apples,” were used not only to make a refreshing juice drink but also used to ornamentally adorn the robes of priests—as God had directed. Some even believe it was the pomegranate that Adam and Eve tasted when they took from the tree of knowledge of good and evil.
- “And upon its hem you shall make pomegranates of blue, purple, and scarlet, all around its hem, and bells of gold between them all around: a golden bell and a pomegranate, a golden bell and a pomegranate, upon the hem of the robe all around.”—Exodus 28:33-34
Couscous is a dish made of small steamed balls of crushed durum wheat, also called pasta wheat or macaroni wheat. Wheat and barley were made into bread, which relates to the later teaching that Jesus is the Bread of Life.
- “… ‘My Father gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is He who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.’ Then they said to Him, ‘Lord, give us this bread always.’ And Jesus said to them, ‘I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.’”—John 6:32-35
- Olive Oil
Olive trees are likely the most well-known of biblical plants, as they represent God's relationship with His chosen people—the Israelites—and how the Gentile nations were grafted into the olive tree through Jesus. They also symbolize peace, which is why the olive branch is an emblem on the Israeli flag.
- “And if some of the branches were broken off, and you, being a wild olive tree, were grafted in among them, and with them became a partaker of the root and fatness of the olive tree, do not boast against the branches. But if you do boast, remember that you do not support the root, but the root supports you.”—Romans 11:17-18
- “It shall come to pass in that day that his burden will be taken away from your shoulder, and his yoke from your neck, and the yoke will be destroyed because of the anointing oil.”—Isaiah 10:27
Curious about the significance of the remaining 4 species of Deuteronomy 8? Click here to read more.
Pomegranate, Chicken, and Couscous Salad
Here’s what you will need…
- 2 chicken breasts, rinsed & cubed
- 1/4 cup pomegranate juice
- 1 tbsp harissa paste
- 1 cup couscous
- 1 cup boiling water
- 1/2 tsp salt
- Cherry tomatoes to taste, chopped
- Mint to taste, finely chopped
- Parsley to taste, finely chopped
- Cilantro (optional) to taste, finely chopped
- 1 tbsp lemon or lime juice
- 2 tbsp King’s Valley Extra Virgin Olive Oil + 1 tbsp for frying
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 2 tbsp pomegranate seeds
*Note: This recipe serves 3-4, so adjust ingredients accordingly for larger portions.
What to Do:
Step 1. Add the chicken breast, harissa paste, and pomegranate juice to a bowl. Cover and marinate for 15-30 minutes.
Step 2. Bring a wide frying pan to medium-high heat and add King’s Valley Extra Virgin Olive Oil. The wide pan keeps the pieces of chicken separated, preventing them from steaming and allowing them to get crispy.
Step 3. Add the chicken mixture and separate pieces. Flip after 3-5 mins. (If it sticks to the pan, it’s not ready to be flipped.) Cook the other side for 3-5 mins. To keep the chicken juicy, don’t overcook. It is ready when you cut a large chicken piece in half and the inside is white and the juices run clear.
Step 4. Add couscous, salt, and boiling water to a pan (or bowl). Stir. Cover and leave for 10 minutes. With a fork, fluff the couscous. It should be soft and ready to eat.[i]
Step 5. It's time to serve and enjoy! Place the couscous in a dish and add the chicken on top. Then add the tomatoes, mint, parsley, cilantro (optional), lemon juice (squeeze 1/2 lemon all around the dish), pomegranate seeds, King’s Valley Extra Virgin Olive Oil, salt, and pepper.
Optional. You can mix the salad together, but the unmixed version is beautiful (and delicious). You can also serve it with extra harissa paste on the side.
Megann Leaves You with This…
This pomegranate, chicken, and couscous salad is easy, healthy, and delicious. The fact that it includes 3 of the 7 species of Deuteronomy 8 makes it that much more special to our family. I hope you and yours enjoy the tangy mix of flavors just as much as my family has!
Let us know how and where you’ve enjoyed this family favorite!
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