My husband and I used to live in Virginia in what is called, the DC Metro area. We were 22 miles from the Pentagon though on most days it will take you one to two hours to go that distance! Among the restaurants we loved to visit were the Great American Restaurants, which included Mikes, Sweetwater, Jacksons and Coastal Flats. Bill’s favorite dish was their Pecan Crusted Trout with Couscous. I’m not a fish fan, (although I do love their Hong Kong Style Sea Bass), I love their Couscous. And since their chefs were reluctant to giving me a recipe, I was able to figure out most of the ingredients or many of them (they say there is over 20). Then when I discovered Quinoa during the summer of 2014, I decided to “kick-it-up” as Emeril would say.

Now, there is a trick to making Quinoa. Though many Quinoa brands are pre-rinsed, you really should give it a rinse in cold water. Just be sure to use a mesh sieve. Swish it around in the water for a couple of minutes and then drain. This gets rid of the bitter outer hull. Also, like making rice, you MUST leave the lid on and NO peeking!

Oma's Couscous Salad

Prep is important since the Quinoa only cooks for 15 min. Clean and get all your veggies chopped and ready before you cook it. It is okay to assemble the salad while it is warm.
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 6 Servings



  • 1 cup Quinoa rinsed
  • 2 cups Vegetable Stock (I prefer Kitchen Basics)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup dried currants
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins


  • 1 clove garlic finely minced
  • 2 Tbsp olive or grapeseed oil (Tip: Measure oil before honey)
  • 1 Tbsp honey (agave is a great substitute)
  • 1 Tbsp vinegar (I used white wine but apple cider is good also)
  • 1 Tbsp lemon zest (about 1 lemon)
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice fresh
  • 1/4 tsp Red Pepper Flakes
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper

Other Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup slivered almonds
  • 1/4 cup Granny Smith apple chopped into small bits
  • 1/2 cup radishes chopped into small bits
  • 1/2 cup carrots Julienned
  • 1/2 cup green onions finely sliced
  • 1/2 cup sweet red pepper** chopped into small bits
  • 1/4 cup red onion* chopped into small bits
  • 1/4 cup Italian (flat leaf) Parsley finely chopped



  • Rinse the Quinoa (See note) Rinse thoroughly with cool water for about 2 minutes. Rub and swish the quinoa with your hand while rinsing. Drain. Add stock, Quinoa, salt, currants and raisins into a pan and bring to boil. Lower heat and cook, covered, for 15 minutes. Turn heat down simmer and cover and cook for 15 minutes. (Temps go down quickly on a gas stove and even some of the new electric stoves, just be sure and keep an eye on it in the beginning to make sure it doesn't overflow.) Let stand, covered, for 5 minutes: Remove the pot from heat and let stand for 5 more minutes, covered. Remember, I said don't peek! Finally, fluff the Quinoa with a fork

Vinaigrette and salad

  • Mix ingredients for the vinaigrette in a jar (I like making vinaigrettes in Mason jar) and set aside. In a bowl, add the veggies, Quinoa and vinaigrette. Mix and either serve warm or better yet, chilled.


You want all the veggies to be in small bits, similar in size to the currents. That's what I like and it makes the salad look beautiful. Remember, you eat with your eyes first.
*Red onions are strong, so if you prefer you can use yellow onions or shallots.
**I find that green peppers are too strong besides the fact that they don't like me. I haven't tried those mini peppers but am sure they'd be great also.