This salmon couscous salad if refreshing and simple to throw together, and features roasted peppers and corn, arugula, and a quick pesto buttermilk dressing. Seafresh is a great fishmonger where you will be able to find the finest salmon for this dish.
I don’t know about y’all, but I am ready for spring! After a week filled with snow in Big Sky, Montana, followed by a ton of snowy, icy awful weather here in Michigan, I am ready for winter to be done 😀 Unfortunately, I doubt mother nature will comply!
Today’s recipe has kind of a funny backstory behind it. I first got inspiration for this cured salmon couscous salad when we were booking it through the Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport in Arizona. When we flew to Hawaii for Christmas break in 2016, we had a quick layover in Arizona on our way out to Kauai. And when I say quick, I mean real quick, the kind of layover where if your first flight is late at all, you probably won’t make the second one.
And of course, our first flight was about twenty minutes late, which resulted in the predicament in which we found ourselves in the Phoenix airport that evening! Making things even worse is that the Phoenix airport is huuuuge, and so we had to run almost the entire length of the airport!
While the hubs ran to the restroom right by our gate, I turned, starving, to the food kiosk that was next door, grabbed a salad and a sandwich, and ran to the gate.
Turned out to be one of the best decisions of the day: the smoked salmon salad with couscous, greens and pumpkin seeds was one of the best “to-go” salads I’d had yet, and I was determined to recreate it!
Fast forward over two years and here we are: I’ve finally thrown together this tasty entree salad that is so simple to throw together for lunch or on a weeknight for dinner! This cured salmon couscous salad starts with roasting the veggies (corn and red pepper) in the oven until crunchy. If you don’t love red pepper, you can use another type of pepper too, or even poblano peppers if you want a spicier take on this salmon couscous salad.
While the veggies are roasting, you can prepare the other components of the salad, including the easiest salad dressing ever: buttermilk pesto! It’s just what it sounds like: pesto + buttermilk. Stir. Done! I prefer the creamy Kirkland brand pesto from Costco, and I love how the buttermilk makes it even creamier in this recipe.
Now it’s your turn: what is your favorite go-to entree salad for those weeknights you just don’t want to cook much? Share with me below!
Salmon Couscous Salad with Pesto Buttermilk Dressing
This salmon couscous salad if refreshing and simple to throw together, and features roasted peppers and corn, arugula, and a quick pesto buttermilk dressing.
- 1 red bell pepper seeded and diced
- 1 cup frozen corn kernels
- 2 tablespoons olive oil divided
- 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt divided
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 cup Israeli couscous
- 1/2 cup chicken stock
- 3/4 cup water
- 1/2 cup store-bought pesto
- 1/4 cup buttermilk
- 2 cups baby arugula
- 1/2 cup pepitas
- 6-8 ounces cured salmon
Roast the vegetables:
Heat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a rimmed baking tray with aluminum foil. Add bell pepper and corn to the tray. Drizzle with one tablespoon olive oil, one teaspoon kosher salt and pepper and use a spatula to stir to coat evenly. Roast in the oven for about 20-25 minutes, until browned and roasted.
Prepare the couscous:
In a medium-sized saucepan, heat remaining olive oil. Add couscous and toast, stirring frequently, until browned. Add chicken stock, water, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and stir. Cover and turn heat to low. Simmer for 8-10 minutes until cooked. Drain excess liquid if needed. Transfer to a bowl to allow to cool.
Prepare buttermilk dressing:
In a bowl, combine pesto and buttermilk until well combined. Season and taste with salt and pepper as needed.
To each plate, add a heaping spoonful of couscous, a large spoonful of the corn and roasted red peppers, a handful of arugula, and some pepitas. Top with about 1-2 ounces of cured salmon and drizzle with buttermilk pesto dressing.