It’s always nice when you’re able to find a side dish that goes beyond the usual potato or pasta salads, chips and dip, or baked beans.

Not that any of those are bad, of course. I love a good old fashioned creamy potato salad!

But sometimes you need a make ahead, wow the crowd, side that’s unique. You know, so you don’t end up being one of five onion dips on the buffet table.

Sometimes you need a side that can be served cold OR at room temp, and doesn’t leave you fraught with worry over sitting outside for a couple of hours a bit.

We’ve got ya covered!

Cranberry Almond Couscous Salad: perfect simple dish to bring to a party OR for a fun weeknight side!

In this cranberry almond couscous salad, there’s a sweet and savory flavor game at play and a hint of freshness that comes from citrus — either lemon or lime juice and zest, depending on your favorite.

And even though this is billed as a side dish, you can easily make it a main course meal by adding some seared shrimp, or a grilled chicken breast.

Cranberry Almond Couscous Salad

Bonus: this cranberry almond couscous salad makes for great lunch leftovers!

5.0 from 1 reviews
Cranberry Almond Couscous Salad
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
This couscous salad is an easy make ahead side that'll please a crowd!
Recipe type: Side
Serves: 6 side servings
  • 1 8.8-ounce box Israeli couscous (substitute acini di peppe if you can't find Israeli couscous)
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 3 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 3 limes or lemons (zested and juiced)
  • 2/3 cup lime juice or lemon juice (additional if you don't get enough fresh-squeezed)
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup sliced or slivered almonds
  • 2 tablespoons fresh basil, parsley or mint (chopped)
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  1. Add 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil to a medium saucepan and then place it over medium heat to warm for 3 minutes.
  2. Add the garlic and let it cook for 1 minute, followed by the couscous. Cook the couscous for 5 minutes, stirring often, until it's lightly browned.
  3. Carefully pour the chicken broth in all at once, and then add 1/3 cup of the lime juice and bring it to a boil. Cover, reduce the heat and then simmer until the couscous is al dente - about 9 minutes.
  4. Drain the couscous (there may not be much liquid left) and then mix it in a large bowl with the remaining olive oil, another 1/3 cup of lime juice, the zest, salt and pepper, and then let it cool completely in the refrigerator.
  5. Once cool, toss in the cranberries, almonds and herbs. Serve chilled or at room temperature.
Swap out vegetable broth for the chicken broth if you want to make this a vegetarian side!


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