Cous Cous salad with red Radicchio and Pomegranate

Cous Cous Radicchio Salad with Pomegranate by 1

Cous cous is probably not the first dish that most of you will associate with Italy. However, if you look at a map, you’ll notice that Southern Sicily is not that far from North Africa, and the locals have been enjoying this type of semolina preparation since Roman times. Much farther North, on the coast of Tuscany, in the sea port of Livorno, “Cuscussu’ ” is also a favorite: first introduced by the Jewish merchants, who had ties in North Africa, it slowly spread to the rest of the population. Not to mention the Sardinian version, Fregola: ¬†tiny 2-mm balls of semolina dough that have been toasted in the oven before being boiled like pasta. Let’s toast to “fusion” with this easy salad, which surprisingly pairs cous cous with a staple of my region, Veneto: red radicchio!

Cous Cous Radicchio Salad with Pomegranate by 1

Cous Cous salad with Red Radicchio and Pomegranate

8 servings


  • 2 1/2 cups "instant" cous cous
  • 2 oranges
  • 2 heads red radicchio
  • 1 pomegranate
  • 1 cup black olives
  • 1 sprig fresh sage
  • extra-virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper


No need to cook the cous cous! Just place it a bowl with about 1/2 cup lukewarm water, 8 tbsp olive oil, and the juice of an orange, salt and pepper. Toss and fluff with a fork, add salt and pepper. let it stand for about 1 hour covered, adding about 1/2 cup to 1 cup of water every 10-15 minutes and re-fluffing each time with a fork. In less than an hour, the moisture should be absorbed and the cous cous should be tender, fluffy and light.

In the meantime, cut the radicchio into thin strips and peel the second orange. divide it into slices and also peel the individual slices (or at least eliminate the white membranes!) and cut them into pieces. Combine the radicchio, orange, olives and pomegranate seeds with the cous cous; Adjust salt and pepper,and distribute into 8 individual cups or bowls. Decorate with a few sage leaves fried in hot olive oil.

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  1. Love cous cous! This dish is PERFECTLY fall. Absolutely gorgeous pictures too. These flavor combinations are right up my alley; I will definitely be making this one ūüėČ

  2. I love this recipe! …and so interesting as to how cous cous arrived in Italy. I just bought some fregola so I’ll give it a try with that, too…and of course with radicchio!

  3. Ale, that is just stunning! Incredible pictures and mouthwatering recipe.

  4. This dish looks beautiful!

  5. This dish looks like a perfect accompaniment to any fish or chicken! yum yum!

  6. Love the flavors that you have here. Great presentation too.

  7. So sophisticated and lovely looking and yet, so easy!

  8. So sophisticated and beautiful too but easy to prepare!

  9. I always think of couscous with Middle Eastern, not as much Italy. I love the fried sage leaves.

  10. great flavors here! i just deseeded a pomegranate, but instead of adding it to my morning yogurt, you’ve inspired me to do something more exciting!

  11. We are absolutely obsessed with pomegranates. We use them all the time during their short season. Love the colors, flavors and textures of this salad

  12. What a gorgeous dish! And I’m sure it would be delicious as well, combining the nuttiness of the couscous with the slight bitterness of radicchio.

    By the way, although I was well familiar with Sicilian and Sardinian couscous, I had no idea of the Livorno connection. Fascinating! As you know, I love learning about those bits of culinary history.

  13. There are so many elements to this dish that I love! The sweet orange with the bitter radicchio, the fact you didn’t cook the couscous. the fried sage leaves!

  14. This sounds wonderful. I adore cous cous, a food with a long tradition. I love the addition of pomegranate seeds and orange. And the radicchio’s bitter notes coupled with the savory taste of the sage – wow! This one is a winner!

  15. Pam Green says:

    Can’t wait to make this during the cold autumn nights! This would be a great side-dish at Thanksgiving too.

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