Layered vegetarian couscous salad

Photographer: Emma
Serves 2 for lunch

Two days ago it was Waitangi Day here in NZ; a public holiday to celebrate the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840. The weather was beautiful and so we thought what better way to spend a public holiday than at our local beach? Incidentally it seemed half of Auckland had the same idea and people came out in droves, all hungry for sun and sand.

A couple of years ago I would have been happy to park myself on a beach all afternoon with a towel, sunscreen and a bottle of water but nowadays I like to be prepared. A chilli bin is now a necessity for my afternoons at the beach and filling it up with salad, breads, hummus, cheese, crackers, drinks and fruit keeps me well nourished and entertained for hours.

This is one of the recipes that I can quickly whip-up and take anywhere so it’s perfect for a weekday lunch.

Why not make up a big batch of couscous and dressing on Sunday night?  Divide it into containers and each morning add any salad or vegetables and meat left over from dinner and hey presto, you have lunch for the next few days covered!


1 cup couscous
1 cup vegetable stock
½ tsp ground coriander
½ tsp ground cinnamon
¼ cup pistachio nuts
1tsp sumac

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
¼ cup raisins
1 teaspoon wholegrain mustard
¼ cup oil
Salt and pepper

2 roasted carrots
1 roasted beetroot
2 hard boiled eggs
1 cup sprouts


1. Pour one cup of vegetable stock over couscous, cover and stand for 5 minutes (to allow the couscous to swell).
2. Fluff up the couscous with a fork and add the coriander, cinnamon, pistachio nuts and sumac.

3. Whisk the balsamic vinegar, mustard, oil and salt and pepper together in a small bowl. Add the raisins and then put dressing into 2 small containers (it’s best to dress the salad just before eating but if this is inconvenient you can dress the salad once you’ve prepared all ingredients).

4. Grate the carrots, beetroot and eggs.
5. Divide the couscous between two take away containers. Then layer the vegetables and egg into each container. Top with sprouts, cover and refrigerate.
6. In the morning, remember to take one salad and one dressing to work!