Cherries and goat cheese meet for a tangy, sweet grain salad

Plus, a tip for fluffier, less clumpy couscous

Published July 25, 2021 4:30PM (EDT)

Cherries (Getty Images)
Cherries (Getty Images)

Back-of-the-box instructions for couscous yield mushy, clumpy granules. Toasting uncooked couscous in butter and garlic sets the starch in the pasta, which keeps the granules separate and prevents them from blowing out. It also adds a nutty flavor. To enhance the cooked couscous further, we added sweet, tart, and spicy flavors — dried cherries, pecans, arugula, and goat cheese. You can eat the salad immediately, but it will improve if you let the flavors meld for 30 minutes or so. Do not substitute pearl couscous in this dish, as it requires a different cooking method and will not work in this recipe. 


Recipe: Cherry and goat cheese couscous salad
Serves 4 to 6 


  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 cups couscous
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 teaspoon table salt
  • 1 cup pecans or walnuts, toasted and chopped
  • 1 cup baby arugula, chopped
  • 1 cup dried cherries, chopped
  • 4 ounces goat or feta cheese, crumbled (1 cup)
  • 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 tablespoons scallions, sliced thin
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice


1. Melt butter in medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir in garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add couscous and cook, stirring frequently, until grains begin to brown, about 5 minutes. Add water, broth, and salt; stir briefly to combine, cover, and remove saucepan from heat. Let sit until liquid is absorbed and couscous is tender, about 7 minutes. Uncover and fluff couscous with fork. 

2. Combine pecans, arugula, cherries, goat cheese, oil, scallions, and lemon juice in a large bowl. Stir in couscous until well combined. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve. 

If you like this recipe as much as we do, check out "The Complete Salad Cookbook" by America's Test Kitchen.

By America's Test Kitchen

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