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Tuesday 26 April 2011

Sluttishly Vegetarian: Crunchy Cous-Cous Wraps

Hot weather means we need to rethink our packed lunches. Sandwiches will wither and curl, anything too carb-heavy will make us sleepy, and hot food? No thanks. Keep it simple, and leave room for ice-cream. A Cornetto is practically medicinal when you've got to return to your desk when it's 21C outside.

Cous-cous is my new favourite store cupboard essential, and perfect for a light lunch. Cheap, filling and easy to prepare, these tiny grains of steamed and dried durum wheat are ready to eat after being soaked for five minutes in boiling water. Supermarkets sell pre-flavoured cous-cous, but it's cheaper and tastier to make your own. This recipe keeps it plain because of all the other flavours going on, but you could soak it in stock, or add your favourite spices to the water, or squeeze a lemon over it for a zingier taste.

This cous-cous salad is a variation on a Middle Eastern salad. The crunch comes from the chopped veg. Don't slice them wafer thin, you want to add some chunky texture. The herbs are no mere garnish in this dish - they're the real star of the show, so don't skimp on them. Ditch the dried stuff in jars and buy the fresh stuff. This Gordon Ramsay video taught me how to chop herbs perfectly every time, without leaving half of them on the chopping board.

Crispy Cous-Cous Wraps (serves 2)

You will need:

  • 100g cous cous
  • Small handful of fresh mint
  • Small handful of fresh flat leaf parsley
  • 3 spring onions, diced
  • 1/4 cucumber, deseeded and diced
  • 1 tbsp sunflower seeds, lightly toasted
  • 1 tbsp sesame seeds, lightly toasted
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • Salt and pepper
  • Wholemeal wraps
Make it!
  1. Make the cous cous according to the instructions on the bag. You generally cover it with twice the volume of water (200ml for this recipe) and leave it to soak for five minutes, until it's all absorbed.
  2. Fluff up the cous cous with a fork and stir the olive oil through. Add the chopped vegetables, seeds and herbs, mix well and squeeze the lemon over it. Season to taste and set aside.
  3. When it's reached room temperature, spoon some of the mix onto a wrap and roll it up tight. If you're taking it to work, pack the wraps and salad separately so the bread doesn't go soggy.
Flickr image from cookipedia's photo stream


  1. It's my least favourite of all the carbs, but I'm slowly coming around to it (or rather, I like the tasty lamb and stews that often come with it). Hoping I can give it a bit more oomph with some chicken stock.

  2. I love cous cous, cous cous with salad alone is lovely - the wrap is superflous!

  3. Hello namesake! I love your enthusiasm. Team Cous Cous!

  4. I like the GIANT cous cous (Israeli cous cous?). You can put it in soup and everything.


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