Grilled Chicken and Toasted Couscous Salad with Lemon-Buttermilk Dressing

- Photo: Greg Dupree Styling: Caroline M. Cunningham
Photo: Greg Dupree Styling: Caroline M. Cunningham

What's a salad without leafy greens, you say? No need to panic. Asparagus takes charge in this toasted couscous, chicken medley. Top with a lemon-buttermilk dressing and you might find yourself not missing lettuce afterall.

Hands-on time: 25 minutes
Total time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Yields: Serves 4 (serving size: 1 chicken cutlet and about 1 cup salad)



3 tablespoons olive oil

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 tablespoon lemon zest plus 2 tsp. fresh lemon juice

3 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

4 (5- to 6-oz.) chicken cutlets


3/4 cup buttermilk

1/2 cup mayonnaise

3 tablespoons finely chopped chives

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1 garlic clove, pressed

1/2 teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper


1 cup uncooked pearl couscous

2 (1- x 3-in.) lemon peel strips

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 cups water

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt


l pound fresh asparagus, trimmed

2 tablespoons olive oil, divided

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

3 (1/2-inch-thick) red onion slices

How to Make It

Marinade: Whisk together olive oil, garlic cloves, lemon zest and juice, chopped thyme, salt, and black pepper in a small bowl. Place chicken cutlets in a 1-gallon zip-top plastic freezer bag, and add marinade. Seal bag, and turn to coat. Chill 30 minutes to 1 hour, turning occasionally. Remove chicken from bag and marinade; discard marinade.

Dressing: Whisk together buttermilk, mayonnaise, chives, lemon juice, pressed garlic clove, thyme, salt, and black pepper in a small bowl; cover and chill.

Couscous: Cook couscous and lemon peel strips in heated olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium, stirring often, until mostly golden, 7 to 8 minutes. Add water and salt; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer until barely tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Drain and discard lemon peel strips.

Chicken and vegetables: Coat cold cooking grate of grill with cooking spray, and place on grill. Preheat grill to medium (350° to 400°). Toss asparagus with 1 tablespoon olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and black pepper. Brush both sides of onion slices with remaining olive oil. Grill chicken, asparagus, and onions until chicken is done and vegetables are tender and charred, about 3 minutes on each side.

Slice chicken; cut asparagus into 2-inch pieces, and roughly chop onions. Toss together couscous, chicken, asparagus, onions, and 1/2 cup dressing. Serve salad with remaining dressing.


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