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Category: Dairy Free

Mediterranean Couscous/Farro Salad

Many days I am happy that I recently discovered my dairy sensitivity because it has made me explore new foods that I have never cooked with before.  White rice, brown rice, wild rice, and different forms of pasta noodles were our staples before now.  These have been basically replaced with couscous, farro and quinoa.  Mediterranean Couscous/Farro salad is a perfect example!

Although couscous looks like a grain, it is technically a pasta made from semolina.  There are three types of couscous and I cook with the Lebanese form which is the largest in size and is often called pearl couscous.  It does take longer to cook but is worth the wait.  Farro is an extremely nutritious grain.  It is a much healthier alternative to rice.

Mediterranean Couscous/Farro Salad ~

One only has to type Mediterranean Couscous Salad into the Pinterest search line and you will get numerous versions of this recipe.  I added a link in one of my posts recently that took you to one of the recipes I tried and loved ➡️➡️Surviving a Dairy Free Life – With Recipes!  Since first trying some of these recipes, I have tweeked them a bit to come up with something a bit different.

The basic ingredients are typically the same in most recipes you see.  One of the biggest differences is that I mixed couscous and farro in the same dish.  What is awesome about making Mediterranean Couscous/Farro Salad is you can add in items you may need to use up from your fridge and it’s still amazing.  The dressing you use is basically what makes the  biggest difference in my opinion!

Ingredients ~

  • Pearl Couscous – 1 1/2 cups
  • Farro – 1 to 1 1/2 cups
  • Garlic – minced – 2 to 3 cloves
  • Chicken or Vegetable Broth – 32 ounce
  • Bell Pepper – Orange, Red, Green and/or Yellow – diced -I used only 1 orange bell pepper
  • Onion – Red and White – diced- 1/2 each of medium sized onion
  • Tomatoes – diced (whatever is in season – Cherry, Roma, Campari, Plum, etc) – 1 1/2 cups
  • Banana or Poblano Pepper – diced – 1 pepper
  • Black Beans (or beans of choice) – 1 can
  • Basil – to taste (I used about 3 tsp)
  • Salt & Pepper – to taste
  • Green Onions – dehydrated or fresh – chopped – 1/2 cup fresh or 2 Tbsp dehydrated
  • Tbsp. Olive Oil – divided – 4 Tbsp + 1/4 cup
  • Lemon Juice – 2 tsp. or 1 lemon juiced
  • Red Wine Vinegar – 2 Tbsp
  • Scallion Oil – 1 Tbsp.
  • Feta Cheese – For those who are NOT dairy free like my husband 😜

Instructions ~

Heat 4 Tbsp. olive oil in pan.

Add garlic and onion.  Cook on medium-low heat until translucent.  (A good garlic press is so important to have in the kitchen….I personally love the ones with the built in cleaner to help get all the bitty pieces out!)

Toss in couscous and farro.  Cook until browned (about 5 minutes).

Add chicken/vegetable broth.  Start with half of the 32 ounce container.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce to medium/low heat.  Add broth as needed to keep the couscous and farro moist.

Remove from heat and let cool.

In separate bowl, add bell pepper, tomatoes, poblano pepper, black beens, green onions, basil salt and pepper.

Mix veggies with cooled couscous/farro mixture.

Whisk together remaining olive oil, lemon juice, red wine vinegar and scallion oil.  Add in a bit of extra basil, salt and pepper.  I love using a salad dressing shaker when making all of my dressings.  Toss the ingredients into the dispenser, make sure top is closed and shake until mixed.  Then move the top piece over to pour.  Such a great tool from countertop creating to kitchen table. In fact, many times I leave a dressing “undressed” and let everyone top their own according to their preference.

As stated above, you can add in so many different ingredients according to taste or just what you need to use up in your fridge.  I do always try to add some type of pepper in addition to the bell and green pepper.    The poblano is one of my favorites because it doesn’t pack a lot of heat but still gives some great additional flavor.  However, I do use other spicier peppers at times too because my husband prefers a lot of spice!

I would like to also note that it is very common to use chick peas in this recipe, which are very good.  I had to make a change due to food allergies.  What I have found when making the Mediterranean Couscous/Farro Salad is that many different “beans” are good in this recipe so choose your favorite and enjoy!

Pairings ~

This salad is awesome when paired with grilled salmon!  However, it is truly a great accompaniment to almost any main dish…or honestly it is great served as the main dish as well!  I love making it for dinner and then using the leftovers for lunch….meal prep at it’s finest!


Have you tried this recipe?  Let me know in the comments below!  I look forward to hearing from you!

P.S.  Are you looking for some other fresh recipes?  Check out my delicious stir fry chicken and vegetable recipe here!

Happy Cooking ~


Surviving A Dairy Free Life

Two weeks ago I discovered that I am allergic to dairy…and I am ok with it!  You think I’m crazy for thinking that?  I can understand your thoughts, but if you knew my health history through the years you would understand.  I left the doctor’s office in tears…not from knowing I have to change my world a bit but rather from happiness that I FINALLY have some real answers.  Now it is time to learn all about surviving a dairy free life!

I have been put through test after test….after test through the years.  The blanket answer back then was Irritable Bowel Syndrome.  Can you say Metamucil?  Please understand that I am not saying Metamucil isn’t a good product, but it only works for specific situations….which just happened to NOT be what I needed.  There was never a full battery of blood tests run on me until 2023!  My loved ones urged me (well pushed is more like it!) to go to a functional medicine doctor and I FINALLY listened.

The Medical Results ~

An extensive blood panel was performed and voila…dairy (and a few other things that I will get into later) is the culprit!  Through teary eyes I looked at the results that the doctor was going over with me and asked her, “Do I dare hope that THIS is truly what is wrong with me?”  Well, it’s only been a few short weeks, but friends I cannot even begin to tell you how much better I am feeling already.

Brad and I headed out to SO MANY health food stores to get our pantry set up with all the new food items I would need to switch to.  *Brag alert….my husband has been truly amazing with all of this…from shopping with me and scouring food labels to trying out new dishes with me (which if you know Brad….well, you just know!)   The items I can eat became a bit more difficult because I am also allergic to coconut, vanilla, oats and garbanzo beans.  These just happen to be many of the items that are substituted in dairy free products…ugh!

So What Now? ~

With all of that being said, I want to explain why I am blogging about it!  You already know that I love to write about food…we will still be bringing you amazing recipes for those without restrictions.  I am just adding an extra tab under Recipes named Dairy Free.  Even if you aren’t dairy free, I promise you, you are going to want to check out some of these recipes because …. well because even Brad likes them!  🤣

I also am going to get very personal with you right now because I think it is important to be transparent.  I have struggled with diarrhea horribly for years.  The word colonoscopy literally just makes me cry. (not kidding!)  It’s a horrible thing to never know when it is going to hit you.  (Speaking of that, did you know that Duluth Trading Co. sells Sh!t Kits?  I kid you not…and they are a very wonderful thing!)  Let me just tell you, that already (several weeks into my new diet) I have gone out to eat several times and have not had to run to the bathroom.  I drink coffee…and nothing!  It’s freaking amazing!

Recipes We Have Tried…and Loved ~

The first recipe that I made was Mediterranean Couscous Salad.  I had cooked with couscous quite a while back and wasn’t a big fan.  This time I bought a different brand, and for us, that made a big difference.  Let me clarify, it wasn’t so much the brand but the size.  I had no idea until now that there are 3 different sizes of couscous.  We like the pearls which are larger (and to me not as mushy).  I’m including a link to the brand we love, but obviously you can get it at most stores.

DISCLOSURE: This site contains product affiliate links for Amazon and other companies. We may receive a commission if you make a purchase after clicking on one of these links.  Thank you for supporting my small business!

I actually really love Bob’s Red Mill brand of many products!

Mediterranean Couscous Salad ~

Jessica Gavin from Jessicagavin.com pinned this delicious Mediterranean Couscous Salad which is incredible.  It is so delicious that Brad took some for lunch the next day….and that NEVER happens!  Use the link in green to get her recipe.  I had to change a few things to meet my dietary needs:

  • Garbanzo beans – removed (unfortunately)
  • Feta cheese was a no for me but a yes for Brad so I just kept let him top his salad as he wished
  • Extras of the other veggies were substituted to make up for the loss of garbanzo beans
Salmon and Crushed Cucumber Grain Bowl ~

WOW!  This was so good!  Instead of cooking the salmon on stovetop as they did,  Brad smoked salmon for ours and it was delcious.  I’m also a little funny about seafood leftovers and by smoking the salmon it does last longer in the refrigerator than conventionally cooked salmon.  This allowed for a delicious lunch the next day!  Use this link for the Wild Alaska Salmon and Crushed Cucumber Grain Bowls by Purewow.com here!

Using the fresh herbs is vital to the freshness of this dish.  Farro which is a high protein, high fiber whole grain wheat, helps to give you that “full” feeling that you don’t always get when eating salmon alone.  Also, as stated earlier, I love Bob’s Red Mill products so that is the farro I used!

Cinnamon Swirl Banana Bread ~

There really weren’t a lot of changes that needed to be made to make yummy banana bread, however, I followed This recipe by Annie from MyLifeAfterDairy.com.  After making this recipe, Brad took his first bite and asked, “Remind me what is different in this recipe from the normal cinnamon swirl banana bread you have always made!”  Then we both decided that we actually like this recipe even more!  Check out the recipe in this link  ➡️➡️ Amazing cinnamon swirl banana bread by Mylifeafterdairy.com.

The couple of changes that I did have to make were:

  • substitute maple syrup for vanilla
  • substitute vegan “butter” for coconut oil

You do not have to make these changes if your are just allergic to dairy.  As stated earlier, I am also allergic to vanilla and coconut.

Adding In The Right Supplements ~

You have to be sure to make up for the nutrients that you will be missing when cutting dairy out of your world.  My practitioner helped me with this.  I am also learning what foods I need to add more of to my diet along with these daily supplements.  A prime example is changing from a breakfast of eggs and toast to eggs with avocado, tomatoes and spinach.  This is even Teddy Ruffsavelt approved ⬇️!

Conclusion ~

As stated earlier, whether you are allergic to dairy or not, these recipes are truly amazing!  Heck, I’ve shared some dairy free recipes with you before I even knew I needed to cut out dairy.  This chicken stir fry recipe for instance is delicious and dairy free…who knew?  Anyhoo, give these a try and let me know your thoughts!  Also, I would love to hear some of your favorite recipes if you are on this dairy-free ride with me.  There are definitely hard days without cheese….but surviving a dairy free life so far has been pretty good!

Happy cooking and happy health to you all~



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