Clay Hickson's Tangy Couscous Salad with Olives, Lemon and Fennel

Clay Hickson's Tangy Couscous Salad with Olives, Lemon and Fennel

Clay Hickson is an illustrator and co-founder of The SmudgeWhile he may not think he's good at lunch, he certainly knows his way around the kitchen. He whipped up this delicious Tangy Couscous Salad while we lunched with him in his LA home. 

My favorite things to draw are usually breakfast related.


To Grab

Farro (or couscous) Ingredients:

  • 2 cups farro (or sub couscous)
  • 5 cups chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt


 Salad Ingredients:

  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • ½ cup chopped olives
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • Grated zest and juice of 2 lemons
  • 1 large garlic clove, grated
  • 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 large fennel bulbs 


    To Do

    Rinse the farro (or couscous if using). Bring broth, oil and salt to a boil in a large pot, then add farro. Lower to a simmer then cook uncovered until farro is tender (about 20 mins). Drain and set aside to cool.

    While farro is cooling, put fennel seeds in a small skillet and toast over medium heat for 2 minutes. Transfer to mortar and crush them until they’re the texture of sand. Add olives, red pepper flakes, lemon juice, garlic and olive oil. Slice fennel bulbs. Mix farro (or couscous), salad and fennel together. Garnish with salt.

    Words by Nayla Al-Mamlouk and Photography by Elena Mudd


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    Clay's Go-To Lunchware

    Food Containers

    Say good-bye to mom's old takeout containers and hello to Inka's patent-pending InvisiSeal technology.

    More Lunch Club


    I thought, you know what, I’d like to start writing stories and I’d like to write ones that are reflective of people of color in this space.


    I got tripe. I got tongue. I got all those, what are they called, offal foods? So even though my mom didn’t like to cook, she did expose me to a lot of things. Now I wish my mom was making me food everyday. 


    "My favorite things to draw are usually breakfast related. I associate it with a kind of diner culture from the 70’s that I always wish I had been able to experience."

    Ready to lunch?

    Start by upgrading those old takeout containers made of cheap, toxic plastics.