Israeli Couscous Salad
I love it when I find new salads or summer side dishes that can be made ahead to marinate all day or made on the fly to eat up right then and there. This salad is one of those salads that tastes great either way. This is the perfect salad to bring to a potluck, picnic or to serve up in your own backyard. It’s full of summer flavor from the fresh mint, parsley and cherry tomatoes. We love pairing this salad with chicken drumsticks and one of my kale salads for a family backyard dinner. You can really make this a year round salad by adding seasonal ingredients to the mixture, like asparagus in the spring, cauliflower or broccoli in the winter.
I made this salad up last night to bring to my friend Yvonne’s house for a girls dinner. I paired it with my grilled bruschetta with heirloom tomatoes and my kid friendly caesar salad. It was the perfect throw together summer dinner because I made everything ahead of time. I made up the couscous salad earlier in the day, made the croutons and salad dressing for the caesar salad the night before and then threw everything together at Yvonne’s house come dinner. If you get a bunch of great side dishes, you can make a meal out of them. Here’s a photo of our backyard picnic dinner.
Israeli couscous salad:
recipe from Bon Appetit (1-year auto-renewal)Bon Appetit
- 1 1/2 cups cooked Israeli couscous also called pearl couscous (1 cup dry will yield 1 1/2 cups cooked)
- 1 small shallot (aprox 2 tablespoons), finely chopped
- 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 English cucumber, unpeeled, seeded and finely chopped
- 1 pint of cherry/grape tomatoes, halved
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
- sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Here’s what Israeli couscous looks like, incase you haven’t seen it before. You can find it near the boxed couscous in the grocery store.
Cook your Israeli couscous according to package directions. 1 cup dry makes 1 1/2 cups cooked couscous. Make sure to keep any eye on the couscous as it’s cooking because it tends to cook up quicker than the package says, at least in my case.
After the couscous is cooked, drain it and then rinse it immediately with cold water, and then drain well. I had to use a fine mesh strainer to drain my couscous as the holes in my normal strainer are a bit too large. I also used a spatula to get the couscous out of the pan as it was a bit sticky. The cold water rinse stops the cooking and prevents the couscous from sticking together as it cools. Note: The couscous will be sticky before you rinse it.
While your couscous is cooking or cooling, finely chop your shallot. You don’t need a big shallot for this recipe. Below is a picture of the size I used and it yielded 2 tablespoons once it was chopped.
Rinse your cucumber, cut off the ends, cut it into slices lengthwise, take a knife and slice off the seeds, then finely chop up the cucumber. I’m showing you step-by-step photos below just in-case you needed to see the process.
Squeeze up your 2 tablespoons lemon juice, rinse and cut your cherry tomatoes in half, and rinse and finely chop up your parsley and mint. Now that all of your ingredients are prepped, it’s time to assemble the salad.
Get out a large bowl and add the 1/2 cup olive oil, chopped shallot, and 2 tablespoons lemon juice, whisk to combine.
Add in the couscous, cucumber, tomatoes, parsley and mint.
Add in a bit of salt and pepper to taste, (I omitted the pepper, but feel free to add some) and toss to combine.
Serve up right away or store covered in the refrigerator for later. I personally like to let the salad cool off in the refrigerator for a bit so all of the ingredients mesh together.
You can make this salad the day before for an event, just omit the mint and parsley, cover and chill the salad, and then fold in the freshly chopped mint and parsley before serving.
23 thoughts on “Israeli Couscous Salad”
I love Israeli couscous – it sort of reminds me of quinoa but bigger…..and softer! There is a restaurant in Scottsdale called Olive & Ivy that serves a Mediterranean Salad with Israeli couscous that is very similar to this. I am such a creature of habit that I order it every time I go and it’s always fabulous! In fact, I was went there Saturday for brunch with my Mom and we both enjoyed it along with a killer Peach Bellini! Gotta love Brunch! I imagine this would be YUM with grilled chicken. Definitely adding it to my weekly menu options. Have a great week! xoxo
Hi Cheryl! You know, you have some of the best restaurants out there. First, Dr. Weil’s place and now this one! I need to visit Scottsdale 🙂 I’m not sure what a Peach Bellini is, but I’m going to google it!
Yes, grilled chicken would be a great addition to make this more of an dinner rather than just a side dish! Great suggestion! I can’t wait to hear what you think when you give it a try. xoxo, Jackie
Oh what a FABULOUS salad indeed! Love it for this weekend – thanks for the recipe!
What a absolutely beautiful salad you made here! I’m going to try couscous instead of my regular quinoa, I can’t wait to give it a taste!
Also, lovely pictures, love your dinner setup! 🙂
Meals out of yummy side dishes are the best kinds of meals. And all the fresh herbs lately make dinnertime salads especially fresh and delicious! Gorgeous photos- must go get some couscous!
This comment has nothing to do with your current post. It has everything to do with your historical post on CHOCOLATE CAKE WITH CREAM CHEESE FROSTING. Oh, How I love this recipe! Today is my husband’s birthday and you probably guessed it – I’m making this cake for our gathering tonight. As an aside I love making recipes you share because they are consistently fabulous. Beyond that, I simply adore you. Opening up your recipes and seeing you is HAPPY!!!
Wow Shari! What an amazingly sweet comment! You totally made my week! Happy Birthday to your hubby! I’m so glad you love the recipes on the blog. I only share my favorite recipes, so I’m glad they are becoming your favorites as well. That cake is the bomb and one that gets requested at each and every birthday celebration. I’m actually craving a piece as I type this up! Anyway, thanks so much for stopping by and saying hi! I really love hearing from readers, so don’t be a stranger 🙂 xoxo, Jackie
Oh girl, this looks delicious and summery and pretty and refreshing! I love dishes like this. My tomato radar is on high right now because I’m so drawn to anything with tomatoes in them right now, like your bruschetta and this salad. My mouth actually started to water when I saw the photo with these and your caesar salad. MMmm! There was some good eating happening at your friend Yvonne’s house! 🙂 xoxo, Sharon
I made this recently and wanted to pop back in and say it was good! I added a nice big splash of balsamic vinegar to add a bit more flavor.
Thanks for sharing it!
Hi Liesl. First off, you have a beautiful name and secondly, I’m so happy to hear that you made and loved this salad. I also like your addition of the balsamic, I might have to add that next time. 🙂 xoxo, Jackie
I came by looking for yield on couscous I like others prefer Isreli , just wanted to add.
I like to roast my veggies , red onions tomatoes and olives , bell peppers , and then add that to my cooked Israel couscous . I think taking the extra time to of roasting adds another dimension of flavor to any dish like this. Another fav of mine is to tomatoes , olives and then add shredded spinach and make a nice stoneground mustard honey dressing , The possibilities are endless. I have yet to start making actual sauces using it I do look forward to it. Great Blog keep up the good work
Thanks so much Angela! I love the addition of the roasted veggies. You’re right that roasted veggies do add a whole new dimension to any dish! xoxo, Jackie
I came across your website when looking for a refreshing salad with Israeli couscous, since I had gotten it at the store for the first time. This is my new favorite recipe, made it at home for my family and brought it to work for potlucks. I always receive great compliments, and of course I share your site with them! Thanks for the recipe, and be sure I will be trying more.
Hi Agustina! Yaay! I’m so happy that you made and love this recipe. Thanks so much for stopping by and letting me know, and thanks for passing along my site to your friends! You’re the best, and I hope that you find many more recipes that you love just as much on the blog 🙂 Have a wonderful weekend! xoxo, Jackie
Couscous isn’t Israeli, it comes from North Africa and a staple in Amazigh cuisine. If you ever get the chance to try Amazigh couscous I highly encourage you to do so! They cook it in a double boiler and it’s an all day process but sooo worth the work!
I don’t have lemons. Could I use the juice of oranges instead? Would that be too weird on the taste buds?
Hi Kepanie! I’m not too sure that oranges would pair well with this salad. I think it might throw off the whole flavor of the salad! Sorry!
This was awesome. I made it yesterday and it was completely gone by the end of lunch. The only thing I did different was omit the mint and I added lots of crumbled feta cheese. So so good. Thank you! My first experience with couscous was wonderful.
Yay! I’m so glad you loved the couscous Kat! I also love your addition with the feta! I LOVE feta cheese. I may toss some in next time! Thanks so much for sharing! I hope you find some other recipes on the blog to try! xoxo, Jacquelyn
This was so easy to put together, and perfect for the 100+ degree heat in Austin. I’ve never cooked couscous before, but it turned out great. My family in seattle asked I email the recipe. Thanks
Awesome Jamie! I’m so happy to hear that this recipe was a hit and easy to make in the heat. Wow, 100+ degrees! It’s been so cool here that I would welcome a bit of heat 🙂
This salad was amazing This was my first time and all my family like it Thanks for this awesome blog ❤️
Awww.. Thanks for taking the time to comment Mohamed. I’m so happy to hear that your family loved the salad! 🙂 xoxo, Jacquelyn