A fresh, healthy Israeli couscous salad with feta, tomatoes and cucumber. This tasty salad is perfect for lunch or an easy dinner.
Here you go! A summery Mediterranean tomato, cucumber and couscous salad.
This gorgeous salad never fails to disappear every time I make it.
The salad has that magically delicious combo of crunchy, vibrantly-colored veggies, green herby-ness and tender couscous pearls, all mixed with a punchy lemon-garlic dressing.
This is one of those recipes you’ll want to make on repeat, all year round.
When is the right time to make a couscous salad?
I’m so glad you asked!
While just about any chopped tomato, cucumber and red onion salad will have you dreaming of summer days, this particular one will fit into your daily routine no matter the weather situation:
- Pack into a container and take to work or the beach (very highly recommend the latter).
- On the backyard picnic table to eat al fresco (YES).
- For dinner, at the end of a long, long day. (Thank you).
The inspiration for this delicious fresh salad came from a friend, a pottery artist from Tel Aviv.
She taught me a few things about what to do when you have people over. It goes something like this:
- Arrange some chairs around a table, then open a bottle of wine — chilled rosé is perfect.
- Put out some glasses, plates and napkins so everyone can help themselves.
- Set a bowl on the table full of chopped tomatoes, cucumber, fresh herbs and some olive oil, with some fresh pita on the side.
- Get busy talking and sipping. all while enjoying a delicious, no-fuss Mediterranean salad.
What is Israeli couscous
Israeli couscous is a type of pasta made with durum wheat or semolina flour.
The pasta is shaped into small, pearl-size balls that are toasted and then dried.
Israeli couscous looks different from the more minuscule grains of Moroccan-style couscous that you may be familiar with.
Tunisian or Lebanese couscous, or mahjoub, is very much like Israeli-style couscous.
But, they’re totally interchangeable in this recipe.
As a matter of fact, if you don’t have any couscous in your pantry, try this salad recipe substituting bulger or farro.
Another option is to assemble the salad using cooked quinoa, millet or amaranth grains to make it gluten-free.
How to cook Israeli pearl couscous
Unlike instant couscous which can be soaked in hot water, Israeli couscous or pearl pasta cooks just like regular pasta, in a pot of boiling salted water.
Check the directions on your package, but count on cooking pearl couscous 10 -12 minutes.
Test and taste to be sure it’s nicely al dente, because you don’t want the grains to turn mushy.
What to serve with Mediterranean Couscous Salad
This is basically a vegetarian tomato-cucumber salad with some cooked grain tossed in.
It’s great to serve all by itself, or with:
- Fresh toasted pita bread
- As a side dish with simple baked lemon chicken.
- Or this quick garlic butter shrimp!
More easy healthy salad recipes:
- Warm French Lentil Salad with Goat Cheese
- Tuscan Kale Salad with Smoky Roasted Chickpeas
- Spicy Cucumber Salad
Israeli Couscous Salad with Feta
- 1 cup (142 g) pearl couscous, bulgur, faro or other grain you like
- Sea salt
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 small garlic clove, grated or finely chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red chili, or to taste
- ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
- ¼ cup (60 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 pint (300 g) cherry tomatoes, quartered
- 1/3 cup (60 g) thinly sliced red onion
- 3 green onions, thinly sliced
- 1 teaspoon chopped jalapeño or serrano chili
- 2 or 3 Persian cucumbers, thinly sliced
- 1/4 cup each fresh cilantro. parsley and mint leaves, torn if large
- 4 ounces (125 g) feta cheese, crumbled
- Bring 2 quarts water to a boil in a saucepan with 1 tablespoon salt. Cook the couscous (or chosen grain) until tender or according to package directions. Drain and cool for 10 minutes.
- While the couscous cooks, whisk the lemon juice, garlic, chili, cumin and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a serving bowl. Drizzle in the oil while whisking to emulsify.
- Add the tomatoes, red and green onions, chili, cucumber and couscous to the bowl and toss gently to mix. Sprinkle the herbs and feta over the salad. Serve and enjoy.
- You can cook the couscous a few days ahead. Keep it in a container in the refrigerator, but assemble the rest of the salad when you're ready to serve.