Couscous salad is healthy, quick and easy to make. This gorgeous dish features fresh, seasonal ingredients like cucumber, red onion, herbs and cherry tomatoes. Drizzle everything in a simple and bright lemon juice dressing!
I love making this couscous for a summer cookout because it’s the perfect, simple side dish and pairs easily with any grilled protein (chicken, shrimp, burgers, steak, salmon, etc.)! This couscous salad can also be enjoyed solo as a light dinner or tasty little lunch.
Couscous is the best because it cooks SUPER fast, making it a very convenient ingredient to utilize in the kitchen.
If you’re a fan of this couscous salad recipe and fresh veggies, check out my delicious Asparagus Couscous Salad or this incredible Chicken And Mango Couscous Salad. You can’t go wrong with either of these variations.
What is Couscous?
Couscous is a small, granular food product made from crushed and steamed wheat. It’s a staple in North African and some Mediterranean cuisines, known for its quick cooking time and versatility in various dishes. Let’s know try this recipe for couscous salad. It’s so good and I’m sure you will love it too.
Ingredients To Make Couscous Salad
For the couscous:
- Couscous — I like using whole wheat couscous to make my salad healthier, but any will do.
- Water — For cooking couscous.
- Salt and pepper — Simple seasonings for big flavor. Add them to taste!
- Red onion — Delicious and spicy! If the flavor of your onion is too strong you can soak it in cool water for a few minutes before adding to the salad.
- Tomatoes — I like using cherry tomatoes because they’re extra sweet. Grape tomatoes will also work.
- Cucumber — For a bit of crunch.
- Fresh herbs — I generally use parsley and mint for this recipe.
- Feta crumbles — Salty cheese pairs nicely with bright, lemony dressing.
For The Salad dressing (lemon vinaigrette):
- Fresh lemon juice — Freshly squeezed is always best, though bottled can work in a pinch! If you prefer, you can replace lemon juice for white wine vinegar.
- Extra virgin olive oil — You can also sub avocado oil.
- Garlic — One to two whole cloves, finely minced.
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper — To taste.
- Optional: lemon zest
Instructions to Make Couscous Salad Recipe
Cooking the couscous:
- Measure water into a saucepan and bring it to a boil. Remove from heat and add your couscous!
- Place a lid on the saucepan and allow the couscous to soak in hot water or chicken broth for about 5 minutes, until soft.
- Remove the lid and use a fork to fluff to separate the fine grains, then set the couscous to the side or in the fridge and allow it to cool while you work on everything else!
- In a small bowl or glass mason jar combine lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper.
- Whisk until ingredients are well combined, then do a taste test and add a more salt or pepper if desired.
Assemble and serve:
- Transfer couscous to a large bowl, then add halved cherry tomatoes, veggies, herbs and salty feta crumbles.
- Mix well, drizzle homemade lemon dressing over ingredients and then toss again so everything gets a nice coating.
- Do a taste test and add a bit more salt/pepper if necessary, then serve and enjoy!
- I like using whole wheat couscous for a healthier salad but any will do. You can also use pearl couscous! Just check the packaging so you can properly adjust cook time.
- If you’re not a big fan of cucumber and tomatoes, you can replace them for any other vegetables you enjoy like broccoli, red bell pepper, spinach and asparagus.
- Fresh herbs taste phenomenal in this salad, but you can definitely use dried if that’s what you’ve got on hand.
- You can also replace mind or parsley for fresh basil or oregano.
- Substitute another crumbly cheese, if desired. Goat cheese and cotija cheese are good options.
- If you would like, you can add olives such as kalamata olives, chickpeas and beans like black beans, corn to your mediterranean couscous salad.
- Sprinkle some pine nuts or almonds to add extra flavour and crunch.
- To Store: Place leftover couscous salad in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 2-3 days. The leftover is great for lunch the next day!
- Make Ahead: I recommend storing dressing separate from salad if you’re making it a few days ahead of time for a barbeque or cookout. It will last longer this way, up to 3-4 days in the refrigerator!
What to Serve with Couscous Salad?
Frequently Asked Questions
Couscous kind of looks like rice, but it’s actually a type of pasta made with semolina (or granules of durum wheat). This means that couscous is generally not gluten free, though you can purchase specially made gluten-free options.
Couscous tastes very similar to other types of pasta and has a mild flavor. Because it’s made of small granules it has a different and delicious texture.
Couscous cooks extremely fast! All you have to do it boil some water, remove it from heat and stir in dry couscous. Place a lid on the pan and let the granules soak until they’re soft (about 5 minutes).
Couscous can be found at most grocery stores. I generally find it by the rice or pasta!
More Summer Salad Recipes
Tis the season for barbeques, summer cookout and pool parties! These are great take-along options if you’re invited somewhere, they’re also fantastic additions if you’re hosting.
- Cauliflower Potato Salad Recipe
- Mango Quinoa Salad Recipe
- Easy Broccoli Salad Recipe
- Quinoa Salad With Roasted Asparagus
For the Couscous
- 1 cup dry Moroccan couscous
- 1 cup water
- salt and black pepper to taste
For the Salad
- 1/4 cup red onions
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes cut in half
- 1 1/2 cup cucumber chopped
- 2 tbsp fresh parsley chopped
- 1 tbsp fresh mint chopped
- 3 tbsp feta cheese
For the Dressing
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tsp garlic minced
- salt and black pepper
- In a medium saucepan, bring water to a boil. Once the water is boiling, turn off the stove and add couscous. Clover the saucepan with a lid and let sit for 5 minutes.
- Uncover, fluff with a fork, and set aside to let cool for 5 minutes more.
- In a mason jar or small bowl, pour the freshly squeezed lemon juice and olive oil. Add garlic, salt and pepper and whisk everything.
- In large bowl, add couscous, red onions, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, fresh parsley, mint and feta cheese. Stir really well. Pour the dressing on top and mix everything again.
- Taste and adjust the seasoning if you think it is necessary. Serve immediately.
- I like using whole wheat couscous to make the salad healthier but you can use regular couscous if you prefer.
- You can also use pearl couscous if desired, but check the packaging and adjust cook time as necessary.
- I also prefer to use fresh herbs, but you can swap them for dried herbs too.
- If you do not have feta cheese, you can use cotija cheese, goat cheese, or any other crumbly cheese.
- To store: Place leftovers in an airtight container and refrigerate 2-3 days. Salad will last longer (3-4 days) if you store dressing separately.
Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.
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