Couscous Salad

By Maria Lichty

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Quick Summary

This simple Couscous Salad is made with tomatoes, cucumbers, bell pepper, red onion, feta cheese, fresh herbs, and a vibrant lemon dressing. Serve this quick and easy side dish along side any meal.

couscous salad with tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, red onion, herbs, and lemon wedges in white bowl with serving spoons.

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Whenever I need a quick and EASY salad, I often make this Couscous Salad. It only takes 20 minutes to make and is always a crowd pleaser.

If you haven’t made couscous before, you are going to love it! It’s a pasta made with semolina wheat flour that can be made in no time. It only takes 5 minutes to steam and then you fluff it with a fork. The pasta is light, fluffy, tender, and a great base for this hearty salad.

To freshen the salad up, I add tomatoes, cucumbers, bell peppers, onion, herbs, feta cheese, and a tangy lemon dressing.

This salad makes a great lunch, light dinner, or side dish. It is a great salad to take to potlucks and parties. It can be made in advance, the salad will keep in the fridge for up to 5 days, so it’s perfect for meal prepping too.

ingredients in bowls to make couscous salad.

Salad Ingredients

  • Water– to cook the couscous.
  • Couscous–  couscous is a type of pasta that’s made from semolina wheat flour and water.  It’s already been steamed and dried and requires very little effort to prepare. Make sure you use regular Moroccan dried couscous, not pearl couscous or Israeli couscous.
  • Grape tomatoes– ripe and juicy!
  • English cucumber– they add a nice, fresh crunch.
  • Yellow bell pepper– seeds removed and diced! I love the pop of color and sweetness.
  • Red onion– for flavor!
  • Feta cheese– to add some creaminess.
  • Herbs– fresh parsley and mint.
lemon dressing ingredients in bowls.

Dressing Ingredients

  • Olive oil– the base of the dressing.
  • Lemon– zest and lemon juice for the ultimate lemon flavor.
  • Dijon mustard– for flavor and to help emulsify the dressing.
  • Honey– to slightly sweeten the dressing.
  • Garlic– use a sharp knife or garlic press to finely chop the garlic.
couscous cooking in water in large white pot.

How to Make Couscous Salad

  • In a medium saucepan, bring the water (or broth) and salt to a boil.
couscous being fluffed with a fork in big white pot.
  • Stir in the couscous, cover tightly with a lid, and remove from heat. Let the couscous sit for 5 minutes. Uncover and use a fork to fluff the couscous and break up any clumps. Let cool to room temperature before assembling the salad.
couscous, feta, cucumber, herbs, tomatoes, peppers, and red onion in mixing bowl to make couscous salad.
  • In a large serving bowl, combine the couscous, tomatoes, cucumbers, yellow pepper, red onion, feta cheese, parsley, mint, salt, and black pepper.
lemon dressing in bowl with whisk.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, Dijon mustard, honey, garlic, salt, and pepper.
couscous being tossed in mixing bowl.
  • Pour the dressing over the salad and stir to combine well.

Variations

  • To add more flavor to the couscous, cook it in vegetable broth or chicken broth instead of water.
  • Instead of grape tomatoes, chop up regular tomatoes or cherry tomatoes.
  • Persian cucumber or regular cucumbers are also great in this salad.
  • I like to use yellow bell pepper, but red, orange, or even green bell pepper will work too.
  • Use sliced green onions instead of red onion.
  • Add chickpeas for a boost of protein.
  • If you want to add greens, chopped spinach or arugula are great options.
  • Stir in chopped almonds, pistachios, or pine nuts for a nutty crunch.
  • Instead of feta cheese, use goat cheese.
  • Throw in a handful of chopped basil with the other herbs.
  • Stir in chopped kalamata olives.
  • Sweeten the dressing with pure maple syrup instead of honey.
  • Top the salad with grilled chicken, shrimp, steak, white fish, or salmon.

What to Serve with Couscous Salad

This simple couscous salad is a great side dish to any meal. Here are a few entrees that we love serving with couscous salad.

How to Store

  • Store the salad in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
  • You can keep the lemon dressing in the fridge for up to 7 days. Whisk before using.
couscous salad in mixing bowl.

More Salad Recipes

Find more SALAD RECIPES HERE!

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Couscous Salad

This simple Couscous Salad is made with tomatoes, cucumbers, bell pepper, red onion, feta cheese, fresh herbs, and a vibrant lemon dressing. Serve this quick and easy side dish along side any meal.
5 from 1 vote

Ingredients
  

For the salad:

  • 1 cup water or broth
  • Pinch of kosher salt
  • 1 cup dry couscous
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups diced English cucumber
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, seeds removed and diced
  • 1/2 cup diced red onion
  • 3/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped fresh mint
  • Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste

For the dressing:

Instructions
 

  • In a medium saucepan, bring the water (or broth) and salt to a boil.
  • Stir in the couscous, cover tightly with a lid, and remove from heat. Let the couscous sit for 5 minutes. Uncover and use a fork to fluff the couscous and break up any clumps. Let cool to room temperature.
  • In a large serving bowl, combine the couscous, tomatoes, cucumbers, yellow pepper, red onion, feta cheese, parsley, mint, salt, and black pepper.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, Dijon mustard, honey, garlic, salt, and pepper.
  • Pour the dressing over the salad and stir to combine well. Serve.

Nutrition

Calories: 225kcal, Carbohydrates: 24g, Protein: 6g, Fat: 12g, Saturated Fat: 3g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 7g, Cholesterol: 13mg, Sodium: 174mg, Potassium: 270mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 3g, Vitamin A: 603IU, Vitamin C: 39mg, Calcium: 90mg, Iron: 1mg
Keywords couscous

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Maria

I'm Maria and my husband is Josh. We share a love of cooking, baking, and entertaining. We enjoy creating recipes that are simple, fresh, and family friendly. We love sitting around the table with good food, good conversation, and good friends and family! Our kitchen is always open!
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