A favorite vegetarian side dish to make for summer — this delicious Israeli Couscous salad is made with fresh tomatoes, cucumber, red onion and pearl couscous tossed in a mint-lemon dressing. Served with toasted pita chips! Super easy. Ready to eat in 20 minutes. Perfect for potlucks.
★ Why You’ll Love this Recipe ★
One of my favorite side dishes to make during the summer is this amazingly delicious Israeli Couscous Salad! It's served cold and is packed with flavor making a refreshing side dish for any potluck or backyard barbecue.
It's a very versatile dish.
This dish is great for potlucks, picnics, lunches to go, or as a side with dinner. It's gorgeous — colorful and full of fresh herbs and is always a hit!
This delicious vegetable and couscous dish is meatless so it's a great option for vegetarians.
However, you can add chicken or steak if you'd like to "beef this up" and make it into a full meal for lunch or dinner.
★ Ingredients You'll Need ★
- Israeli pearl couscous. You can usually find this in the rice isle although it's actually a pasta, not a grain! You want to go with the larger "pearl" couscous for this recipe.
- Water. For boiling the couscous. I always season my pasta water with a heavy dash of salt but keep in mind, you won't drain the couscous so just a pinch is all you need here.
- Sea salt. Sea salt has a really great earth taste to it that add an extra layer of flavor to this dish. It's OK to use regular salt if that's all you have.
- Olive oil. I love the flavor of olive oil in Mediterranean dishes. However, you can also use avocado oil or vegetable oil if you do not have olive oil.
- Grape tomatoes. These tomatoes are the perfect size and I really love the packages of tomatoes that come with the variety of colors. The yellow, orange and red blend really makes this dish so pretty! If all you can find is red tomatoes, that's fine too.
- Cucumbers. You can leave the skin on or off or peel the skin in a striped pattern for added texture and color. Up to you!
- Fresh mint leaves. Mint is so easy to grow, I always snag a mint plant in the spring and enjoy fresh mint all summer long!
- Fresh parsley. Parsley is also very easy to grow and is very hearty into the colder winter temperatures as well. I've actually uncovered my plant of snow and found green leaves ripe for picking underneath! So it's well worth picking up a plant in spring and tossing it in a pot outside in the sun to enjoy this yummy and pretty garnish all summer long.
- Red onion. The color and flavor of red onion is perfect with this dish. In a pinch you can use a white or yellow onion but red is going to be the way to go if you want maximum flavor!
- Green onions. Also known as scallion, these little onion are mild but add some much freshness!
- Fresh squeezed lemon juice. Fresh is always better! Especailly since the lemon juice is your "dressing" for this dish, you'll want to buy a whole lemon and squeeze your own juice.
- For the Pita chips you just need pita bread, butter or olive oil, and some sea salt. Toast and you have lovely crunchy pita chips to enjoy along with this salad. You can also buy ready-made pita chips if you're short on time.
★ How to Make this Israeli Couscous Salad ★
- Cook couscous pearls with olive oil.
- Cool couscous pearls in a large bowl then add chopped tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, green onions and herbs.
- Stir in lemon juice and olive oil. Add sea salt to taste.
- Coat pita slices with butter or oil and bake.
- Serve immediately or store in fridge then toss before serving.
★ FAQs & Tips ★
What's in Israeli Couscous?
The recipe is actually pretty simple. You start with pearl sized couscous then add veggies — chopped cucumbers, tomatoes, red onion and green onions. Next add fresh herbs mint and parsley (either Italian parsley or curly parsley work fine). Finally, add squeezed lemon juice and some sea salt then toss!
What can you serve with Israel Couscous?
Toasted pita strips put this salad over the top!
This salad is so good already but the toasted pita chips just take it to the next level. They're super easy to make in a toaster oven. But you could use a traditional oven too or even a regular toaster, just cut into pieces and add butter after you toast (so you don't start a fire!)
When you serve this dish in a large bowl, say for a potluck, you can put the pita chips on the side as a topping so they don't get soggy. You may also want to cut into smaller pieces so they go further. If serving yourself, you can go with larger pieces. Up to you!
What does this Israel Couscous salad taste like?
This salad is made up primary of couscous which is a small grain-like pasta, vegetables, and herbs all tossed in lemon juice. Mint and lemon juice is a classic Mediterranean flavor combination. It's so refreshing and bright! Perfect for spring and summer months.
It's hard to believe this salad doesn't have a fancy dressing and yet it's so flavorful! I attribute this to the two different types of onions, the flavorful vegetables and the combination of fresh mint and lemon juice.
The texture is really nice and literally rolls around on your tongue. The tiny pearls of couscous are very enjoyable to eat!
Sea salt or regular salt?
Here's the deal. I almost always use sea salt because it has a little extra flavor vs. regular table salt. It's not mandatory but I do recommend it if you're looking for optimum flavor.
★ How to Store this Israeli CousCous Salad ★
To store, place in an air tight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. Toss to redistribute dressing right before enjoying.
I do not recommend freezing this couscous salad. The vegetables will become rubbery.
★ More Recipes You'll Love ★
Israeli Couscous Salad
- 1 cup Israeli pearl couscous
- 1 ½ cup water
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 1 cup grape tomatoes quartered
- 1 cup chopped cucumbers
- 2 tablespoon fresh mint leaves chopped
- 2 tablespoon fresh parsley chopped
- ¼ red onion finely chopped
- 5 green onions finely chopped
- ¼ cup fresh squeezed lemon juice about 2 lemons
- ½ cup olive oil more or less to taste
- Sea salt to taste
- 1 pita
- 1 tablespoon butter
- Add water to a medium sized pot and bring to boil. Salt the water if desired for extra flavor. Once boiling stir in couscous pearls and olive oil. Cover and reduce to simmer for 8 minutes.
- Scrape cooked couscous pearls into a large bowl and let cool.
- Chop tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, green onions and herbs. Add to couscous.
- Pour lemon juice and olive oil over couscous and veggies and toss everything together. Add sea salt to taste.
- Slice pita in bite sized pieces. Coat both sides with butter. Bake in toaster oven at 350˚for 2-3 minute or until light golden brown.
- Serve immediately or store in fridge then toss before serving.