Couscous Salad

Couscous Salad is a flavorful and colorful dish with a light lemon and olive oil dressing. Enjoy the blend of crunchy veggies and filling couscous!

This simple Side Dish is a great way to add protein and fiber to your meal. Just like Tropical Quinoa Salad or Greek Chickpea Salad, it’s a twist on salad that brings more to the table than just leafy greens.

Top down photo of Couscous Salad


Couscous Salad is the perfect make-ahead dish. It’s an easy Summer salad that’s bursting with flavor. Tomato, cucumber, cayenne pepper, virgin olive oil, and lemon juice all come together in one large bowl to make this taste sensation. The couscous blends with and absorbs the flavors from all around while bringing its own nutty, slightly sweet taste, and chewy texture.

Serve Couscous Salad as a side dish to your favorite healthy dinners like Spicy Garlic Salmon and Tomatoes and Lemon Greek Chicken Skewers, or enjoy it as your main dish for lunch. This salad is also great to bring along the next time you have a family get together or need a potluck meal. It’s a fresh salad that’s easy to store in the fridge and sure to become a go-to for all kinds of occasions.

This Couscous Salad recipe might seem a little more complicated than your typical salad because you have to cook the couscous. But you shouldn’t worry. Couscous is very easy to make and great to have around. Simply boil water, lemon zest, extra-virgin olive oil, salt, and cayenne pepper. Once the ingredients are boiling take them off the heat and add the couscous. It should only take about 5 minutes to absorb the flavors. Then you just fluff the couscous and toss it with the other ingredients and lemon juice dressing. The total time for the whole salad should be around 15 minutes.



Just like rice couscous is fluffy, chewy, and has a fairly neutral taste that you can use in a variety of dishes. It may surprise you to know that couscous is actually a type of pasta that’s made from semolina. It’s a great staple food to have in your pantry to whip up a quick dinner. It’s also high in fiber and protein. Keep in mind that because this is a pasta it’s not gluten-free.

There are two main types of couscous. These are Israeli couscous (or pearl couscous) and Moroccan Couscous. Israeli Couscous is larger, and takes longer to cook. Moroccan Couscous is more common and what you’d typically use in this salad. However, you could use either pearl couscous or Moroccan couscous in this salad.

Couscous Salad Ingredients in bowl


  • Mediterranean Couscous Salad: Make this into a Mediterranean Couscous Salad by adding some extra ingredients. Throw in cherry tomatoes, chopped red onion, olives, black pepper, red bell pepper, and feta cheese. You can also add fresh herbs like parsley and mint. Toss the vegetables like cherry tomatoes, red onion, and so on with the cucumbers before preparing the couscous in olive oil. Sprinkle the feta and minced parsley over the Mediterranean Couscous Salad before serving.You can also add red wine vinegar to the lemon juice mixture.
  • Israeli Couscous Salad: To make this Couscous Salad Recipe into Israeli Couscous Salad simply replace the couscous in the recipe with Israeli Couscous. Just remember that Israeli or pearl couscous will take longer to cook.
  • Pasta Salad: If you don’t have couscous you can turn this into a simple pasta salad. Use your favorite tri-colored pasta for a bright salad or use orzo pasta.
  • Protein add-ins: To make this salad more filling add protein packed ingredients. A few easy ways to do this are adding feta cheese or toasted nuts. Sprinkle the feta and roasted nuts over the salad before serving. You can also add in some chickpeas, black beans, or even sliced grilled chicken.



  • Serve: Don’t leave Couscous salad at room temperature for more than a couple hours.
  • Store: Cover your salad and store it in the fridge for 3-4 days.
  • Freeze: This salad is a great recipe to make ahead. You can keep it in the freezer for up to 3 months.

Couscous Salad with grape tomatoes

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Couscous Salad

Couscous Salad is a flavorful and colorful dish with a light lemon and olive oil dressing. Enjoy the blend of crunchy veggies and fluffy couscous!
Yield 8 Servings
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Course Salad
Cuisine Mediterranean


  • 3 cups grape tomatoes , halved
  • 2 cucumbers , seeded and diced
  • 1 lemon , juiced and zested
  • 3 teaspoons Kosher salt , divided
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups instant couscous , 10 ounces
  • 3 green onions , thinly sliced


  • In a medium bowl, add the tomatoes, cucumbers, lemon juice, and 2 teaspoons salt, then toss to combine.
  • In a medium saucepan, add the water, lemon zest, oil, 1 teaspoon salt and cayenne pepper and bring to a boil over high heat. Once boiling, remove from heat and add the couscous, stirring well and then covering for 5 minutes.
  • Fluff the couscous with a fork, then transfer to a serving bowl. Add the tomato mixture and the scallions and toss to combine.


Calories: 178kcal | Carbohydrates: 31g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 884mg | Potassium: 319mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 590IU | Vitamin C: 18mg | Calcium: 32mg | Iron: 1mg
Keyword: Couscous Salad

Healthy Couscous Salad

About the Author: Sabrina Snyder

Sabrina is a trained professional chef who has cooked for private clients for over a dozen years. Experienced in handling dietary restrictions, allergies and picky kid eaters, she's well versed in coming up with healthy, yet flavorful recipes.


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