It really doesn’t get much fresher than this. We love this light couscous salad — it doubles as a side, can be the main event or works well topped with grilled chicken or Adam’s favorite, shrimp! With lots of texture from crisp cucumber, sweet tomatoes, crunchy nuts and raisins, this is certainly one of our favorites. You can even make it ahead of time.
How to Make Our Lemon and Herb Couscous Salad Recipe
Serve this salad warm or cold. You can add your favorite fresh ingredients, cucumbers, tomatoes, grapes, shrimp? It’s up to you!
What is Israeli Couscous?
Israeli Couscous is a little different from what most of us think of when we hear couscous. It’s in the shape of small round pearls made from semolina flour and wheat and is very similar to pasta in it’s texture. In fact, you actually cook it in boiling water for about 10 minutes then drain. Easily use in place of rice, or even in place of pastas in soups or salads.
If you cannot find Israeli Couscous, you may substitute with a small pasta shape such as orzo or even use regular couscous.
The Secret for Flavorful Couscous Salad
There’s a secret for this salad. Just after the couscous has cooked and is still warm, toss it with the dressing. Always add the dressing to warm couscous (this works for potato or pasta salad, too).
This way, the couscous soaks up all the dressings flavor so when it cools, every pearl of couscous tastes perfect.
How to Make the Simplest Lemon Vinaigrette
We really love keeping this salad light and fresh, so our favorite dressing to toss the couscous in is a light lemony vinaigrette. It’s simple — and great to toss with warm veggies like carrots or as a light salad dressing. All you need is Dijon mustard, honey, lemon zest, lemon juice and olive oil. Just whisk together until a little creamy, season with salt and pepper and you’re done.
Keep Things Light, Fresh and Crisp
It’s up to you as far as what you add – we love sweet diced tomato, crisp cucumber that has been diced, lots of fresh herbs, sweet raisins and crunchy walnuts.
If you have the time, toast the nuts before adding them — just throw them into a dry pan and cook over low heat, tossing occasionally until warmed and lightly toasted. Toasting the nuts brings out the flavor a bit more than if you were to add them straight from the bag.
A Salad That’s Perfect to Make Ahead of Time
This salad is delicious when eaten straight away, but you can also make the salad, cover it and refrigerate for up to 4 hours. This way all the flavors to marry and mingle, making for an even more delicious salad. One note, here. If you are planning to make ahead of time, keep the tomatoes and walnuts separate until you;re ready to serve. This way they will remain crisp.
Did you like our Lemon and Herb Couscous Salad Recipe? If so, you may also like these:
- Shaved Fennel and Arugula Salad from Inspired Taste
- Easy Caesar Salad Recipe with Croutons from Inspired Taste
- Cucumber and Israeli Couscous Salad Recipe from The New York Times
- Warm Apple and Cabbage Salad Recipe from Inspired Taste
- 1 1/2 cups Israeli couscous
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1/2 teaspoon honey
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
- 1/2 of a medium English cucumber, diced (about 1 cup)
- 1 large tomato, diced
- 1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh herbs (any combination of fresh parsley, cilantro, basil, dill or mint)
- 1/3 cup raisins
- 1/4 cup chopped walnuts, toasted
- Freshly ground black pepper and salt
- In a large saucepan, bring about 2 quarts of water and 1 teaspoon of salt to a boil. Add couscous and cook until tender, 8-10 minutes. Drain.
- While the couscous cooks, in a small bowl, mix the oil, mustard, honey, lemon juice and zest, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.
- Add cooked and drained couscous to a large bowl, and then, pour dressing over warm couscous, mix well.
- Add cucumber, tomato, herbs, raisins and walnuts to the couscous and stir. Taste for seasoning and add salt and/or pepper as needed.
- Enjoy warm or cover then refrigerate until cool, about 1 hour.