Lemon Herb Couscous Salad Recipe

Lemon and Herb Couscous Salad Recipe

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). Lemon and Herb Couscous Salad Recipe

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.

Lemon and Herb Couscous Salad

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.

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5.0 from 4 reviews
Lemon Herb Couscous Salad Recipe
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
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. 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.
Created By:
Yield: 4
You Will Need
  • 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
Directions
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Add cooked and drained couscous to a large bowl, and then, pour dressing over warm couscous, mix well.
  4. Add cucumber, tomato, herbs, raisins and walnuts to the couscous and stir. Taste for seasoning and add salt and/or pepper as needed.
  5. Enjoy warm or cover then refrigerate until cool, about 1 hour.
Notes and Tips
To toast walnuts, add to a dry pan over medium heat. Cook, stirring frequently until the nuts turn golden brown and become fragrant 

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9 comments… Leave a Comment

  • Aggie March 29, 2012, 12:08 pm

    This looks so refreshing!! I have everything but the raisins. I want to make this!

    Reply
  • Denise Browning December 26, 2012, 7:57 pm

    Hi, Joanne! Just to let you know that this dish made the list of the 25 mouthwatering dishes from different blogs in From Brazil To You…Cheers!

    Reply
  • Katherine May 27, 2013, 1:26 pm

    I want this in my fridge ALL the time!! Rarely review recipes I print…just make them and never give credit where it is due…shame,shame…but this salad is so scrumptious it would be a sin not to tell the world about it. I was looking for something special (and pretty) to make as a side for my mom’s Mother’s Day dinner. We had bbq chicken, 2 different couscous salads, delicious blanched green beans- everyone kept coming back for more of the Lemon & Herb Couscous salad! Could not get enough. We served it chilled and it was absolutely just as refreshing as the picture. I always go to Publix and pick up the “Near East” pearl couscous for this recipe and then follow the Gallaghers’ method verbatim. Cannot wait for heirloom tomatoes to come in and complete this ensemble. Bought fresh cucumbers and corn from the market (peaches n’ cream) and used cilantro and dill for the herbs. Left off the raisins and walnuts. I like to serve this cold- so the pearl couscous is much better for that- in general, when I think of couscous, I think of pearl couscous- the regular kind just seems like quinoa to me. OUTSTANDING. For the past two summers, I have made a black bean, red pepper, avocado, white corn salad with a vinaigrette that is delicious but needed a change and was searching through all these fresh summer recipes that just weren’t doing it for me until I found this one! Bravo Gallaghers. We have made it every week since! It’s our staple this summer (and certainly for many to come!) Thank you!!

    Reply
  • Honour Taoreed December 19, 2013, 2:23 am

    WOW! This is what i have been looking for a long time.Easy to cook and tastes great.

    Reply
  • sherri mclean January 3, 2014, 7:00 pm

    Delish! I was snowed in and didn’t want to go to the store so I used what I had..cilantro…sautéed celery, onions, broccoli (no cucumbers here) and added minced garlic.. Didn’t use nuts or raisins because my husband is on WW… So good! Thanks for sharing!

    Reply
  • Mary Jane February 15, 2014, 6:13 pm

    Lovely, fresh salad. Will make often. Thanks for sharing.

    Reply
  • Kate Higgins June 16, 2014, 5:53 pm

    was wondering if you could substitute quinoa for the couscous… looks very delicious!

    Reply
    • Joanne June 20, 2014, 12:12 pm

      Sure! That’s a great idea.

      Reply

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