20 Minute, Lemon and Herb Couscous Salad Recipe

How to make light and healthy couscous salad with a simple lemon vinaigrette, cucumber and herbs. Jump to the Easy Couscous Salad Recipe or read on to see our tips for making it.

20 Minute, Lemon and Herb Couscous Salad Recipe

It really doesn’t get much fresher than this. We love this light 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.

Tangy Cucumber Salad RecipeYOU MAY ALSO LIKE: This Tangy Cucumber Salad made with a vinegar based dressing, seedless cucumbers, and red onion.

How to Make Lemon and Herb Couscous Salad

Serve this salad warm or cold. You even swap or add your favorite fresh ingredients. We love crisp cucumbers, tomatoes, and golden raisins.

The base of the salad is made with Israeli couscous.

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 its 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 can substitute with a small pasta shape such as orzo or use regular couscous.

The Secret for the Most Flavorful Salad

To make the best, most flavorful salad, add the vinaigrette to the couscous while it is still warm. We do the same with pasta salad and even potato salad.

Add the dressing while the couscous is still warm.

Since the couscous is warm, it soaks up all the flavor from the dressing. Speaking of the dressing, this is one of my go-to recipes. We 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 creamy, and then season with salt and pepper and you’re done.

Once the couscous is dressed, it’s up to you for what else you add – we love diced tomato, crisp cucumber, lots of fresh herbs, golden raisins, and crunchy walnuts.

Tomatoes, cucumber, raisins, herbs, and walnuts

Make Ahead Tips

This 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 marry and mingle, making for an even more delicious salad. If you are planning to make a day or two ahead of time, keep the tomatoes and walnuts separate until you’re ready to serve. This way they will remain crisp.

Easy Caesar Salad RecipeYOU MAY ALSO LIKE: This Easy Caesar Salad Recipe with Croutons. We show you how to make egg-free Caesar dressing and your own croutons.

Recipe updated, originally posted March 2012. Since posting this in 2012, we have tweaked the recipe to be more clear. – Adam and Joanne

20 Minute, Lemon and Herb Couscous Salad Recipe

  • PREP
  • COOK
  • TOTAL

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. See the notes section below for our tips.

Makes approximately 4 servings

You Will Need

1 1/2 cups dried Israeli couscous, also called pearl couscous

Salt

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1/2 teaspoon honey

1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest

2 tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice

1/2 of a medium English cucumber, diced (about 1 cup)

1 large tomato, diced

1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh herbs; use any combination of fresh parsley, cilantro, basil, dill, or mint

1/3 cup raisins

1/4 cup chopped walnuts, toasted

Fresh ground black pepper

Directions

    Bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil. Add couscous and cook until tender, 8-10 minutes. Drain.

    While the couscous cooks, in a large bowl, mix the oil, mustard, honey, lemon zest, lemon juice, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Add the drained couscous to the dressing and mix well.

    Stir in the cucumber, tomato, herbs, raisins and walnuts. Taste for seasoning and adjust with salt and/or pepper as needed. Enjoy warm or cover then refrigerate until cool, about 1 hour.

Adam and Joanne's Tips

  • If you cannot find Israeli Couscous, you may substitute with a small pasta shape such as orzo or use regular couscous.
  • To toast walnuts, add to a dry pan over medium heat. Cook, stirring frequently until the nuts turn golden brown and become fragrant, 5 to 10 minutes.
  • Make-Ahead: 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 marry and mingle, making for an even more delicious salad. If you are planning to make a day or two ahead of time, keep the tomatoes and walnuts separate until you’re ready to serve. This way they will remain crisp.

If you make this recipe, snap a photo and hashtag it #inspiredtaste — We love to see your creations on Instagram and Facebook! Find us: @inspiredtaste

AUTHOR: Adam and Joanne Gallagher

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15 comments… Leave a Comment
  • Olivia October 16, 2016, 7:42 pm

    Am using this as a healthy alternative with my veggies, great taste!

    Reply

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