Easy Lemon Herb Couscous Salad

I love this easy couscous salad recipe with a simple lemon dressing, fresh tomatoes, crisp cucumber, and herbs. It’s so quick to make, and everyone I’ve served it to loves it!

Watch the Video

Couscous Salad Recipe Video

I’ve made this easy couscous salad so many times over the years, and I’m always happy that I did! It’s one of my favorite summery side dishes for potlucks and BBQs. Every time I bring it, my friends ask for the recipe.

The best part is how simple and delicious it is. The ingredients are all fresh, and the salad comes together incredibly fast. While the couscous cooks (takes 10 minutes), you can prep the rest of the salad ingredients.

Easy Couscous salad made with pearl couscous (Israeli couscous), tomatoes, and cucumber

Key Ingredients

  • Couscous: We use pearl couscous (Israeli couscous). It looks like tiny pearls and cooks like pasta (about 10 minutes in boiling salted water). You can substitute regular couscous or swap in your favorite grain or small pasta shape (think quinoa, farro, or orzo).
  • Cucumber and tomato: I love the color and fresh flavor of cucumber in this easy salad, but you can add any of your favorite veggies!
  • Fresh herbs: This salad really benefits from fresh herbs. I toss in a lot of them and particularly love fresh parsley, dill, and mint.
  • Walnuts: Nuts add some crunch and meatiness to the salad. Walnuts work well in this salad, but feel free to substitute with your favorite nuts.
  • Raisins: I love adding something sweet to this salad, so golden raisins do the trick. I’ve also used dried cranberries and dried apricots with great results.
  • Homemade dressing: I use the same dressing for this salad as other recipes on Inspired Taste (like this chickpea salad). You’ll combine lemon juice, Dijon mustard, honey or maple syrup, and olive oil. It’s light and fresh.
Couscous salad with tomatoes and cucumber

How to Make Couscous Salad

I make my lemon dressing first and do it in the bottom of a large salad bowl. This way, I can add right in when my couscous is cooked. For the best couscous salad, add your couscous while it is still warm to your dressing. The warm couscous soaks up all the flavor from the dressing. We use the same trick when making pasta salad.

When the couscous has cooled, you can add the veggies, walnuts, raisins, and fresh herbs. For being so simple, the salad truly delivers on flavor! I love this as a side and often turn it into a main dish by adding roasted shrimp or grilled chicken on top.

Storing Couscous Salad

Couscous salad is delicious right away, but you can also make it, cover it, and refrigerate it for an hour or more so the flavors meld a bit. Because of all the fresh ingredients, couscous salad only lasts a few days in the fridge. If you plan to make it ahead of time, keep the tomatoes and walnuts separate until you’re ready to serve since they don’t hold up as well as the other ingredients.

More Fresh Easy Salads

Easy Couscous Salad with cucumbers and tomatoes

Easy Lemon Herb Couscous Salad

  • PREP
  • COOK

We love this easy couscous salad. Enjoy as a side or a main dish topped with your favorite protein like shrimp, chicken, tofu, or fish.

Makes approximately 8 (1 cup) servings

Watch Us Make the Recipe

You Will Need

1 ½ cups dried Israeli couscous, also called pearl couscous

Salt and fresh ground black pepper

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1/2 teaspoon honey

1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest

2 to 4 tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice, depending on taste

1 medium English cucumber, diced

1 large tomato, diced

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

1/4 cup chopped walnuts, toasted

1/4 cup raisins, we love golden raisins


    1Bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil. Add couscous and cook until tender, 8-10 minutes. Drain.

    2While the couscous cooks, in a large bowl, whisk 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.

    3Stir in the cucumber, tomato, herbs, walnuts and raisins. 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

  • Couscous substitutes: regular couscous, farro, barley, quinoa, small pasta like orzo.
  • Toast walnuts: Add them 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: Cover it and refrigerate for up to 4 hours. 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.
  • The nutrition facts provided below are estimates. We assumed 1/4 teaspoon of salt.
Nutrition Per Serving Serving Size 1 cup / Calories 219 / Protein 5 g / Carbohydrate 29 g / Dietary Fiber 2 g / Total Sugars 4 g / Total Fat 9 g / Saturated Fat 1 g / Cholesterol 0 mg / Sodium 160 mg
AUTHOR:  Adam and Joanne Gallagher
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78 comments… Leave a Review
  • Rachel April 28, 2024, 12:29 am

    This is so delicious… I made it for the first time a few days ago… and will be making it for the second time tomorrow. The fesh herbs and lemon make it so bright and fresh. I cant get enough!

    • Joanne April 29, 2024, 1:21 pm

      This is one of my favorites! Thank you for coming back and sharing, Rachel.

  • SANDI WHITE February 12, 2024, 5:12 pm

    I’ve made this twice now, and it’s my new favorite lunch to take to work. You can change the taste by adding different veggies, too. I love it!

    • Adam February 14, 2024, 2:18 pm

      We love how flexible this recipe is. The dressing goes with so many veggies. So glad you enjoyed it 🙂

  • Whaley Susan Marie January 27, 2024, 3:06 am

    A perfect recipe for a church potluck very tasty with garlic bread

  • Tana Paris November 28, 2023, 5:24 pm

    I made this recipe and it was absolutely fabulous. I used a lot of fresh mint and parsley.
    Also, I tripled the dressing recipe. I mixed the hot pasta in with the dressing as prescribed. Soooo scrumptious.! I marinated chicken and fried it and then diced it and ate alongside the salad. Will definitely make this again.!!! Thanks much!!!

  • Catherine Petrie September 24, 2023, 5:08 pm

    Just made this recipe – excellent!

  • Rick July 7, 2023, 2:57 pm

    Fresh parsley and dried oregano. Served with feta and olives. Mwah!


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