Make the best couscous salad with our simple lemon vinaigrette, tomatoes, cucumber, and herbs. It doesn’t get much easier than this delicious fresh salad!
Watch the video
⭐️ Here’s another salad with couscous: Arugula salad with couscous, cucumbers, and feta cheese.
# 1 Secret for making the best couscous salad
For the best, most flavorful couscous salad, add your vinaigrette to the couscous while it is still warm. Since the couscous is warm, it soaks up all the flavor from the dressing. We use the same trick when making pasta salad and even potato salad.
We use pearl couscous, sometimes called Israeli couscous, for this salad. It looks like tiny round pearls and is made from semolina flour and wheat. It’s very similar to pasta. To cook it, add to boiling water and cook for about 10 minutes before draining.
Instead of a pearl couscous salad, substitute it with regular couscous or use grains like farro and quinoa. Small pasta like orzo is a great idea, too. We use orzo and a similar dressing to make this orzo pasta salad.
In addition to the couscous, we love tossing in diced tomato, crisp cucumber, lots of fresh herbs, golden raisins, and crunchy walnuts. The variety of textures in this easy couscous salad makes it difficult not to get seconds!
You will love this salad dressing
This salad dressing is one of our favorite recipes. We use it for other salads all the time. To make our light lemony vinaigrette, you will need the following ingredients:
- Dijon mustard
- Honey or maple syrup
- Lemon — the zest and juice
- Olive oil
Whisk everything together until creamy, and then season with salt and pepper. It’s perfect for this couscous salad recipe, but keep an extra batch in the fridge for your next weeknight salad!
How to make couscous salad in 4 easy steps
- Cook your couscous or use pasta or grains.
- Make your dressing in the bottom of a large mixing bowl.
- Toss drained warm couscous into the bowl with dressing.
- Mix in veggies, herbs, raisins, and nuts.
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.
More easy salads
- Creamy Cucumber Salad has a tzatziki-inspired dressing made with Greek yogurt, vinegar, fresh lemon, garlic, and dill.
- Lemony White Bean Salad with Prosciutto has creamy white beans, salty prosciutto, parmesan cheese, peppery arugula, and a punchy lemon dressing.
- Seriously Good Quinoa Salad is ultra-flavorful and satisfying quinoa salad recipe is packed with superfoods.
- Or try making your own dressing! Here’s our recipe for Caesar dressing, a creamy blue cheese and my favorite honey mustard dressing.
Lemon Herb Couscous Salad
We love this easy 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.
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. This way they will remain crisp.
- Nutrition facts: The nutrition facts provided below are estimates. We have used the USDA database to calculate approximate values. We assumed 1/4 teaspoon of added salt.