How to Make the Best Fajitas

Our Favorite Lemon Herb Couscous Salad Recipe

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

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. By the way, we love this salad so much we created spin-off using orzo pasta. If you love this salad, take a look at our Lemon Orzo Pasta Salad with Cucumbers and Olives.

How to Couscous Salad with Lemon, Herbs and Crisp Veggies

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

How to make the best couscous salad recipe with a simple lemon dressing, cucumber and lots of fresh herbs. See the easy recipe and video.

The base of the salad is made with Israeli (or pearl) 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.

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.

Lemony Arugula Salad with Couscous, Cucumbers and Feta RecipeTry this Lemony Arugula Salad with Couscous, Cucumbers and Feta! The moment you make this salad, you’ll be itching to make it again. The salad is simple, fast and tastes like it came from a fancy restaurant.

How to make the best couscous salad recipe with a simple lemon dressing, cucumber and lots of fresh herbs. See the easy recipe and video.

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.

Tangy Cucumber Salad RecipeYOU MAY ALSO LIKE: Fresh and easy cucumber salad recipe with a sweet and tangy dressing made with vinegar, a little sugar, and Dijon mustard. See the Cucumber Salad Recipe

How to make the best couscous salad recipe with a simple lemon dressing, cucumber and lots of fresh herbs. See the easy recipe and video.

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

Our Favorite Lemon 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 8 (1 cup) servings

You Will Need

1 1/2 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

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, 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.

    Stir 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

  • 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.
  • Nutrition facts: The nutrition facts provided below are estimates. We have used the USDA Supertracker recipe calculator to calculate approximate values. We assumed 1/4 teaspoon of added salt.

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

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

Food Travel: Our Lives Outside the Kitchen

5 Days Exploring the San Juan Islands, Washington

We spent 5 days exploring the San Juan Islands in Washington State. See what we did and where we ate while we were there. Read More…

Subscribe to Dinner

We all struggle with what to cook for dinner and yes, I am definitely including Adam and me in that! So you never run out of inspiration, we want to send you a completely free weekly email with easy, delicious and fresh recipes perfect for dinner! Click Go to signup for free!

25 comments… Leave a Comment
  • Julie M August 14, 2018, 8:09 pm

    Delicious and a nice summer and easy after-work dish! Left out raisins and added olives and mozzarella pearls. Fresh Cherokee Purple tomatoes fresh from the garden.

    Reply
  • Sarah August 3, 2018, 3:13 pm

    Hello, I’m not a mustard fan but love all the others elements of your salad. Do you think I just not add the mustard or maybe you have an idea for a substitute? Thank you.

    Reply
    • Joanne August 3, 2018, 3:43 pm

      Hi Sarah, You can leave it out. The mustard adds a little more zing to the dressing, but I’ve made this without it before and still loved it.

      Reply
  • Courtney Haueter July 30, 2018, 8:01 pm

    10 out of 10!! FOR SURE. It was amazing, refreshing. We loved this. I literally ate it for breakfast the next morning. We almost tripled the nuts and golden raisins, and used pecans instead of walnuts.

    Reply
  • Nancy July 24, 2018, 11:34 am

    Do you think sweetened dried cranberries could be substituted for the raisins?

    Reply
    • Joanne July 26, 2018, 5:36 pm

      Absolutely!

      Reply
  • Sharon July 19, 2018, 10:13 am

    I loved this salad! I had to make a few changes based on what I had at home. I didn’t have lemon but I had lime so I used the juice of one lime and also added in some balsamic vinegar. For fresh herbs I have chives and dill, which I used a ton of. I used a couple small tomatoes and one English cucumber. I also crushed two cloves of garlic with a garlic press and stirred that in. Tons of pepper and salt. I didn’t have any walnuts or raisins but I’ll definitely add that in next time. Even without those changes the salad was so good.

    Reply
  • Alice July 1, 2018, 6:25 pm

    Loved this but increased the tomato and cukes and doubled up on the lemon we like it tart.

    Reply
  • Sarah Estes June 21, 2018, 8:28 am

    Love the recipe and video! Will try it soon. Take care, you guys.

    Reply
  • Erin May 21, 2018, 10:52 pm

    Hands-down the best couscous I have ever tasted. Refreshing, delicious, perfect with salmon.

    Reply
  • Olivia October 16, 2016, 7:42 pm

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

    Reply

Leave a Comment or Review

Cancel reply

All comments are moderated before appearing on the site. Thank you so much for waiting. First time commenting? Please review our Comment Guidelines. By submitting your comment, you are agreeing to our Privacy Policy.

* Required fields (Email address will not be published)

Did you make it? How was it?:

 

Previous Post: Next Post: