Our arugula salad, made with an easy lemon vinaigrette, pearl couscous, cucumbers, and feta, is crave-worthy. Once you make it, you’ll be itching to make it again.
Watch the Video
Related: We love adding couscous to salads, here’s our lemon and herb couscous salad with tomatoes and cucumbers.
Our Favorite Arugula Salad
It’s funny how certain recipes sneak their way into your weekly rotation. This arugula and couscous salad has done just that. We make it for dinner, eat the leftovers for lunch, and have served it to friends more times than I can count.
You’ll be itching to make it again once you try this arugula salad recipe. The salad is simple, fast, and tastes like it came from a fancy restaurant. Here’s the rundown on how to make it:
The base of our salad is couscous — we particularly love pearl (often labeled Israeli couscous). It cooks quickly and gives the salad enough substance to stand on the plate by itself. You could swap the couscous for pasta, quinoa, barley, or other grains — farro is excellent in salads (see our apple, arugula, and farro salad for inspiration).
Add crisp cucumbers, baby arugula (or other tender greens), and feta cheese to the couscous. The lemon vinaigrette is simple — just lemon juice, olive oil, and a little honey.
Tip: Since the dressing is so simple, it’s easy to play with. If we have it on hand, we love throwing a tablespoon of minced preserved lemon to the party. You can buy it or make your own — we shared this recipe for preserved lemon a while back if you want to take a look.
The real trick to this salad is assembling it: toss most of the dressing with the warm couscous and let it cool slightly before adding other ingredients. We take the same approach when making potato salad (we toss warm potatoes with the dressing first). By doing this, the warm ingredient has a chance to absorb all the flavor in the dressing. A game changer.
The same idea applies if you swap the couscous for pasta or another grain. Toss the still-warm pasta/grain with the dressing first, let it absorb, and cool slightly. Then, move on to adding the rest of the ingredients.
For more arugula recipes, take a look at our Fried Goat Cheese, Strawberry and Arugula Salad, our Lemony White Bean and Arugula Salad, this lovely Shaved Fennel and Arugula Salad Recipe and these Baked Chicken Thighs with Potatoes, Garlic and Arugula.
Lemon Arugula Salad with Couscous and Feta
Our arugula salad, made with an easy lemon vinaigrette, pearl couscous, cucumbers, and feta, is crave-worthy. Once you make it, you’ll be itching to make it again. We particularly love pearl (often labeled Israeli couscous) for this arugula salad. It cooks quickly and gives the salad enough substance to stand on the plate by itself. You could swap the couscous for pasta, quinoa, or other cooked grains like barley or wheat berries.
Watch Us Make the Recipe
You Will NeedFor the Salad
1 ½ cups dried pearl (Israeli) couscous, about 3 cups cooked
3 ounces baby arugula or tender salad greens, about 4 cups
Half of a hothouse (seedless) cucumber, chopped
2 ounces feta cheese, crumbled, about 1/2 cupFor the Dressing
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, about 1/2 large lemon
4 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon honey or maple syrup
1 tablespoon minced preserved lemon, optional
1 teaspoon dried basil or a handful chopped fresh basil leaves, optional
Sea salt and fresh ground black pepper
1Bring a medium saucepan of salted water to a boil. Add couscous and cook until tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Drain, then add to a large bowl.
2Meanwhile, make the lemon vinaigrette. Whisk lemon juice, olive oil, honey, preserved lemon, and basil until it looks thick and blended. Season to taste with salt and fresh ground black pepper (we add a generous pinch of each).
3Toss the cooked and drained couscous with the dressing, then set aside for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until cooled slightly. Finish the salad by adding the arugula, cucumbers, and feta. Toss well, then serve.
Adam and Joanne's Tips
- The salad will keep overnight in the fridge. As it sits, the greens may wilt slightly, but still will taste great.
- If you cannot find pearl (Israeli) couscous, substitute with a regular couscous, small pasta shape such as orzo or cooked grains like quinoa, wheat berries and barley.
- Nutrition facts: The nutrition facts provided below are estimates. We have used the USDA database to calculate approximate values. We assumed 1/2 teaspoon of added salt.