This lemony arugula and couscous salad is crave-worthy. Once you make it, you’ll be itching to make it again. Jump to the Lemony Arugula Salad Recipe with Couscous, Cucumbers and Feta or read on to see our tips for making it.
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. [Here’s another couscous salad: Lemon and Herb Couscous Salad with Tomatoes and Cucumbers]
How to Make Crave-Worthy Arugula and Couscous Salad
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. Here’s the rundown for how to make it!
The base 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.
To the couscous, we add crisp cucumbers, arugula (or other tender greens) and feta cheese. The dressing is simple — just lemon, olive oil and a little honey. Bonus, 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 preserved lemon recipe a while back if you want to take a look.
The real trick to this salad is how you assemble it.
It’s simple: toss most of the dressing with the warm couscous and let it cool slightly before adding any 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.
If you swap the couscous for pasta or grains the same idea applies. 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.
This arugula salad would go really well next to this Seriously Good Turkey Burger, our Easy Lemon Garlic Baked Chicken Breasts and our Perfectly Baked Salmon (inspired by my Mom).
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.
If you try this recipe, let us know! Leave a comment, review it, and don’t forget to tag a photo #inspiredtaste on Instagram. Happy cooking!
Lemony Arugula Salad with Couscous, Cucumbers and Feta
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.
You Will NeedFor the Salad
1 1/2 cups dried pearl (Israeli) couscous (about 3 cups cooked)
3 ounces baby arugula or tender salad greens, about 4 cups
1/2 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
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, 8-10 minutes. Drain then add to a large bowl.
2Meanwhile, make the dressing. Whisk lemon juice, olive oil, honey, preserved lemon and basil together 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 Supertracker recipe calculator to calculate approximate values. We assumed 1/2 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
This salad was one of the best I have ever eaten. It has everything that I love…lemon, arugula and the cous cous was a fantastic bonus. This will definitely be added to the summer roster of salads. Thank you for a yummy addition to my recipes.
OMG….this salad is so delicious…I added some grated lemon rind, and replaced couscous with quinoa (lower calories 😊). I think it was a bit too good, as there were hardly any leftovers. Was a hit with everyone…will definitely be making this salad again, and again…..
Delicious! And it was convenient for a busy evening because I made the cous cous and dressing earlier in the day, and then could just throw in the other ingredients when we got home from my son’s soccer practice!
I made this last night and it was fantastic. I had fresh basil in the garden and made dressing ahead of time so that flavors would meld. Subtle, flavorful, and not overpowering. Following other readers compliments, I went ahead with adding warm couscous to greens. No problem at all. The arugula held up well and the blend with the feta was just perfect. I liked the different textures in the salad. This was easy prep and will definitely be added to our rotation. Highly recommended.
Very tasty! I added roasted beets, pumpkin seeds and avocado just because I wanted a salad with lots of stuff in it! Really tasty. I love Isreali couscous and the dressing was simple as stated and very good. Will make again and I’ve already shared the recipe with friends.
I needed a dish last minute to bring to a Friendsgiving and found this recipe. This super lovely salad was a great addition and everyone loved it. I never would’ve thought to dress the Israeli couscous alone while warm but that was seriously genius and a game changer. This is quickly becoming an instant staple for us!
We loved this! Big fans of arugula anyway but this recipe is simple, which is part of what makes it so great. I made it exactly as the recipe states minus the basil (because I had none) and it turned out perfect. Wouldn’t change a thing. Will definitely be making this again. Thanks!
Love this recipe! I had to improvise with parmesan cheese instead of the feta,which I didn’t have. I also used lemon zest instead of the other lemon component. Next time I make it I will try the exact recipe, which I’m sure will be awesome!
Really nice simple recipe for lunch and dinner! I switched out the couscous for orzo and it was great too! Thanks!! 🙂
Wow! I tried this and it tasted great! Thanks Adam and Joanne!