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.

Watch the Video

Arugula Salad with Couscous Recipe 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:

Lemon Arugula and Couscous Salad with Cucumbers and Feta

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.

Adding lemon vinaigrette to couscous for the arugula and couscous salad

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.

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).

Lemon Arugula Salad with Couscous, Cucumbers and Feta

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

  • PREP
  • COOK

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.

Makes 4 large servings

Watch Us Make the Recipe

You Will Need

For 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 cup

For 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.

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 1/4 of the recipe / Calories 404 / Protein 11 g / Carbohydrate 49 g / Dietary Fiber 3 g / Total Sugars 3 g / Total Fat 18 g / Saturated Fat 5 g / Cholesterol 17 mg / Sodium 479 mg
AUTHOR:  Adam and Joanne Gallagher
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15 comments… Leave a Review
  • Susan December 6, 2023, 5:10 pm

    Added some sauteed yellow pepper. Used less olive oil and would use even less (used 3T, would cut to 2T), added a little apple cider vinegar, the dressing needed a kick. I did use the preserved lemon. Also, used more pepper on the chix I put on top + some sweet paprika.

  • Angelique November 3, 2023, 9:14 pm

    Holy mackerel, this salad is INCREDIBLE. So simple, so easy to put together, and wildly flavorful. I actually like how the pasta wilts the arugula! Paired this with a steak and it was a perfect way to mesh the starch and veggie side all in one! Can’t sing enough praises for this recipe!

  • Karen bennett October 27, 2023, 10:29 am

    Absolutely delicious, even with 50/50 blend of baby spinach and spring mix. Used a bit more lemon and also added fresh garlic to the dressing. Thanks for recipe, my new favorite.

  • Iva L. September 7, 2023, 10:35 pm

    Eeeeyum! This was fanTAStic! I whisked in a touch of Dijon mustard to the dressing, and added just a few dried cranberries. I served it with jerk-seasoned, air fried salmon portions! It was sooo great. Thanks for a quick, easy and DELICIOUS weekday meal!

  • A McGary July 17, 2023, 5:16 pm

    This recipe is so light and fresh. I was looking for some creative ways to use my garden cucumbers, and this was just the ticket!

  • Kinau Hurley May 15, 2022, 7:27 pm

    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.

  • Lynda April 12, 2021, 4:41 pm

    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…..

  • Vanessa September 14, 2020, 7:14 pm

    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!

  • Carol H. July 27, 2020, 10:33 am

    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.

  • Jennifer March 7, 2020, 3:47 pm

    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.

  • Nancy November 18, 2019, 2:09 pm

    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!

  • LeahN May 5, 2019, 1:46 pm

    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!

  • Danielle Hennessey March 24, 2019, 8:51 pm

    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!

  • Michelle May 21, 2018, 6:26 pm

    Really nice simple recipe for lunch and dinner! I switched out the couscous for orzo and it was great too! Thanks!! 🙂

  • Joseph Chio March 15, 2018, 11:33 am

    Wow! I tried this and it tasted great! Thanks Adam and Joanne!


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