Couscous Salad

August 18, 2021

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Simple and refreshing Couscous Salad! It’s brimming with crisp veggies, fresh herbs, tangy feta and tossed with a vibrant lemon dressing.

Couscous salad with cucumbers, tomatoes, and herbs shown in a white bowl from the side.

Mediterranean Couscous Salad

Another salad recipe to add to the rotation! This one is made with fine tender couscous, a rich olive oil dressing, and the perfect pairing of bright tomatoes, cucumbers and herbs.

It has a delicious Mediterranean flavor that pairs exceptionally well with seafood and chicken.

It’s also very versatile and you can swap and add other ingredients like chick peas or pine nuts (see ideas in variations below).

Here you got lots of nutritious ingredients in this tasty salad that you’ll feel great about eating! It makes a great lunch or delicious dinner side dish.
Photo of ingredients used to make couscous salad.

Couscous Salad Recipe Ingredients

  • 1 cup dry couscous (Moroccan style)
  • 1 cup warm water
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup + 1 tsp olive oil, divided
  • 2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp minced garlic (1 clove)
  • 1 1/2 cups grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1 1/2 cups diced English cucumber
  • 1/3 cup diced red onion
  • 1/3 cup finely crumbled feta cheese
  • 1/3 cup toasted slivered almonds (optional)
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 Tbsp finely chopped fresh mint

Collage of four photos showing steps to cooking couscous in a saucepan.

How to Cook Couscous

  1. Bring water to a boil in a medium saucepan.
  2. Right when it reaches a boil remove from heat and right away stir in couscous and salt and cover. Let rest 5 minutes.
  3. Let rest 5 minutes.
  4. Drizzle in 1 tsp olive oil, fluff with a fork and let cool about 10 minutes in a salad bowl (toss occasionally if possible to reduce sticking).
  5. Meanwhile prepare remaining salad ingredients.

How to Make Couscous Salad

  1. In a small mixing bowl whisk together remaining 1/4 cup olive oil, lemon juice and garlic.
  2. To bowl with couscous add tomatoes, cucumber, red onion, feta, almonds if using, parsley, and mint.
  3. Pour dressing over everything and toss to evenly coat.
  4. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Collage of four photos showing a dressing being made and tossing dressing with a couscous salad.

Variations

  • Make it more of a main dish – add a 14 oz. can of chick peas (drain and rinse). If going this route just add an extra 1 Tbsp olive oil and 1/2 Tbsp lemon juice.
  • Try with other herbs. I’ve also made this salad with substitutes for mint. Basil once, dill another time, then also cilantro. I just prefer the mint but the other options are delicious too.
  • Use standard garden cucumbers instead of english cucumbers. If doing so just peel them first.
  • Swap the cheese. Cotija, mizithra or goat cheese would work for feta.
  • Use 2 roma tomatoes (diced) in place of the grape tomatoes.
  • Almonds are listed as optional but I highly recommend them. Pine nuts or walnuts are another great option. You’ll love the extra crunch and nuttiness.
  • Israeli (pearl) couscous would work as well just follow cooking instructions on the package instead of using those here.

Helpful Tips for the Best Couscous Salad

  • If at higher altitude don’t forget to add a little extra water when cooking the couscous.
  • Let couscous cool for a more refreshing salad (but don’t forget to fluff and separate the fine grains), better yet if you have an hour to let it rest in the fridge even better.
  • I think the salad is best the day it’s prepared but will keep pretty well in the fridge for 1 day.
  • As with just about any recipe be sure it’s adequately seasoned with salt so it doesn’t taste flat.

Couscous Salad shown form above in a white ceramic bowl resting on a blue cloth and wooden plate.

More Salad Favorites to Try

Couscous salad with cucumbers, tomatoes, and herbs shown in a white bowl from the side.
5 from 5 votes

Couscous Salad

A simple and refreshing Couscous Salad! It's brimming with crisp veggies, fresh herbs, tangy feta and tossed with a vibrant lemon dressing. Perfect for serving with seafood or chicken.
Servings: 5
Prep20 minutes
Cook5 minutes
Ready in: 25 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 cup dry Moroccan couscous*
  • 1 cup warm water**
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup + 1 tsp olive oil, divided (regular or extra virgin)
  • 2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp minced garlic (1 clove)
  • 1 1/2 cups grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1 1/2 cups diced English cucumber
  • 1/3 cup diced red onion
  • 1/3 cup finely crumbled feta cheese
  • 1/3 cup toasted slivered almonds (optional but highly recommended)
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 Tbsp finely chopped fresh mint

Instructions

  • Bring water to a boil in a medium saucepan.
  • Right when it reaches a boil remove from heat and right away stir in couscous and salt and cover. Let rest 5 minutes.
  • Drizzle in 1 tsp olive oil, fluff with a fork and let cool about 10 minutes in a salad bowl (toss occasionally if possible to reduce sticking). Meanwhile prepare remaining salad ingredients.
  • In a small mixing bowl whisk together remaining 1/4 cup olive oil, lemon juice and garlic.
  • To bowl with couscous add tomatoes, cucumber, red onion, feta, almonds if using, parsley, and mint. Pour dressing over everything and toss to evenly coat.
  • Season with salt and pepper to taste. Salad is best the day prepared but will keep in the fridge for 1 day.

Notes

  • *Israeli (pearl) couscous will work here as well just follow the cooking instructions on the package rather than those listed here (steps 1 - 2).
  • **If at high altitude add 2 extra tablespoons water.
Nutrition Facts
Couscous Salad
Amount Per Serving
Calories 356 Calories from Fat 180
% Daily Value*
Fat 20g31%
Saturated Fat 4g25%
Trans Fat 1g
Polyunsaturated Fat 3g
Monounsaturated Fat 13g
Cholesterol 8mg3%
Sodium 243mg11%
Potassium 479mg14%
Carbohydrates 37g12%
Fiber 5g21%
Sugar 4g4%
Protein 9g18%
Vitamin A 2067IU41%
Vitamin C 35mg42%
Calcium 133mg13%
Iron 2mg11%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Nutrition values are estimates only. See full disclaimer here.