On Mondays, we deserve to be high maintenance about our lunch. Starting the work week is tough. The knowledge that you have a bright container of this vibrant Israeli Couscous Salad with Feta and Mint waiting for you in the refrigerator can power you through even the most mundane of early morning meetings. Save the limp PB&J for Friday, when morale is high. Today calls for a healthy, happy, easy lunch, and this fresh Israeli pearl couscous salad is here to satisfy.
This pearl couscous salad with feta cheese, fresh mint, and smoked paprika-lemon dressing is a delicious and easy meal to make.
It’s simple, healthy, and perfect for a light summer meal or side dish. If you’re anything like me, you’ll find yourself happily reaching for leftovers at lunchtime (or snack time!).
We love the combination of fresh ingredients, bright flavors, and subtle smokiness. Whether you choose to serve this as a hearty side dish or a colorful main dish, I know it will quickly become a favorite in your household too!
What is Pearl Couscous?
I am a relative newcomer to the pearl couscous party. If you are not familiar, Israeli couscous (also known as pearl couscous) is actually a small, lightly toasted pasta. It’s quick-cooking and makes a refreshing change of pace in cold pasta salads like this one. The pearls of couscous nestle into every forkful, but it’s not overly chewy and allows the other ingredients to shine.
Part of the reason I was slow to adapt to Israeli couscous is that I didn’t think there was a whole grain option available. Because whole grains are higher in fiber and protein than their white counterparts (and thus more nutritious and satisfying), I prefer to use them in my cooking. Happily, thanks to my partnership with Bob’s Red Mill, I was introduced to this whole wheat Israeli couscous. It offers 5 grams of fiber and 7 grams of protein per serving (regular couscous has just 2 grams of fiber), and its mildly nutty flavor is delightful.
Although you could add just about any mix of vegetables to a pearl couscous salad and have it turn out nicely, I am especially fond of the Mediterranean-inspired blend that we have happening in today’s recipe. Juicy cherry tomatoes and crisp cucumber sing of summer, and peppery arugula gives the Israeli couscous salad backbone and bite.
What truly makes the pearl couscous salad beam, however, are the feta and mint. Promise me you will not skip these two. The feta is creamy and satisfying, and the fresh mint makes the Israeli couscous salad taste alive.
Pearl Couscous Salad Serving Suggestions
This Israeli couscous salad recipe can stand alone as a light lunch or summer side dish. To make it more substantial, I like to beef (er, bean?) it up with chickpeas, or add good-quality canned tuna. Don’t squirm, tuna skeptics—the lemony paprika dressing in this salad is a fantastic pairing with the fish, and it’s an easy, affordable source of protein too.
I found that one batch of this pearl couscous salad recipe, with 7 ounces of tuna added, was the perfect amount for four lunches. Make it tonight and feel the love from the refrigerator all week long!
More Fast and Fresh Salad Recipes
- Avocado Couscous Grapefruit Salad
- Strawberry Farro Salad with Avocado Salad with Feta
- Asian Noodle Salad with Sriracha Peanut Dressing
- BLT Pasta Salad
Israeli Couscous Salad with Feta and Mint
- 1 cup Bob's Red Mill Whole Wheat Pearl Israeli Couscous
- 1 lemon zested
- 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice from about 1 large lemon
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 2 cups arugula
- 1 medium English seedless cucumber, sliced and quartered
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes or grape tomatoes, halved
- 1/2 cup crumbled reduced fat feta cheese
- 1/4 cup lightly packed fresh mint leaves chopped
- Bring 1 1/4 cups water to a boil in a medium (2-quart) saucepan. Add the couscous, return to a boil, then cover and reduce the heat to a simmer. Let cook until the liquid is absorbed, about 20 minutes. Fluff with a fork and set aside.
- In the bottom of a large bowl, whisk together the lemon zest, lemon juice, olive oil, mustard, smoked paprika, salt, and pepper. Taste and add additional seasoning as desired. While the couscous is still warm, add it to the bowl and toss to coat. Place in the refrigerator for 5-10 minutes to allow the couscous to cool.
- When read to serve, add the remaining ingredients: arugula, cucumber, tomatoes, feta, and mint. Toss to combine. Serve cold or at room temperature.
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I am sharing this pearl couscous salad recipe and post in partnership with Bob’s Red Mill. As always, all opinions are my own. Thanks for supporting the brands and companies that make it possible for me to continue creating quality content for you!