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This vibrant Israeli Couscous Salad is the kind of healthy, happy, easy lunch that you’ll spend your whole morning looking forward to eating.

Mediterranean Israeli Couscous Salad with Feta and Mint in a white salad bowl, with a spoon for serving

Not only is it delicious, but this couscous salad with feta cheese, fresh mint, and smoked paprika-lemon dressing is also an easy meal to make.

It’s simple, nutritious, and perfect for a light meal or summer-vibes side dish. (Pair with Salmon Cakes for an extra boost of protein.)

This couscous salad blends fresh ingredients and bright flavors, backed by a subtly smoky dressing and nutty whole grains.

Tomato, Cucumber, and Feta Pearl Couscous Salad in a white bowl, with a bag of Bob's Red Mill pearl couscous behind it

5 Star Review

“This is my all-time favorite salad/side dish recipe! I make this once a week without fail, and I get compliments every time I serve it! Super quick and so fresh.”

— Kanya —

What is Israeli Couscous?

Just like regular couscous (like my Moroccan Couscous Salad), Israeli couscous (also known as pearl couscous) is actually a small, lightly toasted pasta.

Some of the key differences between regular couscous and Israeli couscous are:

  • Israeli couscous is larger in size than regular couscous.
  • Israeli couscous is prepared by boiling, and regular couscous can be boiled or steamed.
  • Israeli couscous nutrition differs slightly from that of regular couscous. Whole wheat Israeli couscous contains about 6 grams of fiber and 7 grams of protein per serving, and regular couscous has about 2 grams of fiber.

Couscous is quick-cooking and makes a refreshing change of pace in cold pasta salads like this one.

It’s healthy, and the pearls nestle into every forkful.

The texture is delightful; it’s not overly chewy and allows the other ingredients to shine.

overhead photo of a bowl of Mediterranean Pearl Couscous Salad with a spoon for serving

How to Make the Best Couscous Salad

Although you could add just about any mix of vegetables to a 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.


The Ingredients

  • Israeli Couscous. The delicious grain for our salad! I used whole wheat couscous (which I also used in this Avocado Couscous Grapefruit Salad) in this recipe. 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 when possible.
  • Lemon Zest + Juice. Adds brightness and acidity.
  • Dijon Mustard. A zippy and tangy addition to the dressing.
  • Smoked Paprika. I love the light smokiness that paprika adds to the recipe.
  • Arugula. Gives the salad backbone and bite. Plus, it’s packed with calcium, potassium, and vitamins.
  • Cucumber + Cherry Tomatoes. Both cucumber and cherry tomatoes bring delightful freshness and color to the salad.
  • Feta Cheese + Mint. What truly makes the Israeli couscous salad beam. Promise me you will not skip these two. The feta is creamy and satisfying, and the fresh mint makes the salad taste alive.

Tip!

If you’d prefer this as a hot Israeli couscous recipe, you could serve it warm instead.

The Directions

  1. Cook the couscous (it takes about 20 minutes to cook Israeli couscous). Fluff and set aside. You do not need to rinse Israeli couscous after cooking.
  2. Whisk together the dressing ingredients, then toss the mixture with the couscous. Refrigerate for 5 to 10 minutes.
  3. Stir in the arugula, cucumber, tomatoes, feta, and mint. DIG IN!

Storage Tips

  • To Store. Store leftover Israeli couscous salad in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
  • To Freeze. While I do not recommend freezing this salad as the vegetables will become mushy, you can freeze cooked couscous in an airtight freezer-safe storage container for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator.

Meal Plan Tip

Cook the couscous up to 1 day in advance. Refrigerate it in an airtight storage container.

Pearl Couscous Mediterranean Salad with Feta and Mint in a white bowl with a serving spoon

Leftover Ideas

For extra-filling leftovers, try Israeli couscous salad with chickpeas or good-quality canned tuna. The lemony paprika dressing in this salad is a fantastic pairing with the fish.

What to Serve with Israeli Couscous

Recommended Tools to Make this Recipe

  • Saucepan. Perfect for making this traditional Israeli couscous recipe.
  • Mixing Bowls. This set will help you prepare any recipe.
  • Citrus Juicer. My favorite (and most-used) kitchen gadget.

Israeli Couscous Salad

4.73 from 106 votes
Israeli couscous salad with feta, summer vegetables, and lively lemon dressing. Simple, healthy, and perfect for light meals and sides.

Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 20 minutes
Total: 35 minutes

Servings: 4 servings

Ingredients
  

  • 1 cup whole wheat Israeli couscous also called pearl 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
  • 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

Instructions
 

  • 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 ready to serve, add the remaining ingredients: arugula, cucumber, tomatoes, feta, and mint. Toss to combine. Serve cold or at room temperature.

Notes

  • TO STORE: Store leftover Israeli couscous salad in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to five days.

Nutrition

Serving: 1(of 4)Calories: 319kcalCarbohydrates: 42gFat: 13gSaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 5mgFiber: 13g

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Erin Clarke

Hi, I'm Erin Clarke, and I'm fearlessly dedicated to making healthy food that's affordable, easy-to-make, and best of all DELISH. I'm the author and recipe developer here at wellplated.com and of The Well Plated Cookbook. I adore both sweets and veggies, and I am on a mission to save you time and dishes. WELCOME!

Learn more about Erin

4.73 from 106 votes (66 ratings without comment)

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101 Comments

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  1. I’ve made this over and over and over. It never fails! I leave out the paprika, usually and halve the amount of dijon. I add salted pisatchios for extra crunch. So, so good!5 stars

  2. Lovely tasty recipe – yum. I added a bit of honey to the dressing and served the salad with honey mustard chicken. It was really easy to make.5 stars

  3. The smoked paprika ruined this. Made a double batch for a party took me hours to fix the taste to get rid of the smoked flavor. Added lots of lemon and garlic- much better…

    1. I’m sorry to hear this wasn’t to your taste Caroline. The ingredients and amounts have worked well for myself (and others) but I know how frustrating it can be to try a new recipe and not have it taste the way you like, so I really wish you would’ve enjoyed it!

    2. Yum! I had half a red onion in the fridge so I decided to add that and it’s perfect! Like others I also added a bit of extra lemon juice.5 stars

  4. A big improvement on my previous Israeli couscous recipe! Really tasty. (I did increase the lemon juice a little … we like it tangy at our house :)5 stars

  5. Absolutely love! Just remembered this recipe and can’t wait to make again. I subbed orzo for the Israeli couscous since I didn’t find any around and it turned out great :)5 stars

  6. Yum! I had a big container of pearl couscous but wasn’t sure how to use it. This makes for a fresh and delicious warm weather lunch and I expect I’ll make it multiple times this summer! Just one note that the couscous cooking time on the package instructions was much less than the recipe stated so I went with the package cooking time and it turned out great!5 stars

  7. Delightful, delicious, de-lovely! The smoked paprika dressing really does it for me. And knowing the right proportions of couscous-to-other ingredients helped vs. me making Israeli couscous salad by winging it (which I’ve done several times before). Will be a staple in our dinner repertoire. Lastly, because the dish has both starch and veggies, if served with a protein, you’re finished cooking. Ta-da!5 stars

    1. I’m sorry to hear the recipe wasn’t to your taste, Julie. I know it’s disappointing to try a new recipe and not enjoy it. I (and many other readers) have enjoyed it, so I really wish they would’ve been a hit for you too!

  8. I just made this recipe as a late lunch. It tastes divine! The lemon zest elevates the flavor and compliments the other veggies well. I omitted the feta cheese and added a tad more salt to balance it, you could add red onion for extra crunch and flavor. Yum!5 stars

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