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

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Not only is it delicious, but this Israeli 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.

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?

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.

Israeli couscous is healthy, and the pearls nestle into every forkful. It’s not overly chewy and allows the other ingredients to shine.

Israeli Couscous vs. Regular Couscous

What is the difference between Israeli couscous and regular couscous?

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

How to Cook Israeli Couscous Salad

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.


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.

Serving Tip!

If you’d prefer this as a hot Israeli couscous recipe, you could serve it warm instead (or give my Moroccan Couscous recipe a try).

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.

The Best Saucepan

A high-quality, durable saucepan like this one is a must-have in every kitchen. You’ll use it on repeat!

bowl of Israeli pearl couscous salad with a serving spoon in it

Did you make this recipe?

Let me know what you thought!

Leave a rating below in the comments and let me know how you liked the recipe.

bowl of Israeli pearl couscous salad with a serving spoon in it

Israeli Couscous Salad

4.96 from 21 votes
Israeli couscous salad with feta, summer vegetables, and lively lemon dressing. Simple, healthy, and perfect for light meals and sides.

Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 20 mins
Total: 35 mins

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 ¼ 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!

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55 Comments

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  1. Oh wow, awesome balance of flavors in that salad. I have never cooked with that pearl couscous but I would love to give it a try. Thanks for sharing (:

  2. I am totally going to make this AND maybe even branch out and add the canned tuna like you suggested. I am looking to spice up my always-salad lunches, and this looks amazing.

  3. This looks so good! I love the feta and mint combo!! Smoked paprika is one of my favorite spices as well!! Saving this for later!!

    1. Susan, I’m so glad to hear the recipe was a hit! Thanks so much for taking the time to stop by and leave this lovely review!

  4. I made the couscous salad last night and it was delicious! The mint really makes it special. Thank you for the recipe!5 stars

    1. Thanks so much for giving the recipe a try and taking the time to report back, Juliet! I’m so glad you enjoyed it.

  5. This is so good, and perfectly satisfying. I made it last week and plan to do so again tonight – possibly with equal parts quinoa and israeli couscous. I love anything with the feta/mint/lemon combo, and it’s an especially great, light taste sensation when the weather is as gross, sticky and warm as it is now:) Thanks!5 stars

    1. Olivia, thanks so much for taking the time to leave this wonderful review! I’m so happy to hear you enjoyed the salad.

  6. This salad was delicious, Erin!  We served it with Coho salmon.  Wonderful!  And I could see doing it with other proteins as well.  Thank you!5 stars

    1. YAY!!! I’m so so happy to hear that Sarah, and the salmon sounds DELISH. Thanks for trying the recipe and taking time to leave this wonderful review!

  7. I love this salad and have made it many times. I add roasted pistachios. My daughter, a 13 year old fairly picky vegetarian, told me to have this on rotation “at least once a week.” So it’s a winner! There is something so fresh about the mint and arugula together. Chopping them together keeps the arugula tender. I’ve also switched out the couscous for tuna and it was fabulous. Or you could do both. You can add any veggies you want.5 stars

    1. Liz, I’m thrilled to hear this recipe has become a go-to! Thanks so much for taking the time to leave this wonderful review!

  8. I’m planning on making this for a pot luck, can it be made ahead of time or should I wait to put the dressing on right before serving?
    Thanks!
    Looks delicious!

    1. Hi Jude! I think you can addd the dressing an hour or two before serving and it would taste even more delicious. I hope you all enjoy it!

  9. This looks so awesome, wondering if I made it with quinoa instead of couscous it would still work?? Thanks so much!!

    1. Hi Kristen, the salad would be a little different, but yes, you could give quinoa a try! Just follow the cooking instructions on your quinoa package and proceed from there!

  10. Fantastic recipe.  I served it with Barramundi (an Australian fish) and it was amazing.  I went a bit lighter on the lemon (about half what was in the recipe) and it suited our taste perfectly.  Thanks so much for the recipe.5 stars

  11. This is my all time favourite 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. I use one packet of pearl cous cous and probably more feta than I should, and I sometimes prefer without the rocket :)5 stars

  12. Made this for a potluck and everyone wanted the recipe.  The only change I wade was to add 1/4 cup finely chopped red onion to the dressing.5 stars

  13. This recipe is so perfect! I made it for my extended family, most of whom rarely venture beyond meat and potatoes. But it looked so lovely, almost everyone tried it, and those who did, loved it. Thank you for sharing this!5 stars

  14. I made this early on a Monday morning so I could it bring it to work for lunch during the week. I loved the recipe and it lasted for three days and was as delicious on Day Three as it was the first. On Day Two, I threw in some capers and kalamata olives. It was delicious both ways! The smoked paprika was magic. I found this recipe on thefoodisle.com!!5 stars

    1. I’m so happy to hear that this recipe was a hit, Sandie! Thank you for taking the time to share this kind review!

  15. Really tasty i bumped it up by adding garlic paste to dressing and some basil i had along with the mint but the instructions for cooking the couscous left approx 1/3 of it stuck to the pan i think it should be cooked in more water and drain. I also added some garbonzo beans for more protien punch.5 stars

    1. Delicious and easy. I made as a side to salmon, and it was delicious. Like Kelli, though, I lost a lot of the couscous to the bottom of the pan. Next time I will cook in more water and drain, if necessary.4 stars

  16. Thank you for the recipe! Going home to make it tonight. My local grocery store sometimes has this in the deli and I’M OBSESSED! However, they haven’t had it the past few weeks so thank you for helping me get my fix. I love the texture of the couscous.5 stars

    1. I never take the time to leave comments on things but this is SO FREAKING GOOD. It’s the first of your recipes I’ve tried, and I ate close to two servings at each meal ?. If I LOVE this, what else should I try that has a similar light, happy, summary vibe?5 stars

      1. I’m so happy that you enjoyed it, Maryam! Thank you for sharing this kind review! I recommend checking out all my Summer recipes for more delicious ideas.

  17. Amazing! This is my go to dish when I have people over and when I go to people’s houses! It’s amazing. I put less salt in though, 1 teaspoon (for me) is too much, I only put 1/2 tsp in.5 stars

    1. I’m so happy that you’ve enjoyed the recipe, Dani! Thank you for sharing this kind review!

  18. I found this recipe about four years ago when I was looking for a recipe with pearl couscous. It was my first ever Well Plated recipe, and I’ve made many others since. I love this salad and make it regularly through the summer. The dressing is so good as is the combination of all the other flavours. I like adding chickpeas. Also, I often reserve some of the dressing to add to leftovers as the couscous tends to dry out in the fridge.5 stars

  19. This recipe is a keeper. Easy, wonderful, fresh, and tasty. The key here is to use the freshest ingredients you can buy. I thought the mint would overpower the dish and left it out. I put the slightly warmed couscous w/ ingredients over the arugula. The leaves absorbed some of the flavor adding an extra nice touch.5 stars

  20. I just made this and ate my first serving. It is good! I used a turmeric pearl couscous because someone left that at my house a couple years (!) ago and I never knew what to do with it–it seems to work well in this recipe. And I used a spicy mustard that I made while back instead of Dijon, which I don’t have. Thanks for the recipe!5 stars