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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. 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

  21. This was amazing. I couldn’t find the whole wheat couscous, so I used standard Israeli couscous and cooked it according to the package directions (It called for 2-1/4 cups of water for 2 cups of couscous and took about 8 minutes to fully cook). I loved the step adding the dressing to the warm couscous. It absorbed beautifully and didn’t leave a soupy mess in the bottom of the bowl. This will be a go-to for sure.5 stars

  22. I never leave reviews. I usually just come here to see what other people say, but had to leave one!

    Since finding this recipe we have made it at least once a week! Plus, have made it to take to take to a 4th of July get-together, and have taken it to share with colleagues. It’s SO delicious.5 stars

  23. I want to make the cous cous the day before i serve it. Should I add the dressing before refrigerating it, or can I add the dressing and other ingredients the day I serve it? Wondering if adding the dressing while cous cous is warm will result in nicer flavour? Also are the measurements accurate for the cous cous and water ratio? I don’t want it to stick to pot…thanks!!

    1. Hi Simone! Most of these question I did cover in the blog post. You can cook the couscous one day in advance and then add the dressing later. You can add the dressing immediately and serve warm. Or you can serve this cold, which is what I did for this salad. My measurements are accurate and I test my recipes multiple times before you see them here. Hope this helps!

  24. Love this so much. I make it all the time and my picky kids actually eat this minus the tomatoes. I’m so happy that we can all eat this.5 stars

  25. Absolutely awful dressing. Too much dijon, too much lemon. Leave out the paprika as it turns the couscous and feta a weird orange color. I didn’t have fresh mint but I doubt that would have made a vast improvement. I used dried oregano and basil and cut the salt in half to account for the saltiness in the feta. It was so awful I went back and read the recipe because I thought that I had made a mistake. Would I make this again? Yes I would, but just make a lemon, olive oil dressing with a smaller amount of mustard and add a small clove of garlic (or to your liking). I salvaged this by adding more olive oil to kill off the weird bitter taste (no it wasn’t the zest, I know how to zest a lemon). Served it the next day on lettuce since I had so much of it in the fridge and I didn’t want to buy arugula.1 star

    1. I’m sorry to hear this wasn’t what you hoped for, Liz. Many other readers have tried it and loved it, but I know everyone has different tastes. I truly wish you would have loved it!

  26. To be honest, I didn’t realize how strong smoked paprika would be and I could barely eat the salad. So sad, considering I doubled the recipe based on how good the reviews were.

  27. This recipe is a 10/10!! So so yummy!!! It has a great flavor and feels light, fresh and healthy. Total win. Thanks!!5 stars

  28. I’ve been making this recipe every summer for the past few years and it fails to disappoint. I love the texture of the crunchy cucumbers which balances out the soft couscous and gushy tomatoes. The feta cheese adds a nice creamy taste and the mint is subtle. Really great recipe!5 stars

  29. I used this and a different recipe, but the dressing for this is wonderful! I wish I had seen this recipe before I headed down the road for the other. I would have liked to add the dressing to the warm couscous, but since I started this using the other recipe, I did not. Still, the dressing works great added at the end. I will need to eat this over a few days, so I plan to keep the dressing separate and add it for each time I eat it. My smoked paprika is fairly subtle, but it still adds a nice flavor dimension. I plan to try more of your recipes. Thank you for a winner!5 stars

    1. Hi Gerry! I’m sorry to hear you couldn’t find the amount of the ingredient. It was listed as the 4th ingredient in the recipe card. Could you double check for me that you see it? Thanks!

  30. 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

  31. 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

  32. 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

  33. 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

  34. 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

  35. 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

  36. 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!

  37. 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