Summer Israeli Couscous Salad

Summer Couscous Salad

This summer couscous salads is a refreshingly light lunch or a fun side dish for any bbq meat. Freshly squeezed lemon juice and fresh mint are key for bright and flavorful salad. Lots of colorful vegetables add texture, and couscous makes this salad oh-so-satisfying and filling. A summer staple for sure!

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup pearl couscous (Note 1)
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt, more to taste
  • 1 english cucumber
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes
  • 5-6 sweet peppers, cored
  • ¼ cup virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (1 lemon)
  • 1-2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
  • 1 teaspoon Israeli za’atar
  • ¼ cup crumbled feta cheese

Directions:

  1. To cook couscous, in a small saucepan, bring 1.5 cups of water to a boil. Add couscous and salt and reduce the heat to simmer. Cover and continue to cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. When done, couscous is tender, but not mushy, and water is fully absorbed. Fluff cooked couscous with a fork and cool to room temperature.
  2. To prep the vegetables, slice the cucumber into half moons, or quarters. Slice the tomatoes in half and cut the sweet peppers into thin strips.
  3. To make the dressing, combine olive oil, lemon juice, chopped mint and za’atar in a small bowl, or 2-cup measuring cup.
  4. To toss the salad, combine cooled couscous, cucumber, tomatoes, sweet peppers, feta cheese and dressing. Mix well and serve. This salad is best served at room temperature, in my opinion, but can also be served chilled. Store the salad in the fridge.

Recipe Notes:

Note 1: Pearl couscous, aka Israeli couscous, is a small ball-shaped pasta the size of a black peppercorn. Don’t confuse with Moroccan couscous, tiny little grain-like pasta, which require a little different cooking method.

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One of my favorite summer staples!

Adding couscous to otherwise simple tomato cucumber salad makes the salad more interesting and filling. Plus, we added Israeli za’atar and fresh mint to carry on that little bit of Middle Eastern theme.

Also, crumbled feta cheese adds a touch of creaminess to this salad, making it such a rich medley of textures!

Freshly squeezed lemon juice and fresh mint are non-negotiable for bright and flavorful salad. So no bottle stuff, or dried (sad) mint leaves here. It makes all the difference!

How to serve this couscous salad?

You can serve this pearl couscous salad at room temperature or chilled. Either way is fine, but my personal preference is at room temperature.