Pearl Couscous Salad

I love a hearty salad and pearl couscous (also called Israeli) is just filling enough for a light lunch or side dish. I adapted this recipe from one by Well Plated. When I tried that recipe, I didn’t have any arugula on hand so I skipped it. I’m sure it would be delicious with it, but the salad was quite tasty without too. I also cut back the lemon from the original and reduced the cooking time to avoid a sticky mess in the bottom of the pot. Feel free to add more lemon, vegetables, or feta, to taste. My adapted version was a big hit in my household, but I will try the original once my arugula crop comes in this summer.

Pearl Couscous Salad

A refreshing and hearty salad, perfect for warmer days as a side or light lunch. Adapted from a Well Plated recipe.
Prep Time15 minutes
Cooling Time30 minutes
Course: Lunch, Side Dish
Keyword: Grains, Salads
Servings: 4 servings


  • 1 cup pearl couscous (also called Israeli)
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/3 English cucumber, sliced and quartered
  • 6-8 cherry or grape tomates, quartered or halved
  • 1/2 cup feta cheese, cubed
  • 1 tbsp fresh mint, finely chopped


  • Make dressing: to a small bowl or glass measuring cup add lemon zest and juice, olive oil, mustard, smoked paprika, salt, and pepper. Whisk until combined. Set aside.
  • Cook couscous according to package directions or follow these general steps: bring 1 1/4 cups of water to boil in a medium saucepan; add couscous, return to boiling, then cover and reduce heat to low; cook until water is absorbed, about 10-12 minutes, or longer, depending on the brand of couscous used. (See Notes, below.)
  • Remove couscous from heat, gently stir, then transfer to a large bowl with a lid. (The bowl needs room for the couscous and vegetables being added later.)
  • Whisk dressing again to combine, if needed, then add to the couscous while it is still warm. Toss gently to coat all the couscous with dressing. Place lid loosely on top of the bowl, then refrigerate until couscous has cooled, 20-30 minutes.
  • When the couscous has cooled, add the vegetables, feta, and mint. Toss to combine. Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a day. (See Notes, below.)


  • The original recipe advises cooking the couscous for 20 minutes, but I find that the brand I use (President's Choice Black Label) cooks in about 10-12. If you are cooking pearl couscous for the first time, keep a close eye on it to gauge the correct cooking time. Or, as suggested above, follow the directions on the package for the optimal cooking time.
  • The original recipe also says you can store this salad for up to five days in the fridge. I find that the vegetables degrade a lot in that time. I would recommend eating leftovers as soon as possible, for lunch or a side dish the next day. 

Couscous image: 135132177 © Jeneses Imre |

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