Updated: 23rd May 2024. This Mediterranean Couscous Salad recipe bursts with versatility! It’s a quick and easy side dish that can be enjoyed warm, at room temperature, or even chilled. All the flavors of the Mediterranean with color and flavor in one easy dish.  Mixed with a bright lemon dressing  and a drizzle of good extra virgin olive oil.

A closeup of pear couscous with olives, mint and sun-dried tomatoes

Kalamata olives add a salty pop, sweet cherry or grape tomatoes burst with freshness, roasted red peppers bring a smoky touch, sun-dried tomatoes lend a concentrated depth, crunchy almonds and fresh basil ties it all together, transforming plain couscous your new favorite spring and summer salad.

Small grains of couscous on a white background

What is Couscous?

Couscous, a versatile pasta made from durum wheat, comes in a few varieties. The most common is Moroccan couscous (pictured above) that are tiny, irregular grains that cook quickly. This recipe features Israeli couscous (also known as pearl couscous), larger round balls that hold their shape beautifully.

The Mediterranean way of eating is one of my favorites and this simple salad has everything and more. There’s a symphony of flavors going on here using all fresh ingredients that are already prepared for you.

A bowl of olives, sun-dried tomatoes, almonds, feta cheese, mint and tomatoes

Ingredients for Mediterranean Couscous Salad

  • Pearl/Israeli Couscous
  • Kalamata Olives
  • Roasted red bell peppers
  • Sun-dried Tomatoes
  • Fresh Mint
  • Tomatoes
  • Feta Cheese
  • Toasted Slivered Almonds

Optional Additions:

Chopped red onion, additional fresh herbs (dill, parsley), fresh veggies, crisp cucumber, pine nuts, artichoke hearts, white beans, goat cheese.

Mediterranean couscous salad view from overhead

The type of couscous pearl couscous (also known as Israeli couscous) for this recipe, because the larger size holds up well to the colorful ingredients which has whole grains. If you can’t find the larger couscous, regular couscous will also work.

Pouring vegetable stock into a pan of couscous

How to Flavor Couscous

Couscous, like rice and pasta, can be a flavor blank canvas. To elevate it, I use two tricks: toasting and broth. First, I toast the pearl couscous (Israeli couscous) in a saucepan with a drizzle of oil for a delightful nutty depth. Then, I cook it in vegetable broth instead of water, so add the couscous cooks, it absorbs the broth for great flavor.

Spring and Summer Tomatoes

You can’t use the wrong tomatoes for this recipe. I love the sweet bite of cherry tomatoes, but by all means use any of your favorite juicy tomatoes.

A colorful bowl of couscous with skewers of shrimp in background

Leftover Couscous Salad

This will keep in an airtight container, refrigerated for up to 4 days.

Couscous Side Salad Serving Suggestions

I like to serve this with Grilled Shrimp or Chicken

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Yield: 6

Mediterranean Couscous Salad

A round white bowl of large couscous

The perfect barbecue side dish. Mediterranean couscous salad is a quick and easy side dish that is so versatile it can be eaten warm, room temperature or even cold.

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 12 minutes
Total Time 27 minutes

Ingredients

  • For the dressing:
  • ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
  • ¾ cup good olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • For the salad:
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cups (307 grams) pearl/Israeli couscous
  • 2 ¼ cups (532 ml) vegetable broth, hot
  • ½ teaspoon salt, or to taste because there is salt in the broth
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup (70 grams) kalamata olives, pitted and sliced
  • 1 cup (160 grams) roasted red peppers, cut into small strips
  • 1 cup (140 grams) sun-dried tomatoes
  • 1 cup/4 ounces (120 grams) tomatoes cut into bite-size pieces
  • ½ cup (80 grams) feta cheese, crumbled
  • ½ cup (65 grams) toasted slivered almonds * see note
  • 4 tablespoons fresh mint, chopped

Instructions

  1. For the dressing:
    To a bowl add the lemon juice. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil while whisking. Add salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
  2. For the salad:
    To a large saucepan add the broth and couscous. Bring to a light boil, cover Reduce heat to medium low, cover and simmer for 12 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. Transfer to a large bowl until slightly cooled.
  3. When the couscous is cooled, add the olives, peppers, sun-dried tomatoes, tomatoes, cheese, almond and mint. Drizzle half of the dressing over and mix well. Taste for seasoning add more salt and pepper if needed and add more dressing according to taste.

Notes

* To toast the almonds, preheat the oven to 350°F/175°C. Spread the almonds onto a baking sheet and toast for 8 minutes until they start to turn golden.

Nutrition Information

Yield

6

Serving Size

1

Amount Per Serving Calories 468Total Fat 39gSaturated Fat 6gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 31gCholesterol 4mgSodium 455mgCarbohydrates 27gFiber 4gSugar 8gProtein 7g

This nutrition calculation is provided by Nutronix that is only a guideline and not intended for any particular diet.