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Couscous Salad

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This simple couscous salad is made with loads of fresh veggies, chickpeas, herbs, feta and a zesty lemon dressing. Feel free to add in some grilled meat or seafood if you’d like too.

Couscous Salad

There are many virtues I could point out about this simple, fresh and flavorful couscous salad. But the most notable one for me is this:

I genuinely get so excited to eat the leftovers the next day. ♡

As someone who doesn’t exactly love working my way through tuppers full of leftovers in our fridge, I have to say that this salad is so tasty that I typically make a double batch just to be sure that we have extras for the week ahead. It’s loaded up with many of the usual Mediterranean faves — tender couscous, crisp fresh veggies, chickpeas, sun-dried tomatoes, toasted pine nuts and tangy feta cheese. But the addition of loads of fresh mint and parsley really brighten it up, and the cumin-sumac-garlic lemon dressing and that brings everything together is perfection.

Feel free to add in an extra protein (such as chicken, shrimp or salmon) if you’d like, or sub in whatever other veggies, cheeses, or nuts you currently happen to have on hand. This is one of those recipes that’s endlessly flexible, so make it your own and enjoy, enjoy!

Making couscous

Couscous Salad Ingredients

Before we get to the full couscous salad recipe below, here are a few quick notes about the ingredients you will need:

  • Couscous: We’ll use basic couscous for this recipe, cooked on the stovetop with water and a hint of sea salt.
  • Chickpeas: You’re welcome to use a can of chickpeas or whatever other variety of beans that you happen to have on hand.
  • Veggies: I used a simple mix of diced English cucumber, red bell pepper, and red onion for this salad, but again, feel free to swap in any other salad-friendly veggies that you happen to have on hand.
  • Sun-dried tomatoes: I love the intense sweet-tart flavor of chopped sun-dried tomatoes in this salad, but you could swap in diced fresh tomatoes instead if you prefer.
  • Pine nuts: The buttery taste and crunch of toasted pine nuts works so well this salad, but roasted pepitas or toasted slivered almonds would also be delicious alternatives.
  • Fresh herbs: Please be generous with the fresh herbs here! I used a mix of fresh mint and parsley, but fresh basil or dill would also be great alternatives if you have some on hand.
  • Feta cheese: The tangy flavor of crumbled feta weaves beautifully into this salad.
  • Lemony vinaigrette: Finally, we will bring everything together with a simple lemony vinaigrette made with olive oil, freshly-squeezed lemon juice, ground cumin, ground sumac, garlic, salt and pepper.

Couscous Salad Ingredients in Bowl

Possible Variations

Here are a few additional ways that you’re welcome to customize this couscous salad to your liking:

  • Add a protein: Add some grilled chicken, beef, shrimp, salmon, scallops, or even canned tuna to the salad.
  • Add olives: Add your choice of olives to the salad.
  • Add tahini: Drizzle some tahini on top or mix a few tablespoons into the dressing.
  • Use a different grain/pasta/rice: Use an equal amount of quinoa, farro, rice, orzo, etc. in place of the couscous, cooked according to package instructions.
  • Use a different cheese: Use goat cheese or mozzarella pearls in place of the feta cheese.

Serving bowls of couscous salad

More Make-Ahead Salad Recipes

Looking for more simple make-ahead salad recipes to try? Here are a few of my faves:

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Couscous Salad

Couscous Salad

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 5 from 4 reviews
  • Author: Ali
  • Prep Time: 15 mins
  • Cook Time: 20 mins
  • Total Time: 35 mins
  • Yield: 6 to 8 servings 1x


This simple couscous salad is made with loads of fresh veggies, chickpeas, herbs, feta and a zesty lemon dressing. Feel free to add in some grilled meat or seafood if you’d like too.



Couscous Salad Ingredients:

  • 1 cup couscous
  • 1 cup water 
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 (15 ounce) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1 (12 ounce) English cucumber, seeded and diced
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, cored and diced
  • 1 small red onion, peeled and finely diced
  • 1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes in oil, drained and diced
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted
  • 1 cup (loosely-packed) chopped fresh herbs (I used 2/3 cup mint, 1/3 cup parsley)
  • 5 ounces feta cheese

Lemony Vinaigrette Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup freshly-squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons each: ground cumin and ground sumac
  • 1/2 teaspoon each: fine sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed


  1. Cook the couscous. Bring water and salt to a boil in a small saucepan. Stir in the couscous until combined, then turn off the heat, cover and let rest for 10 minutes or until tender. Uncover and gently fluff with a fork.
  2. Make the vinaigrette. Whisk all ingredients together in a bowl or shake together in a sealed jar until combined. 
  3. Toss the salad. Combine all of the salad ingredients in a large bowl and drizzle evenly with the vinaigrette. Toss until evenly combined.
  4. Season. Taste and season with extra salt, pepper and/or lemon juice if needed.
  5. Serve. Serve immediately or refrigerate in a sealed container for up to 3 days.

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9 comments on “Couscous Salad”

  1. Hi Ali, do you think I could sub apple cider vinegar for the lemon juice. I don’t have any on hand right now. This looks deelish!!
    Thank you!

  2. I didn’t have any couscous in the pantry, so I just made this with quinoa and various herbs from the garden and it was delicious!

  3. Hi Ali,

    What would you recommend as a substitute for ground sumac? Can’t wait to try this!


  4. On MilkStreettv they said that in Morocco they use a whisk to vigorously fluff couscous. I’m going to try it – you might do so too!

  5. Anything I can substitute for the sumac? Not sure I can find that here. Can’t wait to make this!

  6. This recipe looks amazing!!! I love all the fresh ingredients, especially the herbs and the lemon vinaigrette dressing!! This has been added to my meal plan for this week! Thanks, Ali!

  7. Made this with quinoa and chicken tonight. SO good! Such a good flavor combo. We loved it!

  8. Outstanding. I made this as written except for substituting goat cheese crumbles for the feta. I’m serving it with blackened tilapia for a dinner party tonight, if I can keep myself from eating it all before then. Thanks for the recipe!