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Couscous Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette

Couscous Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette

Kristie Collado

Couscous Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette

Couscous, small round pieces of pasta made from a mixture of semolina flour and water, makes the perfect base for a cold salad. This recipe calls for red bell peppers, zucchini, feta cheese, and a lemon vinaigrette, but you could easily adapt this concept based on the ingredients you have on hand or your personal taste preference.

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  • 4 Cups cooked pearled couscous, cooled
  • Juice of 2 lemons
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Salt, to taste
  • Pepper, to taste
  • 4-5 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 zucchini, cut into ribbons or diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • Crumbled feta cheese, to taste
  • Fresh dill, to taste

Easy Couscous Salad with Lemon Dressing & Fresh Herbs

I’ve been devouring couscous salads at home since I was a kid. I can remember chopping up celery and apple into tiny bits and grabbing handfuls of mint from the garden to toss with fluffy couscous in a garlicky dressing and then eating it by the bowlfuls. It was probably one of the more “exotic” dishes I ate in my small-town Canadian 󈨞s upbringing.

I still make versions of it every summer, with whatever fresh fruits and veggies I have on hand. (Fresh peaches? YES.) The only trick is getting lots of flavours and textures in the mix. I like to include something sweet (usually fruit, whether it’s a fresh or dried), something with crunch (hi, celery), and something nutty (toasted almonds!) plus a few things with punch (onion, herbs, and/or garlic).

Lemon Vinaigrette & Couscous Salad

Couscous and vegetable salad with a classic lemon vinaigrette! This vinaigrette is incredibly simple and versatile! Toss it with greens or grains, or use as a marinade for chicken or fish.


  • ¼ cups Lemon Juice (or Preferred Citrus Juice)
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon Mustard
  • 1 teaspoon Honey
  • Salt And Pepper, to taste
  • ½ cups Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 cup Dry Whole Wheat Couscous (cooked To Package's Instructions)
  • 1 cup Vegetables Of Your Choice
  • 2 Tablespoons Parsley And/or Basil


In a small bowl whisk together your lemon juice, mustard, honey, salt and pepper. If you’d like to add additional flavorings like garlic or minced shallot, feel free to do so now! Add a couple teaspoons of olive oil to the juice mixture and whisk thoroughly. Adding a small amount of olive oil first will ease the dressing into emulsification, which will help it to stay together. Repeat. After two small installments of oil, while whisking, slowly pour the rest of the oil into the mixture. Whisk a little more once all the oil is incorporated, just for good measure.

Toss dressing with your favorite greens or grains, or use as a marinade for fish or chicken! In this case toss it with your couscous, vegetables and herbs for a couscous salad.

Cold Couscous Salad with Lemon Dressing

2 cups quick-cooking couscous
1 3/4 cup boiling water
2 cups romaine lettuce, sliced
1 cup diced, cored plum tomatoes
1/2 cup minced curly leaf parsley
1/3 cup thinly sliced green onions
1/4 cup chopped fresh dill
2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
2 ounces feta cheese

1/4 cup olive oil
1/3 cup lemon juice
1 tablespoon cold water
1 clove garlic, crushed (I think more is better)
1/2 teaspoon salt

Healthy Crunchy Couscous Salad Recipe

Everything you want in a summer salad. Crunchy, tangy, light, versatile and it whips up in minutes. Use what you have on hand for veggies and if you are feeling creative, mix it up in terms of ingredients and dressing. Paired here with a grilled lemon/rosemary chicken and some buttered and peppered corn.

I love a summer salad in the refrigerator, it is the gift that keeps on giving. Make it once, have it for days. I have posted recipes for rice salad, orzo salad, pasta salad and potato salad. Today we are doing a crunchy couscous salad and I am using everything I have in my own refrigerator and pantry. Waste not, want not.

If you've not used a lot of couscous, you need to get on it. Super simple, super tasty and cooks in minutes. It is a pantry must. Couscous is basically a semolina product -- not quite pasta, but little grains of semolina. There is also a "pearled" version that it a little larger which would work fantastically in this recipe. I just did not have any, so there.

  • 1 3/4 cups couscous
  • 2 cups broth or water
  • 1 TBSP. olive oil
  • Every crunchy veggie you have and/or like -- I used 1/2 cup each of red peppers, summer squash (raw), snow peas, and red onion (rinse under cold water before adding to the mix)
  • 1/2 cup of canned chick peas, rinsed
  • 1/4 cup of chopped pine nuts
  • 3 TBSP. chopped fresh parsley

Prepare the couscous per package directions, fluff with a fork and cool. Add your veggies, dress lightly with a vinaigrette and add the cheese right before serving. Perfection!

Prepare the couscous according to the package directions. I use roughly 1 3/4 cups of grain to 2 cups of liquid. Soooo easy to make! Boil liquid with a splash of olive oil, add couscous, take off heat and let sit for at least 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork and voila!

While the couscous cools, prep your veggies and beans. You can go so many ways here. I've used chopped snow peas, red pepper, summer squash and red onion, but if you had leftover grilled vegetables from the night before, that would be fantastic. Tomatoes and cucumber would also be great. I've used chickpeas, but any kind of bean would be good. Or you could leave them out. I add the veggies and the pine nuts to the cooled couscous. Now it's time to make the dressing. I'm going lemon vinaigrette, but I might splash a little red wine vinegar in there too.

  • 3 TBSP. olive oil
  • the zest and juice of two lemons
  • a splash of red wine vinegar
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 TBSP. fresh chopped parsley, chive, oregano, mint -- any combo
  • 1 clove finely minced garlic or shallot, for a milder flavor

Mix the dressing ingredients in a jar, shake vigorously, then add to the couscous and veggies. Toss and let them all get funky with themselves in the refrigerator for a bit.

The dressing gets added to the salad to marry for a bit in the refrigerator. Before serving I stir in a bit of parmesan (1/2 cup?) and then serve with some grilled chicken and fresh corn. Yum.

Right before serving, I add some cheese. Today is grated parmesan, but a crumbled feta would be great, coupled with some black olives, maybe? My people aren't big on the feta/olives combo, so I leave them out, but if this was just for me, they would be in there.

This salad makes a great side dish and a perfect lunch all by itself. Take it to the beach, you'll find it delicious and light! Put your own twist on it and enjoy.

Totally! Matter of fact, this is a cold couscous salad recipe!

The cranberries work beautifully in this salad and adds a nice pop of sweetness to the other savoury ingredients. However, golden raisins work great too!

I prefer to peel the zucchini in this recipe, but if you don&rsquot want to, don&rsquot.

Pine nuts are delicious, but they are also expensive. Feel free to sub in another nut, like sliced almonds.

Instead of parsley, try cilantro (or a combo of the two). A little fresh mint is great too!

Spring Couscous Salad with a Citrus Vinaigrette

A light and colorful couscous salad with an array of spring vegetables including asparagus, peas and shallots. A citrus vinaigrette, feta cheese and fresh orange give it added flavor and tang.


  • 1-½ cup Vegetable Broth
  • ¼ teaspoons Kosher Salt
  • 1-½ cup Couscous
  • 1 teaspoon Olive Oil
  • 1 whole Shallot, Finely Chopped
  • 1 bunch Asparagus, Cut On Diagonal
  • 1 cup Frozen Peas
  • 4 whole Oranges, Segmented
  • 4 ounces, weight Crumbled Feta Cheese
  • ¼ cups Orange Juice
  • 3 Tablespoons Seasoned Rice Wine Vinegar
  • ½ cups Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • ½ teaspoons Kosher Salt
  • Ground Pepper To Taste


Heat broth in a medium saucepan with salt. Once it is boiling, add couscous. Turn off heat and let sit. Set aside.

In a medium saucepan heat the olive oil. Add shallot and cook for 1 minute. Add asparagus and peas and cook 4-5 minutes or until vegetables have softened slightly. Set aside.

In a jar or plastic container, combine dressing ingredients. Cover and shake until emulsified.

Fluff couscous and put in a large bowl. Add vegetable mixture, orange segments and feta cheese. Stir until combined. Add dressing by 1/2 cups and stir thoroughly (after each 1/2 cup, test salad to see if it is dressed to your liking—I used 1 cup).

Serve warm or chill for 2 hours for a cold salad. Save any leftover dressing for other use or moistening the couscous the next day.

All By Itself

This recipe can be a wonderful low protein entrée all by itself! This low protein option is great for people with advanced kidney disease who need to follow a very low protein diet. I recommend increasing the portion to 2 cups to make sure you get enough energy.

Plant Based Meal

If you need some extra protein, top it with your favorite kind! For a plant based protein option, add a can of low sodium garbanzo or other type of bean.

Or, top it with some baked or pan-fried tofu. Boiled lentils would also be a tasty addition.

Couscous Salad with Za’atar Vinaigrette

Life is too short to eat boring salads. Is a garden salad with grilled chicken healthy? Of course. Does it get old after a few days? You betcha’!

If you’re stuck in a salad rut, I urge you to think outside of the bowl and get creative. Lettuce-based salads are a regular in our house but as the growing season winds down here in Michigan, I like to fill my salad bowl with heartier ingredients such as roasted beets, carrots, sweet potatoes, and whole grains.

Regardless of the month, I urge you to let the season guide your bowl to maximize flavor and health benefits. Here are a few of my favorite salads and homemade dressing recipes:

Today’s recipe contains za’atar, a Middle Eastern spice blend that contains thyme, oregano, sumac and toasted sesame seeds. Various versions are sold in Middle Eastern markets or online.

Lemon Vinaigrette Recipe Ingredients

This lemon vinaigrette dressing recipe is super simple to make. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Fresh lemon juice – To make it zippy and bright!
  • Extra-virgin olive oil – It gives the dressing body and richness.
  • Garlic – It adds a nice kick.
  • Dijon mustard – For tangy depth of flavor.
  • Honey or maple syrup – I list it as optional, but its sweetness perfectly balances the sharp garlic, lemon, and Dijon mustard.
  • Fresh or dried thyme – Again, it’s optional, but if you ask me, herbs make everything better. With its fresh, aromatic flavor, it adds something special to this lemon vinaigrette.
  • And salt and pepper – To make all the flavors pop!

When you’re ready to make the dressing, add the lemon juice, garlic, mustard, honey, salt, and pepper to a small bowl, and whisk to combine. Then, add the olive oil. As you’ll see in the recipe below, I make my lemon vinaigrette with varying amounts of oil. If I’m tossing it with raw greens and vegetables, I want it to have a mellower flavor. Then, I use 3 parts acid to 4 parts oil. If I’m dressing heartier ingredients like roasted vegetables or potatoes, I want it to taste sharper, so I use a 1:1 ratio. I recommend starting with a 1:1 ratio and adding more oil as needed.

As you pour in the oil, whisk continuously until the dressing is emulsified. Stir in the thyme, and season to taste with more oil, salt, and/or pepper. Enjoy!

Find the complete recipe with measurements below.

Okay guys, I did it. I concocted another delicious side dish recipe! This Israeli couscous salad features a refreshing flavor combination, with carrots, parsley and a tasty lemon oregano vinaigrette.

I got the idea for this couscous salad from J.Alexander’s, a national restaurant chain that happens to be one of my favorite lunchtime spots when I’m at our local mall. They have an amazing Israeli couscous side dish that is pretty much my favorite thing on the menu! I wanted to recreate a similar salad at home with a slightly different flavor combo.

That side dish at J.Alexander’s (and this recipe!) is a favorite because Israeli couscous is such a staple in my pasta repertoire. It has a highly interesting historical story too. In Israeli in the 1950’s, there was a high demand and low supply of rice. Originally called ptitim, Israeli couscous was developed during this time period because the prime minister asked the Osem food company to create a wheat-based rice substitute due to the rice supply issue. The company therefore developed ptitim, which came to be named Israeli couscous by the Western culinary world.

This pasta is made of wheat flour that is roasted in an oven in small ball shapes. It has a texture similar to pasta in the same way that orzo is a pasta and not a rice. This is part of the reason I love this ingredient so much: because it is incredibly adaptable. It can be used in a multitude of pasta dishes, but also can behave like rice, for example, in a risotto dish!

For this recipe, I wanted to develop a light pasta side dish. This is a pretty versatile recipe: it can be paired with a chicken or fish entree, or even beef or lamb! The flavor profile is refreshing, with fresh grated carrot, beautifully fragrant parsley, and tangy dried cranberries. The vinaigrette is a super quick standard vinaigrette amped up with the deliciousness that is dried oregano!

Now it’s your turn: let me know what you think of this recipe below, and also share with me your thoughts on Israeli couscous!