Israeli Couscous Salad
Israeli couscous salad is packed with raw vegetables and cooked pearl couscous also known as Israeli couscous and chickpeas. With lots of fresh herbs and tossed with simple lemon dressing this salad is perfect salad for hot days, great for picnic and potlucks.
Servings: 6 servings
- 1 cup pearl couscous
- ¼ cup cooked chickpeas (can use canned chickpeas too)
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 2 tablespoon onion finely chopped
- 1 ½ tablespoon EVOO
- 1 ½ cups water or stock use vegetable stock for vegetarian option
- 8 oz cherry tomatoes halved
- 2 small cucumbers diced
- ¼ red onion diced
- 1 cup baby spinach finely sliced
- ½ cup chopped parsley or cilantro, chopped
- ½ cup fresh mint chopped
- 3 stalks of green onions chopped fine
- 1 jalapenos chopped fine (reduce it to half if you don’t want too spicy and remove seeds)
For Lemon Salad Dressing-
- ⅓ cups EVOO use best quality
- 1 lemon zest
- 1 lemon juice freshly squeezed
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon crushed pepper
I love to cook chickpeas rather than using canned stuff. I prepped it previous night by soaking dried chickpeas overnight and cooked it in pressure cooker next morning for 20 minutes. Skip this step if you use canned chickpeas. Drain chickpeas from the liquid and rinse it once in colander before using.
Before you toss the salad together, you need to cook couscous first.
To Cook Couscous:
In a large pot, heat EVOO(use the best quality). Saute minced garlic and onions for 2 minutes, sautéing at regular intervals.
Once onions begin to sweat, add in pearl couscous.
Pour water or stock (use vegetable stock for vegetarian option), still for 30 seconds.
When water begin to boil, reduce heat to medium low. Cover pot with the lid and let it cook for 8 to 10 minutes.
Couscous should be light and fluffy.
Open the lid, fluff it with fork gently. Keep it aside to cool.
Make Salad Dressing:
While couscous cools down, we can make the salad dressing. Into a jar, pour EVOO (use best quality), lemon zest, lemon juice, mustard, salt and pepper. Shake well.
Into a large salad bowl, add cooked couscous. Add in rest of the salad ingredients – halved cherry tomatoes, chopped cucumbers, red onions, roughly chopped baby spinach, cooked (or canned) chickpeas, chopped fresh herbs (cilantro or parsley and fresh mint), chopped green onions, chopped jalapenos (leave the seeds on if you like it hot).
Pour salad dressing over it. Gently toss the salad until well combined.
Serve the salad immediately for the side dish.
Nutritional Info – Please keep in mind that nutritional information provided is only a rough estimate and can vary greatly based on products used.
- Perfectly Cooked Couscous- This recipe calls for pearl couscous. Ensure to cook it perfect, every bead separated, light and fluffy. What works for me is 1 cup couscous cooked in 1 ½ cup (not 2 cups) liquid. Gummy, soft or overcooked couscous will ruin the salad.
- Do Not Prep Ahead - To make life easy, many times we do prep work ahead of time. Not for this salad. Chopping tomatoes and cucumbers and storing it in the fridge overnight or few days may not be great idea. Resist the temptation of prepping ahead. Chop the veggies just before you make the salad. It’ll have that wonderful freshness and crunch intact in it.
- Best Quality EVOO – Salad dressing is flavor enhancer for the dish. Using the best quality EVOO will make the salad taste it’s best.
- Cook Your Chickpeas- Though you can use canned chickpeas, cooking your own chickpeas from scratch gives better tasting chickpeas, hence better tasting salad. Chickpeas cooked at home are perfect in texture, holds it shape, tastes richer and creamier.
- Serve It Same Day After Few Hours – Once you toss the salad and dressing together, leave the salad at room temperature for few hours. Couscous will soak in all the flavors from the dressing. Salad tastes better after few hours the same day.
Calories: 291kcal | Carbohydrates: 31g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Sodium: 226mg | Potassium: 386mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 1391IU | Vitamin C: 29mg | Calcium: 57mg | Iron: 2mg