This Mediterranean Couscous Salad is easy and healthy and ready in under 30 minutes! Tiny durum wheat semolina cooks on the stovetop then gets tossed with colorful vegetables, feta cheese, olives, garbanzo beans and served with a fresh lemon herb dressing. Great for a healthy meal on its own or a delicious side dish that packs a crunch!
Loaded with fresh mediterranean veggies, this salad will have you coming back for more time and time again. So let’s get into this easy, fresh salad that will be on your table in under 30 minutes!
This Mediterranean couscous salad strikes the perfect balance of phytonutrients and fiber-rich vegetables plus protein that makes this salad light yet satisfying. This vegetarian side dish celebrates the use of fresh and flavorful ingredients with each bite delivering a burst of flavor.
What Is Couscous?
Did you know that couscous is just small beads of pasta made from semolina? It’s very popular in places like Turkey, Greece, Spain, France, and lots of Arabic countries. Traditionally, it is served with meat and vegetable stew. It cooks very quickly, so it’s perfect for a hectic night when you want a quick and healthy dinner
If you cook couscous properly it’s very light and fluffy. Luckily, in most western supermarkets, couscous is instant, which means it’s been pre-steamed and dried. Otherwise there’s no science to cooking couscous, usually you just follow the package instructions, one cup of boiling water to 3/4 cup of couscous. You can also add some butter or olive oil to it and some salt. And really, that’s all there is to it.
Couscous has a lovely nuttiness and acts like little sponges, selfishly soaking up the citrus dressing for your benefit. It’s a wonderful solution when you’re needing a quick and light meal.
What ingredients do you add to couscous salad?
To infuse Mediterranean flavors, add a hearty amount of red bell pepper, red onion, cucumbers, ripe tomatoes, kalamata olives, and feta cheese. Freshly chopped herbs like mint, basil, and parsley add fragrant aromas, while dried oregano adds an earthy taste. Garbanzo beans or chickpeas add a source of vegetarian protein and creaminess.
How To Make Mediterranean Couscous Salad
Prepare the couscous: Follow the packaged instructions to prepare the couscous. Add the butter to the couscous when you’re preparing it. Let it cool.
Combine the dressing: In a small bowl or jar add all the dressing ingredients together and whisk well or if using a jar, close the lid and shake well, until thoroughly combined.
Assemble the salad: To a large bowl add the prepared couscous and fluff it up with a fork. Add the rest of the salad ingredients. Pour the prepared dressing over and toss everything well together. Garnish with extra mint and feta and serve!
The recipe makes just enough salad dressing to coat the components, but you can always double the amount if you would like to serve more on the side. If you have extra, a few slices of lemon to squeeze on top would be nice to serve at the table.
Mediterranean Couscous Salad
- 1 cup 170 g instant couscous
- 1 cup 240 ml water
- 2 tablespoons 30 ml extra-virgin olive oil
- ½ teaspoon 3 g kosher salt
- ½ cup 71 g diced english cucumber, seeds removed, ¼-inch dice
- ½ cup 81 g diced roma tomato, ¼-inch dice
- ½ cup 85 g canned garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
- ½ cup 73 g diced red bell pepper, ⅛-inch dice
- ¼ cup 32 g minced red onion
- 2 tablespoons 20 g feta cheese
- ½ cup 35 g kalamata olives, pitted and sliced
- 1 teaspoon chopped mint
- 1 teaspoon chopped parsley
- ¼ teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon chopped basil
- 2 tablespoons 30 ml lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 1 tablespoon 15 ml red wine vinegar
- 3 tablespoons 45 ml extra-virgin olive oil
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- Bring water, salt, and olive oil to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add couscous and stir quickly. Turn off the heat and cover.
- Let couscous stand until tender, 5 minutes and then fluff with a fork and let cool.
- Combine couscous, tomatoes, cucumber, bell pepper, garbanzo beans, red onion, olives, cheese, parsley, mint, basil, and oregano in a medium bowl.
- Whisk together lemon zest, lemon juice, vinegar, salt, and pepper in a small bowl. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil and whisk until a thickened dressing forms.
- Pour dressing over the couscous salad, stir to combine.