This Israeli Couscous Salad recipe is full of healthy grilled vegetables and fresh herbs tossed in a flavorful homemade lemon vinaigrette. This Israeli couscous recipe is perfect for picnics, potlucks, hot summer dinners and lunches.
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I absolutely love Israeli couscous. The soft chewy texture and slippery smooth surface of this pearled pasta is quite unique and offers the perfect canvas for all kinds of additions. From veggies – to cheese – to meats.
This tasty Israeli couscous salad recipe is super versatile. It can be served as a side dish or as a main dish. I don’t know about you, but I’d never say no to a bowl of tiny round pearl pasta loaded with balsamic marinated grilled vegetables, fresh herbs and the most fabulous citrus vinaigrette. No matter what time of the day it is, a simple and nutritious pasta salad is always welcome in my world.
Israeli Couscous Recipe Ingredients
One of the best things about this easy salad is that you can use any seasonal ingredients you may have at home. If you take a trip to your local farmer’s market, pick the freshest produce available.
The Grilled Vegetables
Grilling veggies enhances their flavor and brings out their natural sweetness. My favorite veggies for grilling are bell peppers in any color, zucchini, yellow squash, onions and asparagus. Eggplants and corn are also great vegetables to cook on the grill.
If you don’t feel like getting the grill heated up, use fresh raw veggies. Ripe juicy tomatoes, cucumbers and artichoke hearts are all great options.
What Is Pearl Couscous?
Pearl couscous is a type of whole grain pasta made from semolina. It was developed in Israel around the 1950’s when rice was scarce. This tiny round pasta resembles small beads or pearls. It’s also known as Jerusalem couscous, Israeli couscous, giant couscous and pearled couscous.
The Simple Citrus Vinaigrette
The salad dressing or vinaigrette ties all the flavors of this cous cous salad together. It also adds freshness and brightness to the pasta. This simple homemade citrus vinaigrette is made with just a handful of ingredients and can be whipped up in a few minutes.
How To Cook Pearl Couscous
Unlike it’s cousin regular couscous, Israeli couscous needs to be cooked just like regular pasta. Pearled couscous has a mild nutty flavor. To enhance that flavor, I toast the couscous in a little bit of olive oil before adding any liquid.
For additional flavor, I like to simmer the couscous in broth instead of water. Vegetable broth or chicken broth are usually the ones I use.
Yes! This salad can be made ahead. It actually tastes better when it sits for a few hours in the fridge. This pearl couscous salad can be kept in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.
Israeli or pearled couscous is a pasta made of semolina mixed with water.
Israeli Couscous Recipe Tips
- Don’t skip toasting the couscous in oil before simmering it.
- Season the salad to your taste with salt and ground black pepper.
- I like to toss the Israeli couscous salad with the citrus vinaigrette while the couscous is still warm. This allows the pasta to soak up the flavors from the vinaigrette better.
- This couscous salad with vegetables can be served warm or cold.
Wondering What To Serve with Israeli Couscous Salad? Here are some ideas:
- Grilled Chicken with the Best Balsamic Vinaigrette
- Baked Pork Chops
- Instant Pot Whole Chicken (Rotisserie Chicken)
- London Broil Recipe
- Grilled Steak with Chimichurri
Take A Look At These Other Salad Recipes:
- German Potato Salad
- Pesto Pasta Salad
- Mexican Street Corn Pasta Salad
- Tuna Pasta Salad (Mediterranean style)
Follow me on social media for more recipe ideas & inspiration!
Israeli Couscous Salad with Grilled Vegetables
For the Grilled Vegetables and Couscous
- 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 2 cups Israeli couscous
- 1 1/2 cups vegetable broth or chicken broth (you can also use water)
- 1 red bell pepper, cored and quartered
- 1 orange bell pepper, cored and quartered
- 1 zucchini or yellow squash, sliced lengthwise into planks
- 1 small onion, cut in half
- 1 bunch (1-pound) asparagus, trimmed
- 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 tablespoon fresh mint, chopped
- 1 tablespoon fresh basil, chopped
To Make the Vinaigrette
- In a small bowl or lidded jar, whisk together the lemon juice, olive oil, Dijon mustard, salt and pepper. Reserve until needed.
To Make the Couscous Salad
- Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the Israeli couscous and toast stirring frequently until lightly golden brown. Add 1 1/2 cups of broth and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for about 10 minutes or until all the liquid is absorbed. Uncover and fluff the couscous with a fork. Set aside
- Place all the vegetables in a container (I use a sheet pan). Drizzle the veggies with the remaining olive oil and the balsamic vinegar. Season with salt and pepper to taste and mix until all the vegetables are coated. Set aside while heating the grill.
- Heat a grill or grill pan to medium-high heat.
- Working in batches, grill the vegetables until tender and lightly charred. The bell peppers and onions take about 8-10 minutes. The zucchini and yellow squash take about 7 minutes. The asparagus takes about 4-5 minutes. Remove the vegetables from the grill and when cool enough to handle, cut them into 1-inch pieces.
- In a medium bowl mix the grilled vegetables with the Israeli couscous. Toss with the vinaigrette. Add the fresh mint and basil and toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste.