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Israeli Couscous Salad with Lemon Dressing

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Israeli Couscous Salad with Lemon Dressing is a make ahead salad or one that you can refrigerate for later.  This makes a great addition to a dinner, lunch or a summer BBQ or picnic.  The warm couscous is mixed with vegetables, dried cranberries, raisins and a light lemon dressing.

Israeli Couscous Salad with Lemon Dressing

I started using couscous a lot in side dishes and salads recently. Somehow it fell off my radar and I have been using more rice in my sides and orzo in my sides and salads.  Couscous is a great base to use for sides and salads and adds a nice texture.  An added bonus is that my kids have fallen in love with it and gobble it up. Israeli Couscous Salad with Lemon Dressing was inspired by a lunch date that Drew and I had with Mike a few weeks ago.  The restaurant we met at had a great Israeli Couscous Salad loaded with vegetables and dried fruit. I fell in love with the flavors and so did Drew so I immediately added it to my ever growing recipe to do list.

Israeli Couscous Salad with Lemon Dressing

Once I created this recipe I started a long list of variations that I could do using Israeli Couscous. The options are endless when it comes to vegetable combinations, adding in cheese, nuts and different dressings.  Stay tuned for more of these salad recipes  because I am on a couscous kick.

Israeli Couscous Salad with Lemon Dressing

Israeli Couscous Salad with Lemon Dressing is a warm salad but can also be refrigerated before eating.  I like adding the warm couscous to the vegetables and dried fruit to help soften it slightly.  The couscous pairs nicely with the crunchy cucumber, zucchini, red pepper and onion and then have an added sweetness from the dried cranberries and raisins.  The fresh parsley and mint along with the lemon dressing is light and flavorful.

I made a huge batch of this salad and ate it all week for lunches and alongside dinners.  Drew loves to eat this salad as well which is nice because he gets a dose of vegetables, fresh herbs and if I use whole wheat couscous he gets his whole grains. A happy Mama right here.

Israeli Couscous Salad with Lemon Dressing

Israeli Couscous Salad with Lemon Dressing

Israeli Couscous Salad with Lemon Dressing

Yield: 8
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

Israeli Couscous Salad with Lemon Dressing is a make ahead salad or one that you can refrigerate for later. This makes a great addition to a dinner, lunch or a summer BBQ or picnic. The warm couscous is mixed with vegetables, dried cranberries, raisins and a light lemon dressing.

Ingredients

For the salad:

  • 1 1/2 cup Israeli Couscous {I bought the Trader Joes brand}
  • 1 3/4 cups vegetable broth {you can use chicken broth or water}
  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 1 small zucchini, chopped
  • 4 green onions, chopped
  • 1/2 english cucumber, seeds removed, chopped
  • 1/4 sweet onion, chopped
  • 1 red pepper {or pepper of your choice}, seeds removed and chopped
  • 1/4 cup mint, freshly chopped
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped

For the dressing:

  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • Salt and pepper to taste

For the garnishes:

  • Extra fresh parsley
  • Lemon zest

Instructions

  1. In a medium pot heat the butter over medium heat until melted. Add the couscous and stir until it begins to brown slightly. Add the vegetable broth {or chicken broth or water} and 1/2 teaspoon salt and bring to a boil. Cover and turn down the heat to low and simmer until the liquid is gone and the couscous is tender {it took me about 9 minutes for the couscous to be done}.
  2. While the couscous is cooking combine the dried cranberries, raisins zucchini, green onions, english cucumber, sweet onion, red pepper, mint and fresh parsley in a large mixing bowl and set aside.
  3. In a small bowl whisk together the lemon juice, olive oil, minced garlic cloves and salt and pepper to taste and set aside.
  4. Once the couscous is done cooking add it to the vegetables and mix until combined. Add the lemon dressing and stir until the couscous is fully covered in the dressing.
  5. Serve warm or you can refrigerate for an hour before serving and garnish with more fresh parsley and lemon zest {optional}.
  6. Store in an airtight container.

Notes

The cook time and the amount of liquid may vary depending on the Israeli couscous you buy so make sure to read the package.
I like to add the couscous to the vegetables when it is warm because it helps to slightly soften the vegetables and the dried cranberries.

Other ideas to add:
Chopped tomatoes or cherry tomatoes
Feta cheese
Pine nuts or other nuts
Goat cheese
Fresh basil

Israeli Couscous Salad with lemon Dressing

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[…] herbs growing in your garden. I also love using pearl couscous in side dishes and salads like this Israeli Couscous Salad with Lemon Dressing or this Mediterranean Grilled Vegetable […]

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[…] those are good options, my favorite way to use couscous is in salads. ┬áIt works really well because it doesn’t overpower the rest of your salad ingredients and […]

Stefanie @ Sarcastic Cooking

Tuesday 14th of April 2015

I feel like these classic ingredients can pretty much go together in anything and be awesome. Keep the couscous coming!

Julia

Tuesday 14th of April 2015

I would have to agree Stefanie! I love couscous so don't worry--there is more to come!

Karen @ The Food Charlatan

Tuesday 14th of April 2015

I love that this salad is served warm! I'm a sucker for couscous. This looks like the perfect BBQ side dish to me!

Julia

Tuesday 14th of April 2015

This would make a perfect BBQ side dish! Thanks Karen.

Erika Madden

Tuesday 14th of April 2015

This looks absolutely amazing. I love all the flavors in here; can't wait to make it myself!

Julia

Tuesday 14th of April 2015

Thanks Erika! I hope you get a chance to try it out. We love it around here

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