Looking for a new salad to serve at the next informal gathering? Israeli couscous, also known as pearl couscous, is perfect to use as a salad base since it’s toasted before cooking and holds up well with dressing. (FYI: The familiar North African couscous is much finer and entirely different in both texture and taste.) Both types of couscous are considered pasta and made with semolina flour, but the cooking methods are different. The following Israeli Couscous & Vegetable Salad can be made two or three days ahead, and goes well with any type of grilled meat, chicken or fish. It is colorful and attractive, so it’s a good dish to take to a pot luck dinner or to serve at a backyard barbecue.
Israeli Couscous is available at most larger grocery stores; it comes in plain, whole wheat, and tri-colored varieties. The three can be used interchangeably in this unique and yummy salad. For a full-meal salad, add chunks of leftover cooked chicken breast, salmon, or shrimp.
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/3 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon sumac powder (good, but leave it out if you can’t find it – it can be ordered online)
2 tablespoons fresh mint, finely chopped or 2 teaspoons dried
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 cup Israeli (pearl) couscous
2 cups water
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup red onions, finely chopped
1 medium cucumber, peeled, quartered lengthwise, and sliced
1 red bell pepper, cut into small dice
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 small carrot, coarsely grated
1 cup crumbled feta cheese
1/2 cup dried cherries
- Dressing: Mix all ingredients well in a blender or jar; let sit for a while to blend flavors.
- Meanwhile, measure the couscous into a small skillet.
- Turn the heat to medium and let the couscous toast, shaking the skillet often, or stirring often.
- When the couscous is toasted to a golden brown, add the water - it will bubble up - and stir it; add the salt, cover the skillet, and turn the heat to low.
- Let cook 10-12 minutes or until the liquid is absorbed.
- Transfer the mixture to a serving bowl to cool.
- Add the remaining ingredients and enough of the dressing to moisten well.
- Cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours or up to 2 days to allow the flavors to blend.
Amount Per Serving
Calories 239 Calories from Fat 123
Percent Total Calories From: Fat 51% Protein 8% Carb. 41%
Nutrient Amount per Serving
Total Fat 14 g 21%
Saturated Fat 4 g
Cholesterol 13 mg
Sodium 597 mg
Total Carbohydrate 24 g
Dietary Fiber 1 g 2%
Sugars 2 g
Protein 5 g
Vitamin A 36% Vitamin C 43% Calcium 0% Iron 5%