Unlike the granular couscous that you soak in boiling water and fluff with a fork, Israeli couscous gets toasted a bit in the pan with butter or olive oil first, then simmered in water until cooked. That initial toast gives the couscous a nutty, deeper flavor.
Print

Israeli Couscous Salad Recipe

This recipe for Israeli Couscous Salad welcomes any changes you feel like making to it, but I make mine with toasted walnuts, feta, mint, peppery arugula, and quick pickled shallots; every forkful is fresh and fantastic. It's really tempting to eat the whole bowl in one sitting.
Course Main Course, Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine Israeli
Keyword couscous, salad
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 6 servings
Calories 457kcal
Author Meggan Hill

Ingredients

For the pickled shallots:

  • 1/3 cup red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 shallots thinly sliced

For the couscous:

  • 2 cups Israeli couscous (about 10 ounces)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt

For the salad:

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes optional
  • 4 ounces baby arugula roughly chopped
  • 1 cup fresh mint leaves roughly chopped
  • 4 ounces crumbled feta cheese
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas thawed
  • 1/2 cup California walnuts toasted and chopped (see notes), plus more for garnish

Instructions

To make the pickled shallots:

  • In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, bring vinegar, sugar, and a pinch of salt to simmer, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Stir in shallots.
  • Cover and cool completely, about 30 minutes. Drain well and discard marinade. 

To make the couscous:

  • In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine couscous and oil. Cook the couscous until lightly browned, about 5 to 6 minutes. 
  • Stir in water and salt and bring to boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer until water is absorbed, stirring occasionally, about 9 to 12 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand, covered, for 3 minutes. 
  • Transfer to a rimmed baking sheet and spread in a single layer. Cool completely, about 15 minutes.

To make the salad:

  • In a large bowl, whisk together olive oil, lemon juice, mustard, red pepper flakes (if using), and a pinch of salt. Add cooled couscous, arugula, mint, 1/2 cup feta, peas, walnuts, and drained shallots. Toss to combine.
  • Season to taste with salt and pepper and transfer to a serving bowl. Garnish with remaining feta and more chopped walnuts.

Notes

To toast walnuts in the oven:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or foil for easy cleanup.
  2. Toss walnuts in 2 teaspoons oil and sprinkle with salt if desired. Arrange in a single layer on prepared baking sheet. Toast until browned and fragrant, stirring occasionally, about 7 to 10 minutes.

To toast walnuts on the stove:

  1. Toss walnuts in 2 teaspoons oil and sprinkle with salt if desired.  In a medium skillet over medium heat, heat walnuts until browned and fragrant, stirring occasionally, about 2 to 5 minutes.

Nutrition

Calories: 457kcal