This pearl couscous salad is just what you need for all of your summer potlucks. The couscous is cooked in vegetable broth to make it fluffy and flavorful, then it’s combined with fresh veggies, feta cheese, and a zesty lemon vinaigrette for the ultimate Mediterranean flavor combination!
Pearl Couscous Salad
Pearl couscous (also known as Israeli couscous) is a bit bigger than regular Moroccan couscous. Because of this, it’s the perfect size for throwing into summer salads! If you’ve never tried this pearl-shaped pasta, you’re going to love it. When you cook it in broth (today I’m using vegetable) it becomes light, fluffy, and so flavorful!
Today’s pearl couscous salad recipe has a delicious Mediterranean twist. I added chopped cucumbers, tomatoes, and crumbled feta cheese, all coated in a wonderful lemon vinaigrette. And of course, every Mediterranean dish needs some fresh herbs, so this salad is filled with fresh chopped parsley. Trust me, this recipe is going to be a game-changer for all of your summer barbecues.
Besides the couscous, this salad uses a lot of great ingredients. It’s jam-packed with fresh veggies and a homemade lemon vinaigrette you’ll love! I’ve linked my recipe below. You can also find exact measurements in the recipe card at the end of the post.
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil: For toasting your couscous in.
- Pearl Couscous: This is the star of the show, a small pasta made from semolina flour! Some debate whether it’s a grain or a pasta, but one thing is for sure- it adds the BEST texture to this salad!
- Vegetable Broth: Once the couscous is toasted, then it’s cooked in this broth to make it fluffy and add flavor. You can also use chicken or mushroom broth if you prefer.
- Lemon Juice: Because no Mediterranean recipe is complete without a splash of lemon juice!
- Garlic Powder: The savory flavor helps to balance out the lemon juice and vinaigrette.
- Salt and Pepper: Season to taste.
- Fresh Parsley: A great way to add an extra pop of flavor! You can also use basil, mint, or rosemary.
- English Cucumber: Cucumbers are a must for any summer salad. They have the best crunch and are so refreshing!
- Grape Tomatoes: Add a little color and sweetness to the pearl couscous salad.
- Red Onion: Chopped red onions add a tasty crunch and savory flavor to the salad.
- Crumbled Feta Cheese: For some tangy, cheesy flavor.
- Easy Lemon Vinaigrette: The best dressing to toss your pearl couscous salad in! It’s bright, tangy, and coats the couscous and veggies perfectly.
How to Make Pearl Couscous Salad
All you have to do is toast your couscous, then toss all of your ingredients together! It’s so simple! You’ll have it ready in less than 30 minutes.
- Toast Couscous: Heat your olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium high heat. Add in your couscous and toast it in the oil for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Cook in Broth: Once the couscous is toasted, add in the vegetable broth, lemon juice, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Bring the liquid to a rolling boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer the couscous for 13-15 minutes.
- Simmer: Uncover the couscous and fluff with a fork. All of the liquid should be absorbed so continue to simmer for a few more minutes if there is liquid remaining.
- Prepare Vinaigrette: While the couscous cooks, prepare the vinaigrette by following the linked recipe and set it aside.
- Remove From Heat: Once the couscous is fully cooked and tender, remove it from the heat.
- Add the cucumber, tomatoes, red onion, parsley, feta, and vinaigrette.
- Toss and Serve: Gently toss to coat the ingredients and serve!
Like other pasta salads, this pearl couscous salad is super customizable. Swap out the dressing, use different veggies, the choice is yours!
- Use a Different Dressing: If you don’t want to use lemon vinaigrette for your pearl couscous salad, you can swap it out for things like Greek salad dressing, balsamic vinaigrette, or Green goddess dressing. You could also add a drizzle of tzatziki sauce if you’d like.
- More Mix-Ins: Feel free to throw in kalamata olives, sliced avocados, chickpeas, bell peppers, butternut squash, cauliflower, broccoli, pine nuts, or green onions to your pearl couscous salad.
- Add Herbs: Instead of parsley, try adding fresh mint or fresh basil for some aromatics and flavor!
Storing Leftover Pearl Couscous Salad
I feel like this pearl couscous salad almost tastes better the longer it’s stored. This allows the vinaigrette to sink into the pasta, giving it more flavor in each bite! This salad is also great for making ahead and taking on the go. That’s why it’s so perfect for potlucks!
- In the Refrigerator: Leftovers can be kept in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week.
There’s a reason why pasta salads are a staple at any barbecue or potluck. They’re easy to make, easy to store, and always a hit with the guests! If you need some salad inspiration, here are a few easy recipes to try out!
Pearl Couscous Salad
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 cups pearl couscous
- 3 ½ cups vegetable broth
- ¼ cup lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- ¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped
- 1 cup English cucumber, chopped
- 1/2 cup grape tomatoes, halved
- 1/4 cup red onion, diced
- 1/4 cup feta cheese, crumbled
- 1 recipe easy lemon vinaigrette
- Heat your olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium high heat. Add in your couscous and toast it in the oil for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Once the couscous is toasted, add in the vegetable broth, lemon juice, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Bring the liquid to a rolling boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer the couscous for 13-15 minutes.
- Uncover the couscous and fluff with a fork. All of the liquid should be absorbed so continue to simmer for a few more minutes if there is liquid remaining.
- While the couscous cooks, prepare the vinaigrette by following the linked recipe and set it aside.
- Once the couscous is fully cooked and tender, remove it from the heat.
- Add the cucumber, tomatoes, red onion, parsley, feta, and vinaigrette. Gently toss to coat the ingredients and serve!
- Leftovers can be kept in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week.