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This Mediterranean couscous salad is like summer in bowl - a fresh lemon and dill vinaigrette is tossed with Israeli couscous, cucumber, tomato, artichoke hearts, red onion, garbanzo beans and feta cheese!
This is a super quick and easy meal prep recipe to get you through the busy work week - it will fill you up and fuel you through your day!
What is Israeli couscous? Is it different than regular couscous?
Although couscous resembles a grain, it's actually pasta! And it's made from semolina flour.
Regular couscous and Israeli couscous (also called pearl couscous) differ in their size. Couscous is very small pieces of pasta; smaller than a grain of rice. While Israeli couscous is larger; the size of small pearls.
Israeli couscous is also toasted giving it a little chewier texture and a more nutty flavor.
This dish would be delicious with whatever couscous you choose, but I love the texture of the Israeli couscous with the sliced veggies in this salad!
Can I use a different kind of pasta instead?
Of course! You can use whatever pasta you have on hand. I would recommend a smaller cut of pasta, like bow tie or penne. But I could even see a spaghetti or linguine noodle being delicious in the salad too.
I do not discriminate against any kind of pasta. You can't go wrong with noodles!
Can I make this salad ahead of time?
Yes! Like most pasta salads, the savory flavors of this dish only get better with time which makes it perfect for meal prep!
If I know I won't be serving this salads for several hours, or if I'm going to be enjoying it throughout the week, I like to toss the salad with half the dressing initially. Then add the remaining dressing just before serving.
This keeps the flavors fresh, without everything getting too soggy. Ain’t nobody got time for a soggy salad!
How do I make Greek Couscous Salad?
You'll start by cooking your large pearl couscous according to package directions until al dente. Then transfer it to your serving bowl and toss it in olive oil. Pop it in the fridge to cool while you chop your remaining ingredients and mix up the dressing.
To make the dressing, simply add oil, lemon juice and zest, dill, Dijon mustard, fresh chopped garlic and salt and pepper to a mason jar. Shake until emulsified.
*If you'll be serving immediately, add all the dressing. If you'll be serving in several hours or if you're enjoying this salad throughout the week, just add half the dressing initially. Then add the remaining dressing just before serving.
Toss salad to coat everything in that deliciously simple lemon dill vinaigrette. Garnish with fresh chopped dill and enjoy!
Tips for making the best Mediterranean Couscous Salad:
- Don't overcook the couscous! There is nothing worse than mushy pasta in a salad and this recipe is no exception! Make sure that you cook the couscous according to package directions, just until al dente!
- If you'll be making this salad ahead of time, just add half the dressing initially. Then add the rest and toss everything together just before serving. This will ensure that the salad doesn't get soggy while it sits.
- Feel free to sub out the veggies and beans for things you've already got in your cupboard! White beans would be great in place of the garbanzo beans. Or sun dried tomatoes would be tasty instead of fresh! Fresh mozzarella or even goat cheese would be a great substitute for the feta as well. Use this recipe as a blueprint and make this meal your own!
- Use fresh squeezed lemon juice! It might be tempting to buy those little plastic lemons filled with "real" lemon juice, but don't do it! Nothing beats the flavor of fresh squeezed lemon juice! Don't skip the lemon zest either! It's going to give the lemon flavor so much more depth throughout the salad!
If you want to keep the Mediterranean theme going, I'd recommend pairing this pasta salad with my SUPER easy Chickpea Gyros (pictured below). This is one of my favorite spreads to bring along for a picnic when we are headed to the park on a sunny day!
Other pasta salad favorites you'll love:
- Mediterranean Chickpea Salad
- Kale Caesar Pasta Salad
- Sesame Ginger Noodle Salad
- Antipasto Pasta Salad
- Mediterranean Pasta Salad
This recipe was originally published in June of 2018. It was republished in April of 2019 to include process shots, step-by-step instructions and helpful tips for making the best Mediterranean Couscous Salad every single time!