This Mediterranean Couscous Salad is easy to make and so refreshing for summer. It’s filled with vegetables, Feta cheese, olives and a delicious vinaigrette dressing – great as a side dish for outdoor grilling!
You can’t beat a good salad, if you ask me! And I especially love them in the summer to pair with grilled meats or fish.
This couscous salad is filled with all of the Mediterranean goodies you can think of. It’s one of my favorite hot weather dishes, I’m so excited to share my recipe with you!
Ingredients you’ll need
Here is a visual overview of the ingredients in the recipe. Scroll down to the printable recipe card at the bottom of this post for quantities!
- Dressing: I use my Lemon Vinaigrette, but you could also do a Greek Salad Dressing or a White Balsamic Vinaigrette.
- Couscous: I use fine/instant Moroccan couscous in this recipe, but you can substitute pearl couscous if you prefer.
- Tomatoes: I use cherry tomatoes here, but you can use large tomatoes and dice them. If they are very seedy/watery inside, I highly recommend draining them well.
- Cucumber: Again, if your cucumber has a large seeded part in the middle, I recommend trimming it away. You can eat it if you don’t want to toss it (my kids love it!), but cucumbers with lots of large seeds release a lot of water and can turn your salad into a mess.
- Olives: Kalamata are my favorite olive for anything Mediterranean, but feel free to use what you like best!
- Herbs: I used parsley, mint and oregano. You can use whatever fresh herbs you have on hand!
How to make Couscous Salad
1. Start by preparing your couscous. The instructions are usually on the back of the packet, but I’ve included how I prepare it in the recipe card at the bottom of this post, just in case.
2. Prepare the dressing – just combine all of the dressing ingredients together in a small measuring jug!
3. Assemble all of the ingredients into a large salad bowl. Pour the dressing on top, then toss the salad to mix everything.
4. You can serve the salad right away, or you can refrigerate it for up to a day (I find the vegetables get too soggy if you store it for longer).
- Chopping vegetables evenly: It’s a little more work, but it pays off to carefully chop everything evenly:
- I try to get the cucumber and bell pepper diced to about half the size of a halved Roma cherry tomato (if you use regular round cherry tomatoes, you may want to quarter those tomatoes if they’re on the larger side). And by the way: Learn how to cut bell peppers the easy way!
- Olives I dice to about the size of a chickpea, and onion I dice to about ½ a chickpea.
- Herbs I chop quite finely, but I don’t turn them into a herb paste.
- (Feta isn’t a vegetable, but if you’re wondering… it crumbles and breaks up a lot as you toss the salad!)
- Adding dressing: I try to pour the dressing evenly all over the salad and not just in one spot, this makes it easier to get dressing on everything when tossing.
- Make it your own: You can really customize this salad to suit your taste/what you have on hand. Roasted red peppers are a really tasty addition, artichoke hearts if you’re into those, oven-roasted zucchini, white beans… So many options to add your own twist on this!
- Salad amount: We are an extended family of 7, so this makes a large bowl of salad. You can easily cut the recipe in half if you need less.
Keep the salad in a covered bowl, refrigerated, for up to a day. You could technically keep it for 2-3 days, but I find the vegetables start to get too soggy after about 24 hours, so I do not recommend prepping it ahead intentionally.
We often have a salad like this for lunch when it’s too hot to eat. My kids love adding some pita bread on the side.
If we use the couscous salad as a side with dinner, it’s great with grilled Greek Marinated Chicken, with grilled steak (marinated in my favorite steak marinade!) or with grilled pork chops (again, a great pork chop marinade is a must!).
Mediterranean Couscous Salad
For the couscous
- 1 cup water
- ¼ teaspoon salt or to taste
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 cup uncooked Moroccan couscous perl couscous is fine as a substitute
- ½ tablespoon butter
For the dressing
- ½ cup olive oil
- 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
- 4-6 tablespoons lemon juice start with 4tbsp, add more to taste
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar OR white wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon runny honey
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder or more to taste
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano or more to taste; OR use your favorite fresh or dried herb
- salt & pepper to taste
For the salad
- 1 pint Roma cherry tomatoes halved (about ½ inch)
- 2 small-medium cucumbers finely diced (about ¼ inch)
- 1 large yellow bell pepper finely diced (about ¼ inch)
- 1 small-medium red onion finely chopped (about ⅛ inch)
- 1 (15-oz) can chickpeas drained and rinsed
- ½ cup pitted kalamata olives roughly chopped; or your preferred olive type
- ½ cup chopped fresh herbs I used oregano, parsley and mint – use your favorites
- ½ cup crumbled Feta cheese
- Cook couscous: Bring water, olive oil and salt to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add couscous, stir, and cover with a lid. Turn off the heat and set aside for 5 minutes.
- Make dressing: While couscous is resting, combine all dressing ingredients in a medium measuring jug. Set aside until ready to use.
- Finish couscous: Open lid, add butter and fluff couscous with a fork; distributing butter throughout.
- Assemble salad: Add couscous to a large salad bowl, with all salad ingredients. Pour dressing evenly over salad and toss to combine. Serve immediately or refrigerate, covered, for up to a day.