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overhead shot of a wooden bowl filled with Mediterranean Couscous Salad

Healthy Mediterranean Couscous Salad

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Filled with fresh vegetables and lightly dressed, this simple Mediterranean couscous salad is perfect for lunch, meal prep, or a light supper. Make it a vegetarian couscous salad by simply leaving out the feta!

close up shot of Mediterranean Couscous Salad in a wooden bowl

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What Is Couscous?

While many people think couscous is a type of grain, couscous is actually very small pearls of pasta made with semolina flour.

close up image of uncooked couscous in a black bowl

Traditionally a Middle Eastern dish, couscous is prepared using the leftover hard bits of durum semolina after grinding.

These leftover bits of semolina are then mixed with water and formed into little balls and coated with flour to keep them separated in a very labour intensive process.

Traditional coucous was served with a meat stew of some kind, as the stew itself would be used to steam the couscous as it cooked underneath it in a special pot.

Learn how to cook couscous at home with this detailed guide!

Types Of Couscous

The couscous most of us will find in supermarkets across North America is mechanically formed and has been usually been pre-steamed and then dried, making it Instant Couscous.

What this means is that instead of needing to steam the couscous over a stew until light and fluffy (like hand made couscous is), you can simply boil some water or broth, pour it over the couscous and let it sit for about 5 minutes. Once fluffed with a fork it is ready to eat.

Israeli Couscous (also called ptitim), is not really couscous at all, though it is similar and could be used as a substitute in this recipe.

While Israeli couscous is also made of semolina flour, it is technically closer to orzo pasta in how it is made. Israeli couscous is extruded through a round mould before being cut into small uniform pieces and then baked and toasted to give it its chewy texture.

close up shot of a black bowl filled with israeli couscous, also called pearl couscous
Israeli Couscous

Is Couscous Healthy?

Since couscous is technically a pasta, many will think it unhealthy or not as healthy as a grain-based salad.

While this is technically true, couscous does contain some essential nutrients, fibre, and potassium. It is not considered a significant source of them though so eating just plain couscous won’t do much for you. Everything in moderation right?

This is why I love loading couscous recipes with lots of fresh vegetables and herbs to pack it full of healthy nutrition.

Mediterranean Couscous Salad Recipe

To make this delicious couscous salad you’ll need:

  • 1 cup couscous
  • 1.5 cups boiling chicken stock or water
  • 1 small red bell pepper – about 1 cup diced
  • 1 small yellow bell pepper – about 1 cup diced
  • 1/2 small green zucchini – about 1 cup diced
  • 1 medium sized tomato – about 1 cup diced
  • 1/2 small red onion – about 1 cup diced
  • 2 tbsp chopped kalamata olives
  • 2 tbsp crumbled feta
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh chive
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh mint
  • 1 lemon – juiced and zested
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Instructions

1. Bring the water or chicken stock to a boil in a small sauce pot on the stove. Place the couscous in a heat resistant bowl (such as stainless steel), and pour the boiling liquid over top.

boiling water added to a stainless steel bowl of  raw couscous

2. Stir once to fully combine, then cover the bowl with a lid or large plate to keep the moisture locked in. Let the couscous sit for about 5 minutes.

Related:  Grilled Atlantic Lobster Brushed with Garlic Butter & Herbs

3. While the couscous sits, wash and then small dice all of the vegetables. Chop the herbs and juice/ zest the lemon. Set the vegetables and lemon aside.

a plate of various diced vegetables including, zucchini, red onion, bell pepper, tomato, olive, and feta.

Once the couscous has sat for 5 minutes, fluff it up with a fork and taste it. It should be light and fluffy, not hard or crunchy.

In the bowl of couscous, mix together all of the vegetables as well as lemon juice, zest, herbs and oil.

Mix well and season with salt and pepper. Garnish the Mediterranean couscous salad with sliced kalamata olives and crumbled feta cheese.

How Long Will The Couscous Salad Last?

This simple couscous salad recipe will last at least 4 days in the fridge if properly refrigerated after mixing.

A metal bowl of Mediterranean Couscous Salad ready to be eaten or stored as meal prep

This makes Mediterranean couscous salad the perfect choice for meal prep or an easy addition to any weeknight meal. Serve it alongside grilled meats, seafood, or burgers!

Make It A Vegetarian Couscous Salad

To make this couscous salad vegetarian, simply leave out the feta cheese and use boiling water instead of chicken stock. You could also use vegetable stock if you have it.

Mediterranean Couscous Salad being served in rustic olive wood bowls and garnished with fresh mint.

Made the recipe? Comment & Rate it below, then take a picture and tag me on Facebook & Instagram: @earthfoodandfire . For more from scratch recipes follow me on Instagram & Pinterest

close up shot of Mediterranean Couscous Salad in a wooden bowl
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5 from 12 votes

Mediterranean Couscous Salad

A simple Mediterranean couscous salad loaded with fresh veggies and herbs. The perfect side dish for a weeknight meal or lunch all on its own.
Course Salad
Cuisine Mediterranean
Keyword is couscous healthy?, vegetarian couscous salad recipe, what is couscous?
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 12 minutes
Total Time 22 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Calories 1238.2kcal
Author Chef Markus Mueller

Ingredients

  • 1 cup couscous
  • 1.5 cups boiling chicken stock water may also be used
  • 1 small red bell pepper about 1 cup diced
  • 1 small yellow bell pepper about 1 cup diced
  • 1 small green zucchini about 1 cup diced
  • 1 medium tomato about 1 cup diced
  • 1/2 small red onion about 1 cup diced
  • 2 tbsp kalamata olives chopped
  • 2 tbsp feta crumbled
  • 2 tbsp fresh chive finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp fresh mint finely chopped
  • 1 whole lemon juiced and zested
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 pinch Salt
  • 1 pinch Pepper

Instructions

  • Bring the water or chicken stock to a boil in a small sauce pot on the stove. Place the couscous in a heat resistant bowl (such as stainless steel), and pour the boiling liquid over top.
  • Stir once to fully combine, then cover the bowl with a lid or large plate to keep the moisture locked in. Let the couscous sit for about 5 minutes.
  • While the couscous sits, wash and then small dice all of the vegetables. Chop the herbs and juice/ zest the lemon. Set the vegetables and lemon aside.
  • Once the couscous has sat for 5 minutes, fluff it up with a fork and taste it. It should be light and fluffy, not hard or crunchy.
  • In the bowl of couscous, mix together all of the vegetables as well as lemon juice, zest, herbs and oil.
  • Mix well and season with salt and pepper. Garnish the Mediterranean couscous salad with sliced kalamata olives and crumbled feta cheese.

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21 Comments

  1. I am loving everything about this salad!! The flavour combo is amazing. I haven’t had couscous in a while, and you have made me so excited to make it again!


  2. This is the perfect summer salad! I love how quick and easy couscous cooks up and how it soaks up the flavors of all the other ingredients so nicely! Such a delicious salad!


  3. Loaded with fresh ingredients that everyone will love. Everyone will enjoy this and have no idea how healthy it truly is.


  4. It’s been so long since I’ve has couscous and this makes me crave it. I love how colorful this salad is and the fact that it’s stuffed with feta and kalamata olives really elevates everything!


  5. I’ve always thought the great thing about cous cous (as I get it here) is that it cooks so quickly but still has a bit of a bite. Makes it perfect for a salad like this, since it’s ready by the time the vegetables are. Then a scoop of it fills out a packed lunch perfectly – I love carrying a salad lunch, but get bored with crackers or pasta salad… This looks delicious!


  6. I’ve been obsessed with couscous salad lately. I absolutely love having a big bowl of it in the refrigerator, ready to eat whenever the urge strikes, or pack into lunches. I can’t wait to try this version! I love that you’ve included both chives and mint – a delicious combination that doesn’t show up in may recipes.

    • I just made a second batch of this for the coming week! It really is great having some in the fridge you can just pop in a lunch bag and go to work with. Makes life so much easier, and tastier!

  7. Amanda Mason


    I’m in love with Mediterranean dishes at the moment so this one is getting made this week! Thanks for breaking down the couscous!! So helpful to know the details! Can’t wait for this one!!


  8. So many wonderful flavors in this couscous salad! From the mint and olives to the feta crumbles. Can’t wait to make this!


  9. I adore Mediterranean couscous salad but I only ever have it at restaurants. I can’t wait to make it at home for a light lunch! Do you think it would be good over lettuce?


  10. Healthy, yummy and flavorful. I love such amazing salad options.


  11. This mediterranean couscous salad was absolutely delicious !! Thank you for your detailed directions on cooking the couscous, it was my first time and it came out perfect. I loved all the fresh veggies , olives and the mint was the perfect touch. I will be making this again, thanks for sharing!!

  12. Jacquelyn Hastert


    Love all the fresh veggies in this! I can’t believe how delicious it was and all the health benefits that were packed into it with the veggies. A great way to get a veggie source in!


  13. This is the absolute perfect make-ahead summer dish that will work so well for the hot days! I love having something healthy to have for lunch while I’m working at home!

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