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This simple Mediterranean-inspired couscous salad packs plenty of fresh vegetables like juicy tomatoes, crisp cucumber, and red onions. It is then infused with fresh herbs and tossed in a bright, zesty lemon dressing. Super fresh and just 15 minutes of prep time!

Couscous salad with fresh herbs in a bowl.

⭐️ Why You Should Try It

  • Just 15 minutes of prep time. This couscous salad requires no cooking. It’s all about chopping the vegetables and combining them with the couscous and the dressing. The rest consists of letting it sit for a few hours in the refrigerator before enjoying it!
  • Fresh and generously seasoned. With plenty of fresh herbs like mint and parsley and a tangy lemon juice dressing, this salad is refreshing and flavorful!
  • Perfect for meal prep. This salad maintains its freshness for days, making it perfect for meal prep, whether you plan to enjoy it as an appetizer, light main, or side dish with your protein of choice.

📘 What Is Couscous Salad

Couscous salad, sometimes called Tabbouleh, is a Mediterranean salad made with a base of dry couscous (durum wheat ground into semolina), tomatoes, lemon juice, and olive oil.

Different types of couscous can be used to make couscous salad:

  • Israeli couscous: Also called Pearl couscous, it is considerably larger than Moroccan couscous. It is the size of peppercorns and requires a longer cooking time.
  • Moroccan couscous: This is the smallest size and usually requires just a few minutes of cooking or none at all. This is the one we will be using in this recipe.
Ingredients like couscous, tomatoes, lemon, olive oil, and cucumbers.

🍅 Ingredient Notes

This salad is simple to prepare and requires just 9 wholesome ingredients. You will need the following:

  • Couscous – Use regular Moroccan couscous for this recipe. Do not use Israeli couscous, as this type is larger and requires cooking.
  • Tomatoes – Preferably ripe and juicy tomatoes.
  • Cucumber – English or Persian cucumbers work best, but feel free to use what you have on hand. If your cucumber has thick skin, peel it for optimal texture.
  • Onion – Red onions bring crunchiness and sharpness.
  • Fresh herbs – I went with a combination of fresh mint and parsley. You can substitute cilantro for the parsley.
  • Olive oil – For richness and a fruity aroma. Use extra virgin olive oil for the best flavor.
  • Lemon juice – Lemon juice is essential to bring a citrusy and tangy flavor to the dressing. I highly recommend using fresh lemon juice over the bottled one.
  • Salt – To season.

🥣 How to Make It

Here is the process of assembling the salad:

  1. Chop the vegetables. Start by chopping the tomatoes, cucumber, and red onion into small chunks.
  2. Combine everything in a bowl. Add the couscous and chopped vegetables to a mixing bowl and stir to combine.
  1. Pour in the dressing. Next, add the lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and chopped fresh herbs. Toss to coat.
  2. Chill in the refrigerator. Cover with plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for at least 3 hours, preferably 5. The couscous will slowly rehydrate and soak up the tomato juice and the dressing!

After a few hours in the fridge, fluff with a fork and enjoy!

📔 Tips

  • Add-ins. This salad is incredibly versatile. For extra protein, feel free to add cooked beans like chickpeas or navy beans. For natural sweetness, stir in a handful of raisins or chopped dates, and for crunchiness, you can add pine nuts or chopped almonds.
  • Make it zesty. If you love lemon as much as I do, I highly recommend zesting a lemon and adding the zest to the salad for an extra citrus flavor.
  • Fluff the couscous. Do not forget to fluff the couscous and toss the salad well before serving. It will give the salad a lighter texture.
  • If you want to use Israeli couscous: you will first have to cook it according to the package instructions before combining it with the vegetables and dressing.

🍔 What to Serve It With

You can serve this refreshing salad as a light appetizer or as a side with vegan burgers, tofu meatballs, or vegan sausages.

It’s also a great salad to pack for lunch and enjoy on the go!

Close-up of a spoonful of couscous salad.

💬 FAQ

Do I need to rinse the couscous before using it?

It is not mandatory. I personally do not rinse it but feel free to do so if you prefer.

Should I boil the couscous first?

If using Moroccan couscous, there is no need to cook it. It will soften after soaking up the liquids.

Can I make this salad in advance?

Yes, this salad stays fresh for days. It tastes as good on day four as on day one!

How long does this couscous salad keep?

This salad will keep for up to 4 days in the refrigerator.

The vibrant lemon dressing, tender couscous, and crunchy vegetables make this refreshing salad a crowd-pleaser! The best part of this recipe is that no cooking is required at all!

⭐️ Did you like this recipe? Let us know in the comments below, and tag us on Facebook, Instagram, or Pinterest!

Couscous salad with tomatoes, cucumbers, and fresh herbs.
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Recipe

Fresh Couscous Salad

5 from 2 votes
Author: Thomas Pagot
This simple Mediterranean-inspired couscous salad packs plenty of fresh vegetables like juicy tomatoes, crisp cucumber, and red onions. It is then infused with fresh herbs and tossed in a bright, zesty lemon dressing. Just 15 minutes of prep time!
Prep Time : 15 minutes
Resting Time : 3 hours
Total Time : 3 hours 15 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Calories 403 kcal

Ingredients
 

  • 1 cup Moroccan couscous
  • 3 medium ripe tomatoes
  • 1/2 medium cucumber
  • 1/2 red onion
  • 6 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 3 tbsp lemon juice
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp chopped mint
  • 1 tbsp chopped parsley

Instructions
 

  • Chop the vegetables. Start by chopping the tomatoes, cucumber, and red onion into small 1/2-inch cubes.
  • Combine everything in a bowl. Add the couscous and chopped vegetables to a mixing bowl and stir to combine.
  • Pour in the dressing. Next, add the olive oil, water, lemon juice, salt, and chopped fresh herbs. Toss to coat.
  • Chill in the refrigerator. Cover with plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for at least 3 hours, preferably 5. The couscous will slowly rehydrate and soak up the tomato juice and the dressing!
  • Serve chilled as a side or an appetizer! This couscous salad will keep for up to 4 days in the refrigerator.

Notes

  • Add-ins. This salad is incredibly versatile. For extra protein, feel free to add cooked beans like chickpeas or navy beans. For natural sweetness, stir in a handful of raisins or chopped dates, and for crunchiness, you can add pine nuts or chopped almonds.
  • Make it zesty. If you love lemon as much as I do, I highly recommend zesting a lemon and adding the zest to the salad for an extra citrus flavor.
  • Fluff the couscous. Do not forget to fluff the couscous and toss the salad well before serving. It will give the salad a lighter texture.
  • If you want to use Israeli couscous: you will first have to cook it according to the package instructions before combining it with the vegetables and dressing.

Nutrition

Serving: 1 serving | Calories: 403 kcal | Carbohydrates: 45.7 g | Protein: 7.8 g | Fat: 22 g | Saturated Fat: 3.2 g | Sodium: 452 mg | Potassium: 422 mg | Fiber: 4.4 g | Sugar: 4.1 g | Calcium: 36 mg | Iron: 1 mg
Course : Appetizer, Side Dish
Cuisine : French, Moroccan
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About the Author

Thomas Pagot is the founder, photographer, and recipe developer behind Full of Plants. He created the blog in 2016 as a personal cookbook for vegan recipes. Through years of recipe development, Thomas has successfully grown Full of Plants into a trusted resource for plant-based recipes.

Learn more ➜

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5 stars
Amazing salad. I must try it. This is a new taste for me and my family.

5 stars
Yum, and it looks so easy. I have everything here except the parsley. Do you think that’s an essential ingredient?