This Israeli Couscous Cucumber Salad is your new favorite summer salad! It's bright, light with fresh herbs and summer garden vegetables, but with the Israeli couscous, it also makes it hearty enough for lunch and the perfect summer side!
One of the greatest gifts my father gave me was the love for fresh out of the garden vegetables. In my mind, nothing beats the crisp cool crunch of homegrown freshly picked tomatoes or cucumbers. This Israeli Couscous Cucumber Salad is the perfect way to highlight those summer cucumbers and tomatoes!
I first made this salad in 2017 and have been adjusting and perfecting it since. Now, I think we've finally reached the perfect balance of the crunch of the cucumbers, soft pearls of couscous, herbaceous parsley, and tangy acidic vinaigrette. This summer couscous salad is light and bright and one that even my girls love!
What is Israeli Couscous?
Israeli Couscous are little toasted balls of semolina flour. Which in my mind means they're like little balls of pasta. Also known as Ptitim, or pearl couscous, Israeli couscous is different than your regular couscous in that they're bigger in size (which gives them a soft chewy texture) but still high in fiber and a healthy alternative to pasta. While 'regular' couscous is dried, Israeli couscous is actually toasted. This gives it a nuttier flavor, which I prefer and the larger size I think lends itself better to salads like this.
Easy to Make
Hardest part of this recipe? Cooking the couscous. And spoiler, it's not that hard.
Step 1: Toast Israeli couscous in a pan with some oil and then add water to simmer couscous until it's tender.
Meanwhile, prep your tomatoes, cucumbers, vinaigrette, parsley, leeks, and shallots.
Step 2: Add your garden fresh (or not) cucumbers and tomatoes to the couscous.
Tip for cutting Leeks: Leeks have a lovely sweet oniony flavor (as they're in the same family) which is perfect for this recipe. To cut leeks, cut off the dark green leaves and the root. Then slice the white / light green remaining piece in half and then slice thinly into little half moons. Give them a quick soak in water to rinse out any dirt that hides in the layers, and then drain and rinse. For this salad we prefer the leeks chopped, but you could also leave them in the half moon slices.
Step 3: Add parsley, leeks, shallots, and mint to the bowl with cucumbers, tomatoes, and couscous and give it all a good mix.
Meanwhile, give a lemon a quick zest with your favorite lemon zester. This lemon zest will add a brightness and aroma to your salad that, honestly, was the final key to the many iterations of this salad we've made over the years.
Step 4: Add the vinaigrette to a pour spout Pyrex or other cup and give a good mix.
Tip: Use a fork to vigorously mix the vinaigrette well so that the garlic powder and salt are well incorporated into the oil, vinegar, and lemon juice.
The perfect summer couscous salad that is fresh, herbaceous, but with a tangy, acidic vinaigrette!
Ready in just 20 minutes, this Israeli Couscous Cucumber Salad makes the perfect summer lunch or side dish that's light and fresh but still hearty thanks to the couscous.
Serve it With
- Mediterranean Grilled Chicken
- Cornell Chicken
- Crispy Ranch Chicken Tenders
- 15 Minute Garlic Butter Chicken
- Grilled Cilantro Lime Chicken
- Grilled Boneless Pork Chops
This salad has it all. Not only is it fresh and delicious, but it's also vegan and so SO incredibly healthy!
This Israeli Couscous Cucumber Salad is what we'll be serving all summer long, and trust me, if you do too, you wont be disappointed!
Other Summer Salad Favorites
Israeli Couscous Cucumber Salad
- 1 cup Israeli Couscous
- 1/2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 2 cups water
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 10 oz grape tomatoes or cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1 lg English cucumber chopped
- 1/4 - 1/2 cup leeks chopped, or sliced in half moons
- 2 tablespoons shallots minced
- 1 tablespoon fresh mint minced
- 1 bunch fresh parsley chopped
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice fresh squeezed
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 6 grinds fresh ground pepper
- Heat 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil in a saute pan over medium heat. Add the couscous, stir to coat in oil and cook (stirring often) until it begins to lightly rown- approximately 2-3 minutes.
- Add two cups of water and 1/2 teaspoon of salt to saute pan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until couscous is tender, aproximately 10 minutes. Drain if necessary add to a large bowl to cool.
- Meanwhile in a separate small bowl or measuring cup with a pour spout, add vinaigrette ingredients and whisk well until everything is well incorporated.
- In the large bowl with cooling couscous, add the cucumbers and tomatoes. Add parsley, mint, shallots, and leeks. Mix well.
- Drizzle vinairgrette on salad and mix well. Season with additional salt if needed.
- Serve and enjoy!
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