This Mediterranean pearl couscous salad is filled with vibrant flavors, inspired by my Middle Eastern heritage. Using moghrabieh couscous, a larger type of couscous originating from countries in North Africa, this couscous pasta salad is filled with cucumber, tomato, olives, and fresh herbs, tossed in a tangy, lemon olive oil dressing.
The vibrant colors and flavors make this a wonderful dish to enjoy in summer.
This summer couscous salad recipe uses a similar refreshing lemon, olive oil, and herb dressing to my Mediterranean potato salad recipe, another salad or side dish perfect for summer. It would also pair well as a side dish to my za'atar crusted tofu steaks.
Couscous is recorded to have origins from the Berbers of Algeria and Morocco. It is traditionally made from semolina wheat, and used to be mixed with water and hand rolled into small balls of dough. It is somewhat similar to a pasta. Pearl couscous, or moghrabieh, originated in North Africa, in the Maghreb region, as its name refers to.
Another Middle Eastern dish on my website with North African roots is my vegan shakshuka recipe!
Mediterranean Couscous Salad Ingredients
This Mediterranean couscous salad recipe uses simple ingredients.
- Pearl couscous (moghrabieh couscous)
- Persian cucumber
- Kalamata olives
- Fresh parsley
- Fresh mint leaves
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Lemon juice
See the recipe card for exact quantities.
How to Make Couscous Salad
Learn how to make this pearl couscous salad with only a few simple steps.
First, toast the moghrabieh couscous in a little bit of oil. Then, add some water and a pinch of salt, and bring it to a boil. Once it's tender, rinse with cold water and set aside. Dice and chop the rest of your ingredients, mix your ingredients for the lemon couscous pasta salad dressing, and simply toss the components together.
Hint: Refrigerate the Mediterranean couscous salad for a few hours, to let the flavors infuse, before serving!
If you know how to make the recipe fit a certain diet, let the reader know here. Don't fake it - only provide guidance on topics you have actual experience with.
- Couscous - instead of moghrabieh or pearl couscous, you can substitute with another kind of couscous, or even pasta
- Gluten-free - If you're gluten-free, substitute the couscous with a small-shaped, gluten-free pasta. Find more of my gluten-free recipes
- Sumac - if you cannot find sumac, you can add extra lemon juice to taste
Here are some suggestions to make this Mediterranean couscous salad to suit you.
- Vegan feta - plant-based feta would make a great addition to add more flavor into this recipe
- Za'atar - if you're looking for more zest, my za'atar seasoning blend would be a delicious addition to add more flavor
- Extra protein - you can add white beans, chickpeas, or lentils to this pearl couscous salad to add vegan protein!
For a more protein-packed Mediterranean summer salad, try my ful medames recipe, a refreshing Syrian bean salad!
Pearl Couscous Salad Storage
This recipe holds well refrigerated for up to a week, as the flavors will deepen, and the moghrabieh couscous holds up well to the lemon and olive oil dressing.
I like to chop the herbs, not leaving any big leafy chunks, for a better texture. I find that persian cucumbers and cherry tomatoes also lead to the best texture for this moghrabieh salad, due to their crunch.
I hope you love this Mediterranean pearl couscous salad as much as I do! If you loved it, make sure to leave a review, and tag me in your recreations on Instagram @zenandzaatar #zenandzaatar!
- 1.5 cups pearl couscous (moghrabieh)
- 2 tsp neutral oil or olive oil
- 2 cups water
- pinch of salt
- 1 persian cucumber, diced (about ¾ cup)
- ¾ cup diced cherry tomatoes
- ½ cup chopped kalamata olives
- ½ cup mint leaves (loosely packed)
- ½ cup parsely leaves (tightly packed)
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- ¼ cup lemon juice
- ¾ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp black pepper
- ½ tsp sumac
- Toast couscous in 2 tsp oil for about 3 mins, until golden, and then add water and a pinch of salt. Bring to boil, and simmer until cooked, according to package. Once ready, drain and rinse with cold water.
- Whisk ingredients for dressing together and set aside.
- Mix together cooked couscous, cucumbers, tomatoes, and olives. Then, add mint, parsley, and the dressing, and toss to combine. Refrigerate if not serving immediately. Enjoy!
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 201Total Fat: 16gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 13gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 399mgCarbohydrates: 13gFiber: 2gSugar: 1gProtein: 3g
Nutrition information is provided as a courtesy and is an estimate only. This information comes from online calculators. Although zenandzaatar.com attempts to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures are only estimates.
- Don't leave food sitting out at room temperature for extended periods
- Never leave cooking food unattended
- Use oils with high smoking point to avoid harmful compounds
- Always have good ventilation when using a gas stove