Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Quick Israeli Couscous Salad

Let me introduce you to my new favorite thing, Israeli couscous.

I have a new obsession that is Israeli couscous.  I’ve been a fan of regular couscous for a while but once more, this time in a pretty purple box, Trader Joe’s has delivered greatness.

I don’t know about you but lately I can’t seem to find enough hours in the day.  Commute, Work, church, exercise, blog, small group, taxes (yuck!), oh yeah, my husband.  Sleep is overrated anyway.  See what I’m getting at?  I’m sure that you find yourself in the same predicament.

I assumed that we couldn’t eat this quick-fix all the time so I found another solution to the problem: couscous salad studded with lots of fresh veggies and big Mediterranean flavor for a health, quick and simple weeknight meal ever. 

We have eaten this nearly weekly for the last several weeks and we can’t get enough!  If you don’t like black olives, you can add roasted red peppers, if you don’t like spinach, add some artichokes.  Stir in some hummus, add some chicken, or better yet, mahi mahi!

Just do it.

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Quick Israeli Couscous Salad Recipe

Yield: 2-3 servings as main dish; 4-6 servings as a side

Cook Time: 25 minutes

A favorite weeknight meal full of color, flavor, and health.


2 cups grape tomatoes, halved
1 medium shallot, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
4 Tbs. + 2 tsp. olive oil, divided
1 1/3 cups uncooked Israeli couscous
1 3/4 cups water or stock
2 cups fresh baby spinach leaves
1/4 cup black olives, sliced
1/2 tsp. Greek seasoning (we like Cavender’s)
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
Juice of half a lemon


Heat the oven to 425 degrees. Combine the tomatoes, shallots and garlic in a glass baking dish. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and season with salt and pepper to taste. Roast in the oven until the tomato skins begin to crack and the onions and garlic are tender and fragrant.

While the veggies are roasting, heat 1 tsp. olive oil in a 2 quart sauce pan. Add couscous and toast for about 5 minutes over medium-low heat, until the couscous is lightly browned. Slowly add in the water and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover and cook for 10-12 minutes until all of the liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat and set aside.

After the water is added to the couscous, add 1 teaspoon of olive oil to a large skillet and wilt the spinach. Add the black olives and seasoning and stir. Stir in the cooked couscous and roasted tomatoes, shallots and garlic.

Drizzle in the remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil, the balsamic vinegar, and the lemon juice and add the feta cheese.

Cassie’s Notes:
We have also made this with chicken: add two cups of cooked chicken when you add the black olives.

Other variations: add roasted red peppers, sun-dried tomatoes, chopped artichoke hearts, any kind of cooked fish, etc. Adapt to your heart's desire!


34 Responses to “Quick Israeli Couscous Salad”

  1. #
    Tina@flourtrader — April 11, 2012 @ 6:38 am

    This does look like a delicious way to enjoy couscous! Also, this dish is versatile enough to be personalized, according to your own tastes. Because of its versatility, it is easy to understand why it is a weekly meal at your house. A great taste improvement over plain couscous-yum!

  2. #
    Kathryn — April 11, 2012 @ 6:55 am

    This is one of my favourite combinations of flavours – I quite often have it as a pasta salad so I’ll definitely try it with israeli couscous too!

  3. #
    amy @ fearless homemaker — April 11, 2012 @ 6:59 am

    i love israeli couscous + we have the same pretty purple box in our cabinet. this dish looks wonderful!

  4. #
    Julie @ Table for Two — April 11, 2012 @ 7:32 am

    yum! I’ve never had israeli couscous before but this totally looks like something I’d be able to whip up easily and enjoy it!

  5. #
    DessertForTwo — April 11, 2012 @ 8:41 am

    This sounds perfect!
    I love little salads like this–it’s my favorite flavors but still healthy!

  6. #
    Gina @ Running to the Kitchen — April 11, 2012 @ 9:32 am

    Isn’t that purple box amazing?! I’m not a big fan of regular couscous but I could eat the Israeli kind every day. Love all the flavors in this and with chicken like you said it’s a full meal!

  7. #
    Cookbook Queen — April 11, 2012 @ 9:40 am

    I’ve been hearing all about this Israeli Couscous, and I’m feeling very left out of the party. Definitely tracking this down and trying it!!

  8. #
    Averie @ Averie Cooks — April 11, 2012 @ 11:01 am

    I havent made couscous in ages…I need to put it into rotation again!

  9. #
    claire @ the realistic nutritionist — April 11, 2012 @ 11:33 am

    I make couscous ALL THE TIME. It’s such a delicious, easy and healthy meal!

  10. #
    Jennifer | Mother Thyme — April 11, 2012 @ 12:25 pm

    Loving this couscous! I want this for lunch!

  11. #
    Tracey — April 11, 2012 @ 12:43 pm

    Adore that little bowl in the top photo Cassie! This definitely looks like a great weeknight meal, or even lunch, which is good for me since I can never figure out what the heck to feed myself 🙂

  12. #
    Steve @ the black peppercorn — April 11, 2012 @ 12:53 pm

    I have never had israeli couscous but I am a fan of couscous in general. This salad looks awesome Cassie!!!

  13. #
    Jackie @ Domestic Fits — April 11, 2012 @ 1:10 pm

    Yes. I share the obsession. I even made an unposted CousCous Mac N Cheese with it that I didn’t have the restraint to photograph before I inhaled it ALL. So, no photo, no post.
    I LOVE this. It will be made in my kitchen SOON.

  14. #
    Megan {Country Cleaver} — April 11, 2012 @ 1:30 pm

    I’ve never tried Israeli Couscous before. I’ve had the smaller grain variety but never these, they look divine and a little more hefty than what I’ve had. Gosh this looks so fresh and perfect for spring/summer.

  15. #
    Stephanie — April 11, 2012 @ 2:56 pm

    Looks yummy!! I love the Mediterranean flavors!

  16. #
    Erin @ Dinners, Dishes, and Desserts — April 11, 2012 @ 4:03 pm

    I have never tried Israeli Couscous before. I will have to look for it next time I am at the store. Looks like a perfect salad for spring!

  17. #
    Nicole {Sweet Peony} — April 11, 2012 @ 9:13 pm

    Beautiful photos & it looks delicious! I love couscous too… like tiny little pearls 🙂

  18. #
    Maria — April 11, 2012 @ 9:29 pm

    Looks delicious!

  19. #
    Anna — April 11, 2012 @ 10:34 pm

    I had a bad first experience with couscous and haven’t braved it since – I think I might have to change that! And…if only sleep WAS overrated! Unfortunately it’s pretty dang fantastic and important 🙂

  20. #
    Chung-Ah | Damn Delicious — April 12, 2012 @ 3:27 am

    Okay I really need to get on board and try Israeli couscous!

  21. #
    Bakeaholic — April 12, 2012 @ 8:44 am

    I love Israeli cous cous. It’s a nice change up from quinoa and traditional salads. Mediterranean flavors go perfect with this type cous cous!

  22. #
    Laurie {Simply Scratch} — April 12, 2012 @ 9:53 am

    Ohhhh yummy! This is a great Cassie!

  23. #
    Normal Food For Normal People — April 12, 2012 @ 3:38 pm

    I agree with the sentiment here, Israeli cous cous is the best. I think goat cheese would work really well with this too.

  24. #
    Eileen — April 12, 2012 @ 6:11 pm

    Israeli couscous is definitely some of the best stuff ever! I love your salad idea. 🙂

  25. #
    Kiran @ — April 14, 2012 @ 12:05 am

    I’ve never cooked with couscous before — this looks like the first recipe I would try 🙂

  26. #
    Magic of Spice — April 14, 2012 @ 2:27 pm

    That looks so good! I love couscous and have some in my pantry that needs some attention 🙂

  27. #
    Evi — April 15, 2012 @ 8:07 pm

    I used israeli couscous recently for a recipe, and also fell in love- although I did a risotto with it & mushrooms. Yum!

  28. #
    Sharon Glanville — April 18, 2012 @ 12:33 pm

    My husband and I love Mediterranean food and couscous is perfect. The blend of spices-just yummy.

  29. #
    Luv What You Do — April 23, 2012 @ 8:17 pm

    That looks delish!
    I always see the Israeli couscous at TJ’s, but I’ve never bought it before. I will definitely have to try it out!

    • Cassie replied: — April 23rd, 2012 @ 8:26 pm

      I hope you do try it. It has become part of our weekly meals!

  30. #
    victoria — July 13, 2012 @ 7:10 pm

    I couldn’t find the israeli couscous, but I have regular couscous. Do you think I can use the regular?

    • Cassie replied: — July 13th, 2012 @ 7:41 pm

      Yes, I think that would work just perfectly. They are very similar, just different in size.


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