Mediterranean Israeli Couscous Salad

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This colorful, flavorful Mediterranean Israeli couscous salad is an easy make-ahead salad that can be served cold or at room temperature. It makes a great side, light lunch, or potluck dish.

A large serving bowl of Israeli couscous salad with a wooden serving spoon in it.

When I make a salad these days, there’s a good chance it will be Mediterranean-inspired. This Greek chicken salad, this ancient grains salad with za’atar pita chips, and this Israeli salad are all at the top of my list.

I first made this Mediterranean Israeli couscous salad last year for a New Year’s Day salad potluck with some friends. It was a hit then, and it is a hit now!

Why you’ll love this Israeli Couscous Salad

  • It’s crazy versatile. Honestly, I don’t know if there is a more multi-purpose recipe than this mediterranean salad on this entire site.
    Need a brown bag lunch for a workday? A road trip? A picnic?
    Or a side dish to go with some marinated Greek chicken breasts or your Mediterranean black bean burgers?
    Need a dish for a potluck that’s easy to make, travels well, and makes a nice change from the heavy casseroles and desserts? (This salad is 100% my go-to potluck dish. Who doesn’t love these flavors? Really, who?)
  • It’s hearty, flavorful, and super simple to make.
  • It’s colorful and festive. While it’s great in the summertime, it’s equally amazing in the fall and at the holidays when pomegranates are in season. (For an even simpler festive salad featuring this delightful fruit, try this kale pomegranate salad with feta).
a serving of Mediterranean couscous salad in a bowl with the serving bowl in the background.

What is Israeli (or pearl) Couscous?

Israeli couscous (also known as pearl couscous, giant couscous, Jerusalem couscous, or ptitim) is a type of couscous I discovered a couple of years ago, and it has become my go-to filler for sides and salads.

If you’re not familiar with it, it is similar to regular couscous, which comes from North Africa, but bigger. In fact I have seen it in various sizes, from a small pearl to almost the size of a chick pea. It doesn’t have the fluffy texture of regular couscous, but is a nice change from the usual grains and pasta shapes.

One other difference between the two is that Israeli couscous is toasted rather than just dried, giving it a mild nutty flavor.

I find Israeli or pearled couscous pretty easily in grocery stores these days, but if you have trouble finding it, you can get it here. Or you can totally use regular couscous instead.

Closeup of a large serving bowl of Mediterranean pearl couscous salad.

The rest of the ingredients in this Israeli couscous salad are pretty traditional Mediterranean, and I throw in some pomegranate seeds for a little festive, tangy crunch. Feel free to sub with raisins or cranberries if that’s what you have on hand.

Ingredient Notes and Substitutions

For the salad

Portioned ingredients to make Israeli couscous salad with labels overlaid.

Israeli (Pearl) Couscous

See above for more info on this ingredient. Orzo makes a great substitute, or another small pasta shape like little bowties or ditalini. A larger tubular type of pasta like penne with also work for a more traditional pasta salad. And of course, regular couscous is always an option.

Vegetable stock

I like to cook the couscous for this salad in broth instead of just water as it infuses with a lot of flavor. A pinch of saffron or turmeric in the broth will also give it a lovely yellow hue.

Pomegranate Seeds

These are a favorite ingredient of mine. They add great sweet, tart, and juicy burst of flavor to this salad. You could use a dried fruit like cranberries or raisins if you prefer though. I also like to throw in some toasted pine nuts sometimes!


Not just a garnish in mediterranean dishes, flat-leaf parsley adds freshness , flavor, and color to this salad. Other fresh herbs like fresh basil or fresh mint would also be nice here. Or you could toss in some arugula or another flavorful green if you prefer.

kalamata olives

I am NOT typically a lover of olives if I’m honest, but I make an exception for kalamatas, and I love their fruity flavor. Olives add a nice salty brininess, but do use your favorites here, green or black olives will work too.

Green onion

I like the flavor of mild green onions in this salad, but red onion, shallots, or chives would be nice too.

Cherry tomatoes

I love to add juicy small tomatoes – cherry or grape tomatoes, or just chopped large tomatoes – to this salad. Feel free to add in some other chopped veggies like red peppers and Persian cucumbers. Leftover grilled or roasted vegetables are also great in this.

Feta cheese

For more salty richness, I love to toss some crumbled feta into this salad. You can absolutely skip it if you want to keep this salad vegetarian though. If you don’t love feta, try halloumi, goat cheese, or Parmesan instead.

For the dressing

Portioned ingredients to make a lemon salad dressing with labels overlaid.

fresh Lemon juice

Freshly squeezed lemon juice makes all the difference here! If you don’t have any, opt for a light and fruity vinegar like red wine vinegar, or apple cider vinegar.

Olive oil

Olive oil is my oil of choice for most things, especially salad dressings and mediterranean dishes, due to its flavor and health benefits. Feel free to substitute any oil you enjoy here.

Don’t forget to watch the video!

Most of my recipes include a short step-by-step video tutorial. Just scroll down to the recipe card, or use the “Jump to Video” button at the top of the post!

How to make Israeli Couscous Salad Step-by-Step

  1. In a medium saucepan, bring stock to a boil. Add the couscous and cook according to the package directions.
  2. Drain the couscous into a fine mesh strainer and rinse under cool running water. Transfer cooked couscous to a large bowl.
Cooked Israeli couscous in a saucepan.
Cooked Israeli couscous cooling in a large bowl.
  1. To the bowl with the cooled couscous, add cherry tomatoes, green onions, parsley, pomegranate seeds, olives, and feta.
Ingredients for a Mediterranean couscous salad in a large bowl.
  1. In a small bowl, combine the lemon juice, garlic, salt, and pepper.
  2. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil while whisking.
A small bowl with some lemon vinaigrette infredients.
Drizzling olive oil into a bowl and whisking to make a vinaigrette.
  1. Add dressing to the salad ingredients and toss to combine.
Dressing being drizzled on a bowl of ingredients to make Israeli couscous salad.

Enjoy as a side, or on its own, chilled or at room temperature.

A large bowl of Israeli couscous salad with a wooden spoon in it. Pomegranate and parsley in the background.

Storage Tips

This salad is great for meal prep since it will keep well in an airtight container in the fridge for at least 3-4 days. I often serve it as a side with dinner and have the leftovers for lunch the next day, or later in the week.

Can’t Get Enough Couscous? Me neither! Here are a few other couscous recipes.

Red pepper carrot soup with couscous. A little harissa paste gives this soup great flavor.

Curried Couscous Salad. Quick and easy to pull off and makes a terrific side with grilled meats.

Mediterranean Buddha Bowls. Super healthy and packed with flavor and texture.

Tell me what you think!

If you try this recipe, l’d be so grateful if you’d leave a comment and a rating in the recipe card. I love to hear your feedback, and your tips can help other readers too!

A large serving bowl of Israeli couscous salad with a wooden serving spoon in it.

Mediterranean Israeli Couscous Salad

This Mediterranean Israeli couscous salad is an easy make-ahead salad that makes a great side, lunch, or potluck dish.
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate Save
Course: Lunch, Side
Cuisine: Mediterranean
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 8 servings
Calories: 323kcal
Author: Ann Otis



  • 2 cups Israeli (pearl) couscous
  • 4 cups vegetable stock or chicken stock or water
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes halved, or quartered if larger
  • 2 tablespoons chopped green onions
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • 1/2 cup pomegranate arils
  • 1/3 cup sliced kalamata olives
  • 1 cup crumbled feta cheese


  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper


  • Bring the stock to a boil. Cook couscous for the length of time indicated on the package. (Mine was 8 minutes, but this depends on the brand and size of the couscous). Drain the couscous into a fine mesh strainer and rinse under cold running water to cool. Transfer the cooled couscous to a large bowl.
  • Add the remaining salad ingredients to the bowl with the couscous (tomatoes, green onions, parsley, pomegranate arils, olives, and feta).
  • In a small bowl, add the lemon juice, garlic, salt, and pepper. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil while whisking until well combined. Add to salad and toss. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve chilled or at room temperature.



Calories: 323kcal | Carbohydrates: 40g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 14g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 8g | Cholesterol: 17mg | Sodium: 1072mg | Potassium: 210mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 634IU | Vitamin C: 14mg | Calcium: 115mg | Iron: 1mg
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  1. Mmm, I love these Mediterranean flavours! I think this will be perfect to meal-prep for lunches for the upcoming week – looking forward to trying your recipe!

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