Israeli couscous salad is a Mediterranean style dish, loaded with artichoke hearts, olives, cherry tomatoes, and fresh basil. Perfect for picnics, potlucks, and meal planning!
Israeli couscous salad is basically a who’s who of my favorite things. There’s cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, fresh summer basil, garlic, and the star of the show, Israeli couscous.
With every bite, there’s something to look forward to.
Will you get a spoonful with buttery Castelvetrano olives? Or will you be met with briny marinated artichoke hearts? (The grilled variety of jarred artichoke hearts are especially good here.)
One guarantee – every nibble will include the wonderful bite of Israeli couscous.
Couscous is sometimes confused for a grain, but it’s actually pasta. Unlike its teeny tiny couscous brethren, the Israeli style is bigger and pearl-shaped. (That’s why it’s also known as pearl couscous.)
Israeli couscous takes only 8 to 10 minutes to cook. Then it can be seasoned and tossed with vegetables. Serve it hot or cold, as a summer side dish or a standalone lunch.
How to make it
Here’s what you will need.
Bring water to a boil in a pot. Add Israeli couscous and cover.
Lower the heat to a simmer for 8 to 10 minutes until al dente. Drain & set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the following:
- Israeli couscous
- Cherry tomatoes
- Green onion
- Marinated artichoke hearts
- Castelvetrano olives
- Balsamic vinegar
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Salt & pepper
Serve right away. Or refrigerate in a covered container until you’re ready to eat.
Make it your own
Make this dish your own by swapping out ingredients or adding other favorites.
- Instead of Israeli couscous, use your preferred short pasta like bowtie. (Cook according to package directions.)
- Use zucchini instead of cucumber.
- Replace cherry tomatoes with diced full-sized tomatoes or roasted red peppers.
- Instead of marinated artichoke hearts, use water-packed or hearts of palm.
- Replace Castelvetrano olives with any olive you like. Kalamata is especially nice!
- Instead of fresh garlic, use granulated garlic.
- Balsamic vinegar can be replaced with red wine vinegar.
- For an extra bump of protein, add roasted chickpeas cooked in the oven or air fryer.
- For more tangy flavor, crumble vegan feta cheese on top just before serving.
What to serve with it
Israeli couscous salad pairs well with any of these dishes:
- Grilled Portobello mushrooms
- Grilled tofu with lemon & rosemary
- Vegetable sandwich with cashew cheese
- Vegan crab cakes
How to store leftovers
Keep leftovers in a covered container in the refrigerator. It will last for 3 to 5 days.
This salad keeps beautifully in the refrigerator. It’s a really convenient dish to have on hand when you want something fast and fresh.
Keep in mind that the oil and seasonings soak into the salad over time. After storing in the refrigerator, refresh it with a splash of oil, balsamic vinegar, and salt just before serving.
Because of the many fresh ingredients in this salad, I don’t recommend freezing it.
Israeli couscous salad with artichokes & olives
- 1 ¼ cups water
- Pinch salt
- 1 cup Israeli couscous also called pearl couscous
- ½ medium cucumber sliced and quartered
- ½ cup cherry tomatoes halved
- 1 green onion thinly sliced
- ½ cup marinated artichoke hearts chopped
- ¼ cup Castelvetrano olives* sliced
- 1 small garlic clove zested with Microplane zester or minced
- 1 handful basil roughly chopped (about ¼ cup)
- 1 ½ teaspoons balsamic vinegar
- 1 ½ teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
- Pepper to taste
- In a pot, bring water to boil with a pinch of salt. Add Israeli couscous, cover, and lower heat to a simmer for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until cooked al dente. Drain with a fine mesh sieve and set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine cooked & drained Israeli couscous, cucumber, cherry tomatoes, green onion, marinated artichoke hearts, Castelvetrano olives, garlic, basil, balsamic vinegar, and extra virgin olive oil. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- After the salad is fully combined, taste for seasonings and add extra balsamic vinegar, extra virgin olive oil, salt, and/or pepper, if you desire. Serve right away or cover it and put in the refrigerator until serving time.
Content, recipe, and photos updated July 10, 2021. Originally posted August 24, 2017.