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?
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.
Here are the ingredients you will need to make this recipe.
Israeli couscous: Also known as pearl couscous, look for it in the center aisles of the grocery store with pasta or alongside other Mediterranean ingredients.
Produce: Cucumber, cherry tomatoes, green onion (also known as scallion), and garlic.
Marinated artichoke hearts: Marinated artichoke hearts have lots of flavor. The grilled variety is especially delicious.
However, they can be replaced with water-packed jarred or canned artichoke hearts, if you prefer.
Castelvetrano olives: These bright green olives are so buttery & next level delicious. Look for them in jars by the other olives in the grocery store or on olive bars.
For easiest slicing, pitted works best. They can be replaced with any olive you enjoy.
Basil: Fresh basil is a must. Dried won’t work here. Look for basil that has bright green, plump leaves without wilting or brown spots.
Pantry staples: Balsamic vinegar, extra virgin olive oil, salt, and pepper.
Step by step instructions
Here’s how to make this recipe at a glance. For complete ingredient amounts & instructions, keep scrolling to the recipe card below.
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
How to store leftovers
Keep leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
This salad keeps beautifully in the fridge. It will last for 3 to 5 days.
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 of 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.