While I was making this Israeli couscous salad, I couldn’t help singing “My Favorite Things” from Sound of Music. Because while I am a huge fan of whiskers on kittens, Castelvetrano olives and marinated artichoke hearts are also way up there.
In fact, this whole 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?
(I’m particularly into the grilled marinated artichoke hearts right now. They are oil packed in jars. You can find them next to the marinated artichoke hearts on the shelf.)
Cherry tomatoes are at their sweet and juicy best. And fresh basil makes every dish taste like summer.
Couscous is sometimes confused for a grain, but it’s actually a pasta. Unlike its teeny tiny couscous brethren, Israeli couscous is bigger and pearl-shaped. (That’s why it’s also called pearl couscous.)
For those of us who opt for pappardelle over angel hair and barley over millet or quinoa, Israeli couscous is for people who prefer something on the chewier side.
Israeli couscous only takes 8 to 10 minutes to cook. Then it can be seasoned and tossed with vegetables.
It can be served hot or cold, as a side dish or as lunch itself.
I’ve made this Israeli couscous salad with olives and artichokes a few times now.
The first time I served it while the Israeli couscous was still hot with a side of baked tofu.
The next day, I sent cold leftovers with David to work. It’s delicious either way.
Since it keeps well in the refrigerator, it’s a really convenient salad to have on hand when you want something fast & fresh right now (which is why I also had it for breakfast one day).
One thing to know, though – the oil and seasonings kind of soak into the Israeli couscous salad. So I recommend refreshing the salad with a splash more of oil, balsamic vinegar, and salt before serving if you’re having it as leftovers.
With Labor Day quickly approaching, this Israeli couscous salad would be a fabulous addition to picnics and potlucks.
Israeli couscous salad with artichokes & olives
- 1 1/4 cups water
- Pinch salt
- 1 cup Israeli couscous also called pearl couscous
- 1/2 medium cucumber sliced and quartered
- 1/2 cup halved cherry tomatoes
- 1 green onion thinly sliced
- 1/2 cup chopped marinated artichoke hearts The grilled variety are my favorite
- 1/4 cup sliced Castelvetrano olives*
- 1 small clove garlic zested with Microplane zester or minced
- 1 handful basil roughly chopped (about 1/4 cup)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
- 1 1/2 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 simmer for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until cooked al dente. Drain 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.