My favorite dishes are ones that can play multiple roles — they can be called dinner, lunch, or a side depending on your mood and hunger level. This couscous salad is just that. Chewy Israeli couscous joins with chickpeas, cherry tomatoes, feta cheese, and lots of fresh herbs to make a salad that can be eaten any time of day (and at any temperature). Serve it on its own for lunch, pile it on top of greens for dinner, or serve it next to chicken, fish, or steak as a satisfying side.
A Mediterranean Pasta Salad That’s Anything You Want It to Be
Israeli couscous, also called pearl couscous, is the star of this salad. Since it’s larger than regular couscous, each scoop of salad is chewy and textured. Both regular and Israeli couscous are made from semolina flour — the same flour used to make dry pasta, which means they’re essentially a type of pasta, too.
These days, Israeli couscous is easy to find at most grocery stores. If you happen to come across whole-wheat Israeli couscous, I urge you to give it a try. The darker brown pearls have extra fiber and nutrients, which boosts the wholesomeness of the dish. Either way, though, this salad is filled with plenty of good things.
Israeli Couscous Salad with Feta, Chickpeas, and Herbs
- 4 tablespoons
olive oil, divided
small shallot, finely chopped (about 2 tablespoons)
- 2 tablespoon
red wine vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon
kosher salt, divided
- 1/4 teaspoon
freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup
regular or whole wheat Israeli (pearl) couscous
- 2 cups
- 1 (15-ounce) can
chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 1 pint
cherry tomatoes, halved (about 2 cups)
- 4 ounces
feta cheese, crumbled (about 1 cup)
- 1/4 cup
loosely packed chopped fresh parsley leaves
- 2 tablespoons
chopped fresh oregano leaves
Whisk 3 tablespoons of the olive oil, shallot, vinegar, 1/4 teaspoon of the salt, and pepper in a large bowl until combined; set aside.
Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a large saucepan over medium heat until shimmering. Add the couscous and toast, stirring occasionally, until light golden-brown, about 3 minutes. Add the water and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, stir to combine, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer uncovered until the couscous is tender, about 10 minutes. Drain the couscous through a fine-mesh strainer to remove any excess cooking liquid.
Transfer the hot couscous to the bowl of dressing, add the chickpeas, and stir to combine. Let sit 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, to cool slightly and let the flavors meld. Stir in the tomatoes, feta, and herbs. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Make ahead: The salad can be made a day ahead without herbs and refrigerated overnight. Let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes to take the chill off and stir in the fresh herbs before serving.
Storage: Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
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