This Mediterranean Couscous Salad combines pearl pasta, crisp cucumbers, juicy tomatoes, tender corn and ribbons of fresh spinach to create a healthy, delicious salad. A sunny lemon dressing and lots of fresh herbs take it over the top!
I made myself a bowl of this Mediterranean Couscous Salad before I started writing this post. You know... just to help me explain how crazy delicious it is.
I couldn't decide if it's the tender pear pasta (aka Israeli couscous) the crisp, crunchy cucumbers, the juicy, ripe tomatoes or the sweet, plump corn.
Or could it be the load of vibrant-flavored fresh herbs? The sunny, bright lemon dressing??
Hmmm... After polishing off a second helping I finally came up with the answer. It's all of these wonderful ingredients combined together to create one of the best, most flavorful salads, ever!
A year-round salad
I think this might be my favorite summery salad although I have a feeling I'll be making this all year long. I've been using fresh from the garden (actually, farmer's market) tomatoes recently, but it would also be wonderful with small cherry or grape tomatoes which seem to be sweet and juicy all year long.
What to serve with this Mediterranean Couscous salad
One of the things I love about this salad is that it just goes so well with everything. It's perfect with grilled entrees and, of course, pairs well with anything that's Mediterranean-inspired. Looking for something fun and delicious to serve with burgers? This Mediterranean Couscous Salad is wonderful!
Another thing that's great about this salad is that it's a salad and starch, all in one! Just throw something on the grill or into the oven and this salad is all you need to go with it. Of course, it never hurts to add some warm crusty bread like these delicious and easy Artisan Rolls or a loaf of this Ridiculously Easy Focaccia Bread (below), but that's up to you.
An easy dressing
If you're used to purchasing salad dressings, this one might just change your mind. It's one of those super easy, throw-it-all-in-a-jar-and-shake dressings. It's bright, fresh and loaded with flavor. I love this dressing so much I make a double or triple batch at a time, so I can use it on all sorts of salads.
Make your shopping list and pick up the ingredients next time you're at the grocery store or farmer's market. You'll need lemons, dill, cilantro (or parsley) cucumber, tomatoes, fresh baby spinach, corn and a box (or bag) of pearl pasta. You'll probably want to keep the list handy, as this is one salad you'll be making over and over! Bon Appétit!
Café Tips for making this Lemony Mediterranean Couscous Salad
- Pearl pasta is also known as Israeli couscous. Sometimes it's stocked in the pasta section of the grocery store. Other stores will stock it in the international aisle with the Mediterranean foods or in the kosher section. Whole Foods carries it both packaged and in bulk and you can also find it at Trader Joes or online.
- If you don't care for cilantro, parsley, either curly or Italian, is also wonderful.
- Sometimes I add thin wedges of red onion to this salad. You could also add thinly sliced green onions.
- A sprinkle of crumbled Feta cheese is wonderful on this Mediterranean Couscous Salad.
- To prep this salad ahead;
- Make the dressing and store it in the refrigerator.
- Cook the pasta, drizzle it with olive oil, stir well, cool and refrigerate (bring to room temp before combining with the other ingredients).
- The cucumbers can be cut and stored in a ziplock bag or storage container.
- Slice the spinach into thin ribbons and refrigerate in a ziplock bag or storage container.
- Cook the corn as directed, cut from the cob and drizzle with olive oil. Store in the frig.
- Wait to cut the tomatoes and to chop the herbs until right before tossing the salad.
- This Mediterranean Couscous Salad can be served all year round. When fresh corn isn't in season, just omit it or sub a can of drained chickpeas - delish!
- 8 ounces Israeli couscous also called pearl pasta
- 4 cups chicken broth
- 4 cups water
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- finely grated zest from 1 medium-size lemon
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 medium clove garlic finely minced
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon honey
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 4 ears fresh corn
- 8 cups (5 ounces) baby spinach finely sliced
- 1 medium seedless English cucumber halved (or quartered, if large) and sliced ¼-inch thick
- ½ medium red onion thinly sliced in wedges (optional)
- 2 medium-size tomatoes (cut in bite-sized pieces) (or 2 cups cherry or grape tomatoes)
- 1 cup finely chopped cilantro (or parsley)
- ½ cup finely chopped fresh dil
In a medium-large pot, bring chicken broth and water to a rolling boil. Add couscous and return to a boil, then reduce to a steady low boil and cook for 7-8 minutes or until al dente.
Drain well and transfer to a bowl. Drizzle lightly with olive oil and stir to combine. Set aside to cool. Stir occasionally to facilitate cooling and to keep the pasta from sticking together.
Combine all ingredients in a jar and shake well.
Place the 4 ears of corn in the microwave and cook on high power for 6 minutes. Remove from microwave with a potholder or oven mitt and set aside until cool enough to handle.
Cut about an inch off of the stalk end of the corn, then peel back the husks and silk from the top and discard. Pull off any remaining silk strings.
Lay one ear of corn on a cutting board and, with a sharp knife, cut a strip of kernels off of one side. Place cut side down and continue to cut and rotate until all the corn is removed. Repeat with other 3 ears of corn. Drizzle corn lightly with olive oil and set aside to cool.
Combine all ingredients except the dressing in a large bowl. Toss to combine. Drizzle with 3-4 tablespoons of the dressing and toss again. Serve extra dressing at the table. Serve at room temperature.
See Café Tips above for more detailed instructions and tips.
Recipe adapted from Recipe Tin Eats.
If you enjoyed this recipe, please come back and leave a star rating and review! It’s so helpful to other readers to hear other’s results and ideas for variations.
Thought for the day:
Lord, you have been our dwelling place
throughout all generations.
Before the mountains were born
or you brought forth the whole world,
from everlasting to everlasting you are God.
What we're listening to for inspiration:
If you enjoyed this recipe, please come back and leave a star rating and review! It’s so helpful to other readers to hear your results, adaptations and ideas for variations.