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couscous salad


I make this salad all the time in the summer. It’s got couscous and chickpeas tossed with lots of fresh ingredients, like cucumbers, tomatoes, green onions, and cilantro. There’s a good amount of freshly-squeezed lemon juice, some salt + pepper, and a touch of olive oil. I also add feta, but that’s optional.

couscous salad

My strategy is to make a big batch of this salad in the morning, and then snack on bowls of it throughout the day or pack it in a container to bring with me.

This salad travels really well. I mostly take it to libraries. When I was in grad school, I did most of my work in libraries. I needed lunch options that were portable, easy to eat while staring at Word documents on my computer, and didn’t require any more refrigeration than library air-conditioning provides. This salad covered all those needs. As it turns out, I still do most of my work in libraries in my post-grad school life. So, I’m still making and eating a lot of this salad.

This one is a no-brainer and endlessly customizable, I think. Not a fan of cilantro? Add something else, like chopped mint or parsley. I made a batch of this salad the other day and my cuke was looking a little worse for the wear, so I subbed chopped raw zucchini instead. You could throw some nuts in. When I don’t have lemons on hand, I just use a couple of shakes of red wine vinegar instead. You get the idea.

Happy summer salad-ing!   ~Inge

Really easy couscous salad

I didn’t include exact amounts for the veggies because you can really do what you want. I mean, it’s your salad, do what you like! I included suggested amounts of lemon juice and olive oil even though I never measure anything when I make this. I usually use the juice from about 3 lemons, depending on how juicy they are. I like this salad on the lemon-y side. And I definitely use just a touch of olive oil. Adjust for your own tastes, of course. 

1 cup uncooked couscous
1 cup boiling water
¼ teaspoon salt
1 can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
little tomatoes (cherry, grape, etc.), cut in half
cucumber, chopped
green onions, thinly sliced
handful of cilantro, chopped
lemon juice (2-4 tablespoons)
olive oil (1-2 teaspoons)
feta crumbles, optional

First, make the couscous. Put the uncooked couscous with the salt in a bowl large enough for the entire salad. Add 1 cup boiling water and put a plate over the top of the bowl. No need to stir! Let the water do its thing with the couscous for about 5 minutes. Then, take the plate off the top of the bowl and fluff the couscous with a fork.

Then, prep all of the other ingredients and just toss them in as they are ready. Add the lemon juice and olive oil at the end. Add salt + pepper, to taste. Have a small bite and see if you need to add more of anything. If I’m storing the salad to eat later, I find that I sometimes need to add more lemon juice before eating to perk it up a bit.


3 thoughts on “couscous salad

  1. I made this today! I had most of the ingredients (except cous cous and little tomatoes) and I actually needed to use them up, and this worked really well. I had some for lunch and am now bringing it to a BBQ. I’ll be making this one again, to bring to the libraries of my life!!

    • I love the idea that this salad will now be making its way across libraries in Canada and possibly Hong Kong. I should rename this one The Traveling Library Salad!

  2. Oh I love couscous! Miss it a lot actually, as it’s not that common here in Hong Kong. I like reading your recipes, Inge. It’s like listening to you talk! Miss you, too! hehe =)

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