Easy Couscous Salad


August 12, 2010 by Dana

I remember the day that I knew Santa wasn’t real.  When something that I believed was true for so long, no longer was.  It’s not that I didn’t have an inkling.  A clue.  That things didn’t add up.  But I wanted it to be.  So I ignored the truth.  After all, isn’t ignorance bliss?

And then one day, I asked.  I just couldn’t ignore the facts anymore.  How can one man go to every single house in one night?  Why does he look different in every mall?  And why does his handwriting look suspiciously like my mom’s?  So my dad confirmed it.  He’s not real.

Well, today I feel much like I did that day.  I’ve had my suspicions for a while now, and today they’ve been confirmed.  Alas, my beloved couscous is not a whole grain.

Now it might seem like I’m being a little dramatic.  And maybe I am.  But for someone that eats couscous at least weekly, touting that I’m doing my body good by fueling it with whole grain nutrients, this is a big deal. I tend to pride myself on knowing a lot about nutrition for a lay person.  But I’ve been wrong about couscous for so long.  Couscous is not a grain.  In fact, couscous is made of tiny granules of pasta.  I might as well have been eating linguini.

But, there is a silver lining here.  Now that I know for sure that couscous is pasta, I also know that whole wheat and whole grain couscous exists.  So instead of fooling myself into believing that I’m helping myself, I can actually do my body good by eating these substitutes.

So do your body good, and whip up a batch of this light and tasty couscous salad:


1 large tomato
1 large cucumber
¼ cup finely chopped fresh parsley
1 box (about 6 oz) whole wheat couscous
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice
Salt and pepper to taste

Make sure to get good quality tomatoes, cucumbers, and parsley for the best results.  Simplicity is the key with this dish, and the flavors of the fresh ingredients really make it shine.


1.  Cook couscous according to directions on package.

2.  While couscous is cooking, seed tomato and chop tomato and cucumber into bite sized pieces.

3.  Mix cooked couscous, tomato, cucumber and parsley in a medium sized bowl.  Dress with olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper.

This couscous salad is so light and tasty, and can be served hot or cold.  It is a great substitute to heavy mayo pasta or potato salads at a BBQ or the perfect side dish with dinner.  It makes a huge batch of salad, which I happily enjoyed for quite a few days after I made it.

23 thoughts on “Easy Couscous Salad

  1. Susan says:

    You….dramatic….no way!!!!!

  2. Faith says:

    I used to think that pasta was a whole grain too! Now like you said, I try to sub whole wheat couscous. Another great substitute is bulgur wheat, which actually is a whole grain and fluffs up really nicely like couscous. (It’s delicious like couscous too! ;) )

  3. Reeni says:

    I could eat couscous for breakfast, lunch and dinner! I love this – simple but delicious. I always buy the whole grain couscous except when I eat Israeli couscous – I haven’t seen that in whole wheat yet.

  4. Joanne says:

    I have been eating whole wheat couscous nonstop lately and I love it! This salad looks fantastic.

  5. I actually made couscous tonight with dinner! I am going to make this version though next time! As soon as I find the whole wheat one that is! Never knew it wasn’t a whole grain either! Thanks for the info Dana!

  6. Cute post :) I didn’t know this either until reading!

  7. haha, I did know couscous was pasta, but I still love eating it. Maybe try making this with quinoa once in awhile, it would be really good! :)

  8. EG says:

    Actually, quinoa (pronounced Keen-Wah) is a very good substitute for coucous. It is very similar to coucous in size and texture, but its a grain-like crop that is actually a member of the pseudocereal family because its not technically a whole grain or a cereal: what you are eating are the plant’s edible seeds! Very healthy. It cooks just like rice, and I suggest you use chicken stock instead of boiling water for some extra flavor. Plus, according to most Rabbis, quinoa is kosher for passover. Who knew!?

  9. Tes says:

    It looks so fresh and healthy. I would substitue couscous with quinoa, though… :) but I will follow exact recipe,…it’s yummy :)

  10. CC Recipe says:

    Couscous is so good, and a wonderful side dish, I think this salad sounds awesome, light and filling!

  11. Rick says:

    Easy, breezy, beautiful couscous!

  12. Anna says:

    I love couscous specially in salads, but I’m a pig pasta lover too. It’s the italian blood.LOL
    I use most of the time a gluten free pasta made of Jerusalem Artichokes, I find at whole foods. It’s delicious and you can’t really tell the difference. Your salad looks very refreshing. Have a great weekend Dana.

  13. I have not cooked with couscous at all. I’ve been big into quinoa though. Sorry your love didn’t prove to be what you thought it was. :-)

  14. Sprinkledwithflour says:

    Great recipe. I have some whole wheat couscous in the pantry I need to use.

  15. Kristen says:

    Two of my sons learned to love couscous when they were in preschool and it was served as a snack. When I get out the jar of it for a meal, they are still thrilled 10 years later! My whole family would love this salad.

  16. Beth says:

    Thanks for the info. Great salad.

    Plan B

  17. Awesome dish! I just made it tonight with the leftover couscous I had from the other night. I just cut back a little since it wasn’t a full box of couscous anymore. I also chopped the tomato and cucumber smaller to make it look like more. Loved it! Even my husband loved it! I still have leftovers too! Lunch tomorrow!

  18. I think that is so common to think that couscous is a whole grain, subbing the whole wheat variety is a great way to up the nutritional value!
    I just recently made a couscous & veggie salad – and I agree, the leftovers are perfect for lunch!

  19. […] know what you’re thinking.  You think I’m being dramatic.  That I’m overreacting.  I guess I’ve earned that.  But seriously…. Just look at this […]

  20. […] ingredient!  Entries can include regular or whole wheat couscous (you already know my feelings on that subject), and can be of the Moroccan, Israeli, or Lebanese […]

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