Tabouleh Style Couscous Salad

I love couscous! Couscous is type of pasta made with durum wheat that is quick to cook and full of versatility. Originally from North Africa, it has found its way onto tables all over the world. Just like any other pasta, it can be eaten either hot or cold. This tiny pasta has been a staple in my life for many years. If I’m in a rush, I’ll saute up some vegetables with spices and couscous. If I’m camping or backpacking it cooks up with very little effort, is light weight and can be bought pre-seasoned from boxed meals like those from Near East, or Whole Foods brand 365. You can add garbanzo beans for protein, tofu, tempeh or pretty much anything else that you like.

I used to work in a kitchen that required me to make a cold salad everyday. Sometimes I would make it with barley, sometimes quinoa, orzo, bulgur or any other type of grain that happened to be around. My favorite was couscous because I love the texture and taste. It does well with a variety of flavors and doesn’t end up being the bulkiest thing in the salad like regular pasta can do. You don’t have to mix it with a bunch of mayonnaise or oil to make it taste good either. I like to think of it as more of an accent to the other ingredients.

Growing up in the Los Angeles area, I was used to dishes from all over the world. I had friends from many different countries including Brazil, Portugal, Mexico, Iran, Armenia and Lebanon. Tabouleh is a traditional side dish from Lebanon but it has made its way into the cuisine of the surrounding countries. I was always given tabbouleh when I would visit my middle eastern friends. Traditionally Tabouleh is made with bulgur wheat but I much prefer the texture and flavor of couscous. When I was reminiscing recently about the good middle eastern food I used to get on a regular basis, I came up with this recipe.

I’m sure this recipe will satisfy anyone who is craving a fresh and flavorful salad. It is filled with healthy ingredients that will make your mouth water but it is also a very simple dish that requires very little effort. It can easily be made in less than half and hour and be ready for a barbecue or a potluck. If you can’t serve it immediately and make it ahead just add a little extra olive oil to it the moisten it back up. I hope you enjoy this recipe and consider making it next time you have a gathering.


  • 1 1/4 Cups Vegetable Broth or Water
  • 1 Cup Couscous
  • 1/4 olive oil plus 1 Tablespoon for cooking couscous
  • 1 Cup thinly sliced cucumber
  • 1 Pint grape or cherry tomatoes sliced lengthwise in half
  • 1 Cup or 1 bunch of parsley chopped
  • 1/4 Cup mint chopped
  • 1/4 Cup green onion chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  1. Bring vegetable broth or water to a boil with 1 tablespoon of olive oil.
  2. Add couscous, stir well, cover and remove from heat.
  3. Let couscous sit for 5 minutes, covered. After 5 minutes remove lid and fluff with a fork. Allow couscous to cool for about 10 minutes.
  4. While couscous is cooling chop parsley, mint and green onions. Slice tomatoes and cucumbers, and squeeze 2 tablespoons of lemon juice.
  5. Once couscous is cooled, mix all ingredients together in a mixing bowl and serve immediately.

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