I love it when I find new salads or summer side dishes that can be made ahead to marinate all day or made on the fly to eat up right then and there. This salad is one of those salads that tastes great either way. This is the perfect salad to bring to a potluck, picnic or to serve up in your own backyard. It’s full of summer flavor from the fresh mint, parsley and cherry tomatoes. We love pairing this salad with chicken drumsticks and one of my kale salads for a family backyard dinner. You can really make this a year round salad by adding seasonal ingredients to the mixture, like asparagus in the spring, cauliflower or broccoli in the winter.
I made this salad up last night to bring to my friend Yvonne’s house for a girls dinner. I paired it with my grilled bruschetta with heirloom tomatoes and my kid friendly caesar salad. It was the perfect throw together summer dinner because I made everything ahead of time. I made up the couscous salad earlier in the day, made the croutons and salad dressing for the caesar salad the night before and then threw everything together at Yvonne’s house come dinner. If you get a bunch of great side dishes, you can make a meal out of them. Here’s a photo of our backyard picnic dinner.
Israeli couscous salad:
recipe from Bon Appetit
- 1 1/2 cups cooked Israeli couscous also called pearl couscous (1 cup dry will yield 1 1/2 cups cooked)
- 1 small shallot (aprox 2 tablespoons), finely chopped
- 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 English cucumber, unpeeled, seeded and finely chopped
- 1 pint of cherry/grape tomatoes, halved
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
- sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Here’s what Israeli couscous looks like, incase you haven’t seen it before. You can find it near the boxed couscous in the grocery store.
Cook your Israeli couscous according to package directions. 1 cup dry makes 1 1/2 cups cooked couscous. Make sure to keep any eye on the couscous as it’s cooking because it tends to cook up quicker than the package says, at least in my case.
After the couscous is cooked, drain it and then rinse it immediately with cold water, and then drain well. I had to use a fine mesh strainer to drain my couscous as the holes in my normal strainer are a bit too large. I also used a spatula to get the couscous out of the pan as it was a bit sticky. The cold water rinse stops the cooking and prevents the couscous from sticking together as it cools. Note: The couscous will be sticky before you rinse it.
While your couscous is cooking or cooling, finely chop your shallot. You don’t need a big shallot for this recipe. Below is a picture of the size I used and it yielded 2 tablespoons once it was chopped. Rinse your cucumber, cut off the ends, cut it into slices lengthwise, take a knife and slice off the seeds, then finely chop up the cucumber. I’m showing you step-by-step photos below just in-case you needed to see the process.
Squeeze up your 2 tablespoons lemon juice, rinse and cut your cherry tomatoes in half, and rinse and finely chop up your parsley and mint. Now that all of your ingredients are prepped, it’s time to assemble the salad.
You can make this salad the day before for an event, just omit the mint and parsley, cover and chill the salad, and then fold in the freshly chopped mint and parsley before serving.