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Mediterranean Couscous Salad

This Mediterranean couscous salad is perfect for lunches or dinners, with pearl couscous, Persian cucumbers, and sweet tomatoes, all dressed in a tangy and earthy vinaigrette.

Mediterranean Couscous Salad in a tan colored bowl.

Summertime is the ultimate salad season! But salads aren’t just for veggies.

This Mediterranean couscous salad starts with pearl couscous which is a super versatile, plump, and tiny sphere-shaped pasta. It is also sometimes called Israeli couscous.

Then I threw in some Persian cucumbers, chickpeas, and sweet cherry tomatoes, and dressed it all up in a bold and tangy vinaigrette made with white wine vinegar, olive oil, dijon, fresh parsley, and thyme, and flavorful garlic. 

It’s light, yet satisfying, making it a perfect choice for summer gatherings, picnics, or as a wholesome side dish.

So next time you’re looking for a salad that’ll satisfy you, try this Mediterranean couscous salad!

Mediterranean Couscous Salad ingredients on a table.

Ingredients for Mediterranean couscous salad

For salad: 

  • Olive oil – This will help 
  • Pearl couscous – Pearl couscous is plump and perfect for soaking up all that delicious vinaigrette. 
  • Chickpeas – Chickpeas are nutty and creamy. 
  • Persian cucumbers – Persian cucumbers are crunchy and a classic ingredient in Mediterranean cooking.
  • Cherry tomatoes – Cherry tomatoes will add a burst of sweetness!
Vinaigrette whisked in a bowl.

For vinaigrette: 

  • White wine vinegar – White wine vinegar is tangy and bright.
  • Dijon mustard – Dijon mustard will add a boost of bright flavors and help emulsify the dressing.
  • Fresh herbs – I’ve used a combination of parsley and thyme here, for their vibrant and herbaceous qualities.
  • Olive oil – Use the best olive oil you can get!
  • Garlic – A classic ingredient that will add earthiness and a bold punch to the dressing.
Toasted couscous in a pan.
Couscous in a pan with chickpeas.

What is pearl couscous?

Pearl couscous can be found in the pasta aisle, right next to regular couscous; they look like tiny pearls! Sometimes it is also called Israeli couscous.

They’re made with semolina flour, which makes them technically a type of pasta. 

Feel free to use regular couscous instead, if you prefer.

I have used pearl couscous in both my lentil couscous salad with goat cheese and my lamb meatball couscous soup.

Mediterranean Couscous Salad served with extra tomatoes.

What are Persian cucumbers?

Persian cucumbers are widely available in most produce sections of the grocery store.

They’re thin-skinned cucumbers with little to no bitter seeds, and very crunchy. They are also much smaller than normal cucumbers so sometimes they are labeled “mini” cucumbers.

If you can’t find Persian cucumbers, the plastic-wrapped English cucumbers would be my next choice, for the same reasons.

Regular cucumbers can be very seedy and bitter, so if you use those, be sure to scoop the seeds out with a spoon and peel the cucumber before dicing them into your salad. 

If you have ever made THE BEST cucumber salad recipe from my website that also uses Persian cucumbers!

A few other recipes that use this type of cucumber are my summer pasta salad, herbed shrimp orzo salad, grilled sourdough Panzanella salad, and my watermelon Greek salad.

Mediterranean Couscous Salad in a bowl with a fork.


Feel free to make this salad your own, by adding things you love!

Here are a few other additions that would take this salad to the next level:

  • Feta cheese
  • Thinly sliced red onion
  • Kalamata Olives
  • Finely diced red bell pepper

If you’re looking to add a little protein to your salad you could add grilled chicken or grilled shrimp.

What to serve with pearl couscous salad

I think this salad is the perfect summer holiday side dish (Memorial Day, Fourth of July, or Labor Day, etc.) but it also makes a simple side dish for any dinner meal.

Here are a few links for recipes where this Mediterranean couscous salad would pair perfectly!

A fork taking a bite of Mediterranean Couscous Salad.

Storage and leftovers

Any leftover Mediterranean couscous salad can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days. 

Mediterranean Couscous Salad in a bowl.

More salad recipes

Mediterranean Couscous Salad

Author: Brandy O’Neill – Nutmeg Nanny
This Mediterranean couscous salad is perfect for lunches or dinners, with pearl couscous, Persian cucumbers, and sweet tomatoes, all dressed in a tangy and earthy vinaigrette.
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 4 servings


For salad:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup pearl couscous
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 15 ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 2 Persian cucumbers sliced into half-moons
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes halved

For vinaigrette:

  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon fresh parsley minced
  • 1 garlic clove grated
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme minced
  • ½ cup olive oil


For salad

  • Heat a large high-sided skillet or saucepan over medium heat. Add the olive oil and allow it to warm. You want it just warm, not smoking hot. 
  • Next, add the couscous and toast it for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. 
  • Carefully add the water to the couscous and bring it to a boil. Cook for 7 minutes. 
  • Next, add the chickpeas to the couscous and cook for an additional minute. 
  • Drain the couscous and chickpeas and run them under cool water until they are no longer steaming. It’s okay if they’re still warm, we just don’t want them super hot. 
  • Transfer the couscous and chickpeas to the bowl with the vinaigrette.
  • Add the cucumbers and tomatoes and toss to combine. 
  • Season with salt and pepper to taste and enjoy. 
  • Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to three days. 

For vinaigrette 

  • Add the white wine vinegar, dijon, parsley, garlic, and thyme to a large bowl and whisk to combine. 
  • Next drizzle in the olive oil, whisking constantly. Whisk until the vinaigrette is fully emulsified. 
  • Season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside until ready to use. 


Serving: 1g | Calories: 505kcal | Carbohydrates: 37g | Protein: 10g | Fat: 36g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 30g | Sodium: 518mg | Fiber: 8g | Sugar: 7g
Course Side Dishes
Cuisine Mediterranean
Keyword chickpea mediterranean couscous salad, couscous salad, israeli couscous salad, mediterranean salad, pearl couscous salad
Did you try this recipe?Leave a comment and 5 star review!
Mediterranean Couscous Salad pin for Pinterest.

About Brandy!

I am a food lover and recipe developer bringing you delicious recipes that taste great and are easy to make! My food is inspired by travels around the world and my love of flavorful food. A list of things that make me happy: cats, Coke Zero, houseplants, and travel. Read more...

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