Cucumber and Israeli Couscous Salad Recipe (2024)

By Martha Rose Shulman

Cucumber and Israeli Couscous Salad Recipe (1)

Total Time
About 30 minutes
Read community notes

I love this tabbouleh-like mixture because of all the herbs and refreshing flavors, and also because of the nice contrast in textures. Make sure that you cook the couscous until the spheres are tender but not gummy. I have seen package directions that call for too little water; make sure you cook them in twice their volume of water.

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Yield:6 to 8 servings

  • ¼cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1cup Israeli couscous
  • 6 to 8tablespoons fresh lemon juice, to taste
  • 3cups chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley (from 3 large bunches)
  • ¼cup chopped fresh mint
  • ½pound ripe tomatoes, very finely chopped
  • ¾pound cucumbers (1 European or 4 Persian), seeded if using regular cucumbers, cut in fine dice
  • 1bunch scallions, finely chopped, or ¼ cup chopped chives
  • Salt to taste
  • 1romaine lettuce heart, leaves separated, washed and dried

Ingredient Substitution Guide

Nutritional analysis per serving (8 servings)

175 calories; 7 grams fat; 1 gram saturated fat; 0 grams trans fat; 5 grams monounsaturated fat; 1 gram polyunsaturated fat; 24 grams carbohydrates; 4 grams dietary fiber; 3 grams sugars; 5 grams protein; 426 milligrams sodium

Note: The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

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Cucumber and Israeli Couscous Salad Recipe (2)


  1. Step


    Heat one tablespoon of the olive oil over medium-high heat in a medium saucepan and add the couscous. Stir until the couscous begins to color and smell toasty, 4 to 5 minutes. Add 2 cups water and salt to taste and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover and simmer 15 minutes, or until the couscous is tender. Drain if any liquid remains in the pan.

  2. Step


    Transfer the couscous to a large bowl and toss with the lemon juice, parsley, mint, tomatoes, cucumbers, scallions or chives and salt to taste. Add the olive oil, toss together, taste and adjust seasonings. Serve with lettuce leaves.


  • Advance preparation: This will keep for a day in the refrigerator, though the bright green color will fade because of the lemon juice.



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Cooking Notes


I've made this recipe regularly and love it. I would note that there is no instruction to chill the couscous after it's cooked, but I find a cold salad more refreshing. I would recommend tossing the couscous with a little oil after it is cooked and drained, then chill it before adding the other ingredients. I think 3 cups of parsley is too much so I go light on that. But I am generous with the mint. I always add some feta cheese at the end for a sharp, salty tang.


Excellent refreshing, quick, and easy.

I substituted cilantro for the Italian parsley, and a smaller amount of minced shallot than the scallions. Also added 2 minced Serrano peppers for a bit of heat. Will make this often.

Laura G.

This was a very helpful recipe. I was looking to use up avocados, not cucumbers, so substituted those, and used a mixture of the Israeli couscous. I didn't use the tomatoes--trying to create something thoroughly *green*. Also, I think the 2/1 ratio for couscous that's ordinarily recommended (as here) is a bit high and can result in mushy couscous. I use around 1.75/1.


Just made this. Absolutely delicious. Love the idea of toasting the couscous.


I've made this with crumbled feta on top and it was wonderful. I've also made a similar dish substituting orzo for the couscous, and it also was great.


Prepared it last evening. Easy and tasty. The couscous was a nice change from the tabouleh. My husband suggested adding crumbled feta cheese as well. We will try that with the leftover salad.

Michael and Amanda eggen

This was such a refreshing summer salad!!! I absolutely recommend this salad for anyone looking for something light but filling.


I had every ingredient on hand except for the couscous. I substituted quinoa and although it wasn't toasted as the cous cous would have been, the resulting salad was delicious.


I cooked the couscous in chicken broth instead of water and I went a little heavy on the lemon juice. Delicious salad that the whole family enjoyed.


Use only 2 cups of parsley, not 3


Added some chopped calamata and feta, went a little lighter on the parsley sine that’s what I had on hand. Was really good!


I'm generous with the herbs (although I swapped out the parsley for cilantro) and make the couscous in vegetable stock for additional flavor. I also like to add feta and sumac if I have them on hand.The salad keeps well and makes good leftovers. It's refreshing and perfect for summer.

Lauren G.

Lovely. I used whole wheat cous cous and it was delightful. I also recommend adding feta. Olives would also be tasty.

philly girl

Just made this. Added 1/2 tsp cumin as the couscous browned. Then cooled it and placed in fridge. Brought to room temp and adding the other ingredients later, about 1/2 hour before serving. Needs a peppery olive oil, not a bland supermarket blend.


I highly recommend adding 1 teaspoon of sumac (more to taste) to this recipe. It adds a distinct tang in addition to the lemon juice!


I cooked the couscous in chicken broth instead of water and I went a little heavy on the lemon juice. Delicious salad that the whole family enjoyed.

Cara Roxanne

I made this almost exactly as is (reduced the olive oil to 2 tablespoons from 1/4 cup, my preference) and thought it was perfect. So herby, light, refreshing! Served with some feta as suggested in the comments!

Elisabeth Moise

Love this recipe - Love Israeli salad! I have used this with quinoa as well! Sometime cilantro, sometimes parsley, sometimes is such a flexible and yummy recipe

Joe Dubbs

Delicious, refreshing and easy. As some others have noted, chilling the couscous after cooking and serving this dish cold is great for a hot summer day.


This was simple and delicious. Perfect for brunch or a side dish at dinner. I listened to others and cut back on the parsley; I only used two bunches instead of three. In addition to a decent amount of kosher salt, I also added a teaspoon of honey to balance the acidity of the lemon. Delish! I’ll definitely make it again and will add feta and some chopped kalamata olives next time.

Ashley Trowbridge

Excellent summer meal option. I used the Trader Joe's Harvest Blend which contains Israeli Couscous, red quinoa, baby garbanzos and orzo pasta. Gave the salad a nice texture. I omitted the mint (it had gone bad by the time I made this) but still found this to be light & refreshing. A great lunch with some hummus on the side, and could be a nice dinner side with grilled chicken.


use less lemon juice


don't add mint


I enjoyed the heck out of this! Good tip about boiling couscous with more water than the package suggested. I added diced radishes and accidentally forgot the tomatoes, still tasted great!

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Cucumber and Israeli Couscous Salad Recipe (2024)
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