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A Pesto Couscous Salad Recipe in a white bowl with a serving spoon.

Israeli Couscous Salad

  • Author: Cindy Munson
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x


Delicious and ready in under 30-minutes! A quick and easy side dish. Or add a protein, such as chicken, tofu, or shrimp and this salad is the BEST lickety-split main dish! Enjoy!




1 box couscous

1 jar pesto, storebought or homemade pesto

2 tablespoons olive or avocado oil

1/21 jar kalamata olives, rinsed, halved lengthwise

salt, to taste, I use 1/2 tsp

freshly ground pepper, to taste

feta cheese, to taste

1 bunch fresh basil, sliced

Optional Add-Ins






grape tomatoes, halved

English cucumber, chopped

bell pepper, diced

white beans


pine nuts


Prepare the dry couscous in boiling water, according to the directions on the package. Cook; stir occasionally; until al dente, about 10 minutes. Drain and rinse under cold water.

Meanwhile, make a homemade pesto recipe or use prepared pesto. Chop or slice any add-ins you are planning to use.

Combine rinsed couscous, pesto, oil, basil, and olives in a large bowl. Fold in any optional add-ins. Season with salt and pepper. (Olives are salty, so be sure to taste as you salt.) Mix gently. Garnish with feta and basil. Serve immediately.

The salad can also be made ahead and refrigerated. If chilled, I like to spray or drizzle Avocado oil on the top and gently fold in to “refresh” and moisten it.


Couscous. Israeli couscous can be trickier to achieve the desired firmness than pasta. The liquid amounts of most brands I have tried have yet to suggest enough liquid. You may need to pay closer attention while cooking couscous than pasta and might want to adjust liquid amounts. Follow the directions on the package, but adjust if necessary. I typically use a 1 2/3 cups liquid or broth to 1 cup couscous ratio.

Storing. Couscous salad is best made fresh but holds up well for 2 days. You can also improve the moisture level by adding more pesto. If you are making it ahead, simply keep the pesto dressing separate from the couscous.

Serves 4 as a meal or 6 – 8 as a side.

  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Category: Salad
  • Method: Boiling
  • Cuisine: Greek

Keywords: Israeli couscous, couscous, salad, salad recipe, pesto, feta cheese, basil, capers

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