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Pearl couscous salad in a deep white bowl with vinegrette pouring over it.
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5 from 3 votes

Mediterranean Couscous salad

This pearl couscous salad is healthy, flavorful and so easy. Serves as a side dish, lunch or light dinner. Fruity, tangy and packed with flavors can be served cold or warm.
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Total Time15 mins
Course: Salad
Cuisine: Mediterranean, Middle East
Diet: Halal, Vegan
Servings: 6 servings
Calories: 279kcal
Author: Amira


For the couscous:

  • 1 cup (5oz / 145gm) dry pearl couscous
  • 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/4 cup (300 ml) water or broth
  • Salt and pepper to taste

For the salad:

  • 3 cups (65 gm) baby arugula
  • 1/2 cup (3 oz / 87gm) pomegranate seeds
  • 1/4 cup (2oz / 60gm) red onion chopped

For the dressing:

  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 Tablespoons (44 ml) pomegranate molasses.
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt or to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon water.

For garnishing:

  • 1/2 cup (2oz / 54gm) chopped pecan/walnuts or pistachios


Cook the couscous:

  • In a sauce pan over medium heat, add extra virgin olive oil.
  • Add couscous and toast for 1-2 minutes.
  • Pour water in and season with salt and pepper.
  • Bring to a boil then cover and simmer for 10 minutes.
  • Remove from heat and use a fork to fluff and separate couscous, let it cool down.
  • Couscous might clump together but it will separate when making the salad.

Make the dressing:

  • In a jar or measuring cup whisk the dressing ingredients well together until sugar and salt dissolves. Set aside.

Make the salad:

  • In a large bowl, combine salad ingredients and couscous.
  • Pour over dressing and toss to coat well.
  • Garnish with chopped nuts.
  • Serve immediately


  • Toast couscous first in extra virgin olive oil as this brings out a nice nutty flavor and makes the color more appealing.
  • I liked cooking the couscous with only water and no broth or stock involved. You can use vegetable broth or any broth you like.
  • If you are not making it vegan, you can toast the couscous in a combination of olive oil and butter for more flavor.
  • This recipe should be served immediately, or at most within an hour. This is because arugula tends to welt quickly.
  • Make Ahead:
    • You can make this salad 24 hours ahead, just do not add the arugula and mix everything together then refrigerate. When ready to serve add in the arugula.
  • Variations:
    • You can substitute regular couscous for the pearl couscous.
    • Pearl couscous also goes by the name Israeli couscous in many countries.
    • Play with the recipe and change the greens, use baby spinach or mixed salad greens.
    • Feta cheese, black olives, green olives, artichoke hearts, fresh mozzarella and also beans and chickpeas are among the famous ingredients to add on to your couscous salad. So do not limit yourself.
  • Serve with:


Calories: 279kcal | Carbohydrates: 28g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 17g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Sodium: 201mg | Potassium: 167mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 248IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 34mg | Iron: 1mg