Light and refreshing, my Israeli couscous salad is a delectable option to spoon into a bowl and enjoy outdoors on a warm, sunny day. Tossed together with a lemon-herb vinaigrette and filled with chunks of grilled albacore tuna, strips of roasted peppers, capers and Kalamata olives, this bright and cool salad is a delectably healthy lunch!
Israeli Couscous Becomes a Refreshing Salad
Israeli couscous (otherwise known as pearl couscous) is a terrific pick for an absolutely mouthwatering, bright and tangy salad.
I just love being able to take a portion outdoors to enjoy in the sunshine on a beautiful, mild day!
Filled with chunks of lean, grilled tuna, sweet-smoky strips of roasted red and yellow peppers, sun-dried tomatoes, capers, Kalamata olives, plus minced shallots, this fresh little protein-packed Israeli couscous salad also boasts a bright lemon-herb vinaigrette to tie all of these Mediterranean inspired flavors together.
It's a fantastic salad recipe to prep early in the week to have on hand for lunch, or even a light dinner!
My Recipe for Israeli Couscous Salad with Lemon-Herb Vinaigrette
Contrary to its name, Israeli couscous is actually not couscous, but rather tiny toasted balls of pasta.
Traditional couscous is prepared in about 5 minutes by combining equal parts couscous and boiling water in a pot until all the water is absorbed.
But Israeli couscous is best toasted first, then simmered in about double the amount of water to couscous for about 10 to 12 minutes, or until tender. (I typically then just drain the Israeli couscous in a strainer to remove any remaining water, and rinse it a bit to remove excess starch.)
I really love the texture of Israeli couscous, which is terrifically toothsome, with a little al dente “bite” to it.
It's a terrific candidate for a vibrant salad, one that's brimming with an abundance of healthy ingredients plus a tangy and herby vinaigrette!
Here's a glance at my Israeli couscous salad recipe: (or just jump to the full recipe...)
- To get started, I cook my Israeli couscous to have ready and on hand.
- While the couscous cooks, I marinate some albacore tuna in a simple seasoning, and whisk or shake up my lemon vinaigrette.
- Once my couscous is cooked and ready, I drain and rinse it, then set it aside to cool.
- Next, I grill my tuna on a grill pan for just a couple of minutes per side, until slightly golden. I cut the tuna steaks into chunks, and set aside.
- To assemble my Israeli couscous salad, I add everything into a large bowl and drizzle in about half the lemon-herb vinaigrette, or to taste. Using a large spoon, I combine everything very well.
- To serve, I spoon into bowls immediately, or place the Israeli couscous salad into the fridge to chill, to enjoy at a later time.
Israeli Couscous Salad
by Ingrid Beer
This Israeli couscous salad is brimming with grilled tuna, roasted peppers, olives, sun-dried tomatoes, and a bright lemon-herb vinaigrette!
Yield: Serves 4
Nutrition Info: 547 calories per serving
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 25 minutes
Total time: 45 minutes
Israeli Couscous Salad Ingredients:
- Olive oil
- 1 cup Israeli couscous
- Black pepper
- 2 cups water
- 1 pound albacore tuna steaks (frozen and thawed, or fresh)
- 1 teaspoon granulated garlic
- 1 teaspoon granulated onion
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- ¾ cup julienned sun-dried tomatoes (dry, not packed in oil)
- 1 cup julienned fire-roasted red and yellow peppers (packed in water or oil)
- ¼ cup chopped Kalamata olives
- 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon capers
- 1 (heaping) tablespoon finely minced shallot or red onion
Lemon-Herb Vinaigrette Ingredients:
- 3 cloves garlic, pressed through garlic press
- ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest
- 1 ½ teaspoons yellow mustard
- 1 tablespoon teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 2 teaspoons chopped, flat-leaf parsley
- ½ cup olive oil
- Black pepper
- Begin by gathering and prepping all of your couscous salad ingredients according to the ingredient list above to have ready and organized for use.
- To prepare the Israeli couscous, place a medium size nonstick pot over medium-high heat, and add about 1 tablespoon of the oil. Once hot, add in the Israeli couscous and toast it for a couple of minutes in the oil. Then, add in the water, plus a couple of pinches of salt and pepper, and bring to the boil. Then, reduce the heat and simmer the couscous, uncovered, for about 10 to 12 minutes, or until tender.
- While the Israeli couscous cooks, season your tuna steaks with a drizzle of olive oil, a couple of pinches of salt and pepper, plus the granulated garlic and onion, and the Italian seasoning. Marinate while you prep you vinaigrette, and finish cooking your couscous.
- Gather and prep all of your lemon-herb vinaigrette ingredients according to the ingredient list above to have ready and organized for use. To prepare the vinaigrette, add all of the vinaigrette ingredients to a mason jar, and cover with the lid. Shake the vinaigrette very well until completely blended, and set aside.
- Once the couscous is tender, then drain it through a sieve to remove excess water, and give it a quick rinse under cool water. Set aside to allow to completely drain.
- To grill the tuna, place your grill pan over medium-high heat, and once hot, add the tuna steaks and grill for about 2 to 3 minutes per side, or until golden and cooked through. Cut the steaks into bite-size chunks.
- To assemble the Israeli couscous salad, add all of the ingredients (excluding the vinaigrette) to a large bowl, then drizzle in about half of the lemon-herb vinaigrette (or as much as you desire). Toss with a large spoon to combine all of the ingredients, then serve immediately or keep covered and chilled in the fridge until ready to enjoy.
Tips & Tidbits for my Israeli Couscous Salad recipe:
- Albacore tuna steaks, or other options: You can use either fresh or frozen and thawed tuna steaks, and I usually opt for albacore. However, you can substitute any type of fish that you like! You can use another variety of tuna, or even sub swordfish or salmon here. You could even sub chunks of canned tuna for convenience.
- Good quality roasted peppers, and other morsels: For this Israeli couscous salad, you can pretty much add whatever Mediterranean-inspired ingredients that you like. I love the natural sweetness found in jarred, red and yellow roasted red peppers packed in water. Other tasty options or substitutions are marinated artichoke hearts, or hearts of palm.
- Prepare ahead to have Israeli couscous salad on hand: This bright and tasty salad keeps well for a few days, so I typically like to prep it on a Sunday to have on hand going into my work week. This way, I just spoon some into a bowl and enjoy!
Cook's Note: This recipe was originally published in 2013, and has been updated with even more love!