9 Fresh and Healthy Couscous Salads

A healthy salad doesn’t have to fall back on a bed of lettuce. Start with a couscous base. Then add your favorite salad components to create an easy lunch break meal or a family dinner side dish. While many people mistake couscous for a type of pasta, this North African dish requires its own category. The high-protein wheat that creates couscous is crushed rather than ground up like pasta wheats. The Moroccan version is most common in the States. It’s softer and finer than quinoa but works just as well tossed in a salad as buried beneath a stew. But don’t exclude its cousin, Israeli couscous, from your pantry. Also known as pearl couscous, the firm, round beads offer a chewier texture. Before boxed up and sold in grocery stores, Israeli couscous undergoes a toasting process that contributes to its subtle nutty flavor. It easily absorbs spices and seasonings, complimenting a variety of salad add-ins. With either type you choose, a refreshing couscous salad—packed with fruits, vegetables, or kept simple and classic—awaits.

Fruity

Strawberry Avocado Couscous

With fresh berries, diced avocado, and corn, this recipe bursts with spring colors. Pine nuts blend in with pearl-sized couscous to compliment its nutty flavor. (Recipe and Photo: Damn Delicious)

Strawberry Avocado Couscous

Greek Couscous Salad with Watermelon and Feta

Don’t wait for summer to enjoy this sweet and tangy watermelon-feta combination. We want to pack this along for the first cookout of the season. (Recipe and photo: Katie at the Kitchen Door)

Greek Couscous Salad with Watermelon and Feta

Rosewater Scented Couscous with Oranges and Pistachios

Yogurt and citrus create a creamy yet fruity Mediterranean-inspired dish. Cinnamon and rose water mix with the couscous to compliment a refreshing recipe. (Recipe and photo: Mediterranealicious)

Rosewater Scented Couscous with Oranges and Pistachios

Vegetable-packed

Pearl Couscous Vegetable Salad

Golden squash and potatoes brighten up a simple Israeli couscous salad. We like how Jordyn adds vegetable broth for extra flavor. (Recipe and photo: Butter Than Toast)

Pearl Couscous Vegetable Salad

Couscous Salad with Arugula, Almonds and Olives

Arugula offers a healthy serving of greens while vibrant red peppers and sliced almonds add crunch to a honey-sweetened couscous dressing. (Recipe and photo: Green Valley Kitchen)

Couscous Salad with Arugula, Almonds and Olives

Mediterranean Couscous Salad

We never say no to artichokes and olives. And with a garlic, thyme, and oregano seasoning, Jonathan’s recipe soaks up every flavor of the Mediterranean. (Recipe and photo: The Candid Appetite)

Mediterranean Couscous Salad

Classic

Dried Cranberry Couscous Salad

Dried cranberries add a special sweetness to to a simple tomato, feta, and cucumber couscous salad. Toss this together over the weekend, and you’re set for lunch next week. (Recipe and photo: My San Francisco Kitchen)

Dried Cranberry Couscous Salad

Moroccan Couscous with Grilled Cherry Tomatoes and Many Herbs

Lemon, mint, and caramelized onions merge together while roasted almonds compliment the couscous’ soft texture. Ready-to-burst grilled cherry tomatoes brighten up this summery dish. (Recipe and photo: Milk and Honey)

Moroccan Couscous with Grilled Cherry Tomatoes and Many Herbs

Refreshing Couscous Mint Salad

Keep dinner simple with a few peppers, carrots, and mint. You can throw this classic couscous combination together with ingredients that already stock the fridge. (Recipe and photo: Curious Forks)

Refreshing Couscous Mint Salad