This vibrant Israeli couscous salad is a brilliant side dish recipe for your next barbecue. It's also delicious as a main meal, especially with a little feta cheese. Or why not put it in a packed lunch or picnic?
One of my favourite chefs as far as food is concerned is Jamie Oliver. I love his cookery books as the recipes are easy to follow and I've never found anything not to work.
He also likes lots of the flavours I like such as chilli, garlic and lemon. He throws things together and doesn't worry too much about presentation.
Well, maybe he does, but he doesn't give the impression that he does. As I can't claim to produce the prettiest looking food, this is another thing I like to think I have in common with Mr Oliver.
Anyway, going back to the food, when I found out that I Heart Cooking Clubs was going to be concentrating on recipes by Jamie Oliver for the next 6 months, I decided it was a great excuse to get out my Jamie books and do some Jamie inspired meals.
This week the theme was Happy Days and we needed to choose a recipe that would make us happy. As I have the Happy Days with the Naked Chef book I decided it was the most appropriate place to look for such a recipe.
Ingredients for this salad
To make this couscous salad you'll need:
- Israeli (giant) couscous - But you can use plain old ordinary couscous too. Or orzo.
- Tomatoes - Any tomatoes work. You can use cherry tomatoes or larger tomatoes.
- Black olives - Use green ones if you don't have black ones. I like the way the black ones are a little stronger and stand out visually but just use your favourite ones!
- Chives - Definitely use fresh chives if you can but if you don't have any then you can use dried ones.
- Basil - Again, you really need fresh basil you make this salad taste it's best but if you are just making a quick and easy side and only have dried herbs then that's fine.
- Garlic - I use one fresh garlic clove.
- White wine vinegar - You could substitute this with cider vinegar.
- Extra virgin olive oil - The best olive oil will make a real difference!
- Seasoning - a pinch of salt and black pepper
Inspired by Jamie Oliver's best pasta salad
Although this side salad uses couscous, it's actually inspired by a Jamie Oliver pasta salad. When I came across The Best Pasta Salad, a simple, easy but tasty looking dish I'd never tried before, I decided it was perfect for the new springlike weather we are having. I adapted it a bit in terms of ingredients and quantities.
Firstly, I didn't use small pasta shells but Israeli couscous. Secondly, I didn't have any yellow cherry tomatoes so I used large red tomatoes. I also felt that 3 cloves of raw garlic was quite a lot! Although I made a slightly smaller quantity, I only used one garlic clove.
Can you make this Israeli couscous salad in advance?
This is a great salad to make in advance as the flavours have even more time to develop. I often make it earlier in the day or the day before. Because it can be made in advance it's a great salad for buffets or parties.
If you do make it advance it keeps well in the fridge for up to three days.
If you're looking for more easy recipes that can be made in advance or make enough for more than one meal then do check out my Cook Once Eat Twice recipe collection.
How could you adapt this Israeli couscous salad?
This salad is so versatile and there are endless ways you could adapt it. In fact, I'd advise just using the recipe as a starting point and then altering it as you fancy.
First of all, you don't have to use Israeli couscous. You could use normal couscous, pasta, rice or another grain.
You could vary the herbs depending on what you have at the time and which your favourite ones are. Parsley or coriander (cilantro) would work really well in here.
If you don't like or have black olives then use green ones. Feel free to vary the vegetables a little. Red pepper would go well as would some finely diced red or spring onions.
Finally, use your favourite vinegar. It doesn't have to be white wine vinegar. Cider, sherry or even balsamic vinegar will do. And if you don't have vinegar? Try lemon juice!
By the way, if you love eating salads for dinner then why not check out my recipe collection for main meal salads?
More Delicious Side Salad Recipes
I love making light salads throughout the year and these are some of my favourite easy side salads:
Israeli Couscous Salad
- 200 g Israeli (giant) couscous
- 300 g tomatoes diced
- 20 g black olives diced
- 1 tablespoon chives chopped
- 1 tablespoon basil chopped
- ½ cucumber diced
- 1 clove garlic crushed
- 2 tablespoon white wine vinegar
- 4 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- Pinch salt
- Pinch black pepper
- Cook the couscous according to the pack instructions. When ready, rinse in cold water and leave to drain.
- While the couscous is cooking, prepare all the vegetables.
- Put all the vegetables and herbs into a large bowl. Add the salt, pepper, vinegar, garlic and olive oil. Mix. Add the couscous. Mix again. Taste and adjust the seasonings if necessary.
Katie Crenshaw | A Fork's Tale
I love everything about this salad. It has all of my favorite stuff. I can't wait to make this.
Thanks Katie! It's simple but very tasty and keeps really well in the fridge for the next day too.
I love Isreali couscous, sadly I have been unable to find it for a while... BUt will definitely be giving this a try when I do, it sounds delicious!
I hope you manage to pick some up soon! It makes a nice change from regular couscous which I use a lot in salads.
Hi Corina your your salad looks really delicious and fresh, perfect for summer days.
Yes! I don't know about with you but here it just feels too hot to do much cooking.
Looks like the perfect Summer salad!
Thanks Amanda! I'm so pleased you'd like it too.
Julie @ Running in a Skirt
I love light and festive salads like this! So much flavor for the summer season.
Thanks Julie! I love colourful recipes like this in summer and it's great to keep in the fridge as a side dish too.
The salad looks so lovely and fresh, great for livening up a lunchbox!
This does look pretty and healthy and crunchy. Nice touch with the couscous and as my fav is basil, this will make a lovely change to our usual summer salads. Wonderful.
Yummie, I love Israeli couscous...so tasty with tomatoes, cucumber and all the herbs...very refreshing. Great pictures! Have a great week ahead 🙂
It's beautiful and I'll wager very very tasty. I love the way you've used olives here. This would be a welcome addition to my table. Have a great day. Blessings...Mary
Great idea to use the Israeli couscous! Lovely salad, great colours. ☺
This salad looks so healthy, colorful and full of flavor and I love Israeli couscous. 😉 Great pick!
Beautiful presentation and I know the taste must be sublime.
So glad that you could join us at IHCC to celebrate Jamie. This salad would make me very happy. Love that you used couscous. Looks terrific!
If this is half as healthy as it looks and tastes half as good as I imagine, it might just become my go-to recipe to keep in the fridge or eat on the run.
This looks heavenly, perfect for going into summer. Seems like it would also be a good portable lunch/picnic item. Thanks for posting I will definitely have to try it out!
This is colorful, healthy and must be delicious as well!
Ciao ! Thanks for suggesting this very happy recipe !
What a beautiful salad...definitely makes for happy days!
I love love love this salad! The olives provide the saltiness, the tomatoes the sweet, and cucumbers give it the crunch. It's perfect. 🙂
What a deliciously healthy salad! I have to admit, I really like Jamie's Food Revolution. I just feel like the country is so unaware of how dire the obesity epidemic has gotten and this is a real eye-opener!