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Summer Pearl Cous Cous Salad

Summer Pearl Cous Cous Salad

As I get older, I feel like I turn more and more into my mother. And I am thrilled about it, because she's a pretty cool lady. I'm still working on developing the level of honesty and sincerity she has but I do have one of her traits mastered - keeping things in jars and containers that are not that thing. Oh, did you want some oatmeal? Sorry, that oatmeal container is all lentils. Looking for some cool whip to go with your dessert? Nah, that's leftover chicken curry. Nothing in my mom's kitchen was as it seemed (how mysterious, right?). This used to drive me crazy when I was younger but as I get older and start doing the same thing, I'm realizing that it's a necessity - when you dabble in as many bulk grains, spices, and flours as we do and don't want to create a massive OXO budget, re-purposing containers is the most logical step. Besides, my mother and I are accidentally helping the environment!

The most recent grain in my kitchen, currently living in an old salsa jar, is Israeli cous cous. Unlike regular cous cous, Israeli or pearl cous cous is actually a pasta, made from wheat flour. I did some cursory research and it was developed in the 1950s in Israel during a rice shortage. Like pasta, it is bland and takes on flavors really well. Cooking is also a breeze - just remember the 1:1.5 cous cous to water ratio and you'll have perfectly plump and chewy pearl cous cous every time. I was feeling inspired by it's Mediterranean roots and my dad had brought me some fresh cucumbers from his garden so this salad came together quickly. We had this with a side of chicken and some smoky mashed eggplant (recipes for both coming soon!). Since it's a pasta, this will also be great in place of pasta in many dishes.

This cous cous salad will keep in the fridge for a day or two...three, if you're okay with sort of mushy cucumbers!


Serves 4

  • 2 cups pearl cous cous
  • 3 cups water or low sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 cucumber, diced
  • 1 large tomato, chopped or 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 10-12 black olives, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • Few sprigs flat leaf parsley, chopped
  • Few sprigs mint leaves, chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste


Bring the water or broth to boil. If using water, salt the water generously. Once the water is boiling, add the cous cous and cook for 8 mins. Then turn off the heat, place a tight-fitting lid on the pot and set aside for at least 10 mins.

Prep the rest of the ingredients: cucumber, tomatoes, olives, feta cheese, and the herbs. 

Fluff the cous cous with a fork and move to a cool serving bowl. Add in the prepped ingredient, olive oil, and lemon juice. Mix well.

Season to your liking with salt and pepper. Serve!

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