Israeli Couscous Salad, A Fresh And Vibrant Side Dish

Our Pitmaster Club members post recipes in The Pit and occasionally we ask for permission to share the best recipes with the public. Here is one by Ernest (Ernest Mtawali). That's him, below.

Couscous is a small round semolina pasta of North African origin. It is traditionally boiled or steamed and served with hearty stews ladled over the top. Israeli couscous or “Ptitim” (Hebrew for flakes) is similar to traditional couscous, made from wheat flour, and toasted. It is larger in size than traditional couscous and has a nice firm texture when cooked. This recipe highlights the pasta as the main ingredient, as well as bright and vibrant vegetables and herbs. Its light and fresh flavors make it the perfect side dish for any backyard BBQ and grilling cookout. Try it in place of a more traditional pasta salad at your next gathering.

Average: 2.6 (10 votes)

Average Rating - Votes are tabulated end of day

Please rate this recipe ONLY after you cook it: 

Share This Recipe:

Print Recipe

Israeli Couscous Salad recipe

Try this middle eastern grain salad in place of the traditional pasta side dishes. It's a refreshing change you're sure to enjoy.

Ernest eagerly awaits eating his couscous salad

Course. Lunch. Dinner. Appetizer. Salad. Side Dish. Vegetable.

Cuisine. Israeli. Middle Eastern. American.

Makes. About 8 servings

Takes. 1 1/2 hours



1/3 cup olive oil

3 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar

2 teaspoons smoked paprika

1 teaspoon Morton’s kosher salt

1 teaspoon ground pepper


1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 cups Israeli couscous

2 1/2 cups chicken stock

1/2 cup slivered almonds or pine nuts

Grape tomatoes, halved or quartered

1 small red bell pepper, seeded and chopped

Two handfuls of baby spinach (about 2 cups lightly packed)

About the vinegar. Technically there is no such thing as white balsamic vinegar (click this link to read more about what is and is not balsamic) and when you find it, it can really vary in levels of sweetness and acidity. If you don’t have access to white balsamic, you can substitute with rice wine vinegar, white wine vinegar, or even apple cider vinegar.

Optional addition. Fresh herbs make a nice addition. Basil, parsley, mint, and oregano all work well.


1) Prep. Mix all the dressing ingredients and taste. If you want more tart flavors, add more vinegar. For more sweet, add a pinch of sugar.

2) Cook. For the salad, heat the olive oil in a medium sized saucepan. Add the garlic and brown gently over low heat to avoid burning. Next, add in the couscous, and toast it until lightly golden brown. Then add a pinch of salt and the stock. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook covered until couscous is plump and tender. Takes about 10 to 12 minutes (follow the directions on your package of couscous for best results).

3) Toast the nuts in a dry pan over a low flame, tossing them as you go. Or spread out on a lined baking sheet and toast in a low oven at about 300 degrees. Be careful not to burn them. They are finished when they turn from white to golden brown.

4) When the couscous is done, you may need to drain any excess liquid and let it cool slightly.

5) Combine the couscous with the toasted nuts, tomatoes, peppers, and spinach. Add the dressing and mix well. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed.

6) Serve. Allow the mixture to rest for 30 minutes to an hour for the flavors to really marry before serving.

Dave Joachim Editor David Joachim has authored, edited, or collaborated on more than 45 cookbooks including four on barbecue and grilling, making him a perfect match for a website dedicated to the “Science of Barbecue and Grilling.” His Food Science column has appeared in "Fine Cooking" magazine since 2011. 

BBQ Stars

bbq support

Many merchants pay us a small referral fee when you click our links and purchase from them. On Amazon it works on everything from grills to diapers, they never tell us what you bought, and it has zero impact on the price you pay, but has a major impact on our ability to improve this site! And remember, we only recommend products we love. If you like, please save this link and use it every time you go to Amazon


our bbq logo

Get Smoke Signals, our free e-letter. No spam. Guaranteed

Enter your email:

 pitmaster club barbecue

Post comments and questions below


1) Please try the table of contents or the search box at the top of every page before you ask for help.

2) Try to post your question to the appropriate page.

3) Tell us everything we need to know to help such as the type of cooker and thermometer. Dial thermometers are often off by as much as 50°F so if you are not using a good digital thermometer we probably can't help you with time and temp questions. Please read this article about thermometers.

4) If you are a member of the Pitmaster Club, your comments login is probably different than your membership login.



Click to ask questions and make comments