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Israeli Couscous Salad

I said I would, so I did. I accidentally found a bag of Israel couscous in the international isle of the grocery store a few days ago and have been excitedly hoarding it since. Just waiting for the right moment!

I really really like the Israeli couscous, its texture is wonderful and it looks so pretty. After being cooked and drizzled with some olive oil it glistened as it stuck to the side of the bowl; it looked just like honeycomb. Very beautiful, see image below.

Since it wouldn’t be any fun to make the exact recipe over again I derived some inspiration from my friend Michelle. I added spiced chicken, tomatoes and spinach to make this a meal instead of a side. I changed the recipe round quite a bit and it turned out exceedingly well! It is absolutely perfect to bring to work for lunches. I made the whole bag of couscous since I added a lot of extra stuff to the recipe and thought I needed more couscous to balance it out.

Israeli Couscous Salad

1 3/4 cup Israeli couscous *that was the whole bag*

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

2-3 cups baby spinach

1 cup pitted and chopped Kalamata olives

1/2 cup minced red onion

1/4 cup minced celery

1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved

Half a lemon

1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese

2 chicken breasts

Moroccan or tandoori or other spices/marinade

salt and pepper

Coat the chicken in marinade or spices and bake in the oven on a silpat at 350 until cooked, about 25 minutes. Let cool slightly and give a rough chop.

Bring 2 1/4 cups lightly salted water up to a boil. Add couscous, stir and reduce heat to medium. Cook uncovered, stirring occasionally, until all liquid has absorbed. Scrape couscous into a strainer and rinse under cold water to cool. Place into a bowl and toss with olive oil to coat.

Add spinach, olives, onion, celery, tomatoes, chicken, lemon juice and feta and toss. Season to taste and chill until ready to serve.

Note – If you cook the couscous and let it sit there for a while (while the chicken is baking) it will all stick together and you will have to spend a few minutes separating it, which is a pain in the butt but it is doable.

Also, the grocery store was out of pitted kalamata olives, so I got the pleasure of pitting them myself. It wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be but it certainly wasn’t the greatest. Pitted olives are wonderful.

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