Fresh Israeli Couscous Salad

Fresh Israeli Couscous Salad

Get ready for some major “quick & easy” lunch bowl inspiration! This fresh Israeli couscous salad comes from Cara Cifelli’s cookbook Vegan Buddha Bowls and is a perfect option to meal prep for easy weekday lunches.

In just 30 minutes you can prepare a big batch of this Mediterranean-esque salad that will feed you throughout the week. It’s packed with veggies and fresh herbs, flavored with a simple homemade vinaigrette and topped with buttery avocado. Yum. 

Today we’re teaching you how it’s done! Shall we? 

Fresh Israeli Couscous Salad

If the classic macaroni salad had a bougie relative, it would be this "Kiss Kiss Couscous" salad. Israeli couscous is pretty much the same thing as a macaroni noodle but shaped like a teeny tiny ball. When paired with sweet and crunchy sugar snap peas, green peas and radish, then mixed with an assortment of fresh herbs, then coated with a simple yet vibrant vinaigrette and finished with avocado, hemp seeds, and lemon wedges, it’s an elevated and fancy-ass version. You can’t help but raise a pinkie when eating. Fresh couscous bowl for the win!

Course Main Course, Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine Middle Eastern
Keyword couscous bowl, couscous salad, easy bowl, fresh couscous
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Author Cara Cifelli

Ingredients

Couscous

  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil or avocado oil
  • 3 cups of dried Israeli Couscous
  • 4 1/2 cups of warm water about 110° F

Simple Vinaigrette

  • 1/3 cup of red wine vinegar
  • 3 cloves of garlic minced
  • 3 tablespoons of pure maple syrup
  • 1 cup of olive oil
  • salt to taste
  • black pepper to taste

Salad

  • 10 ounces of sugar snap peas
  • 2 cups of frozen sweet peas
  • 1 cup of radish thinly sliced
  • 1 1/2 cup of fresh herbs tightly packed and finely chopped (I recommend a mix of at least two of the following, but up to all four: cilantro, mint, dill or parsley)
  • 1/2 cup of red onion finely diced
  • 2 green onions chopped
  • 1 tablespoon of garlic powder
  • 8 cups of baby spinach leaves
  • 2 avocados cubed
  • salt to taste
  • black pepper to taste

Garnishes

  • lemon wedges optional
  • hemp seeds optional

Instructions

  1. Make the couscous: In a medium-sized saucepan, heat the avocado oil over medium heat. Once hot, add the couscous and stir for 30 seconds. Then, add the warm water and salt and bring to a boil. Cover, lower the heat to medium and cook until all the water is absorbed about 12 minutes. Drain and rinse with cool water, then set aside.

  2. Meanwhile, make the vinaigrette: In a small bowl, combine the vinegar, garlic and maple syrup, then slowly whisk in the olive oil until emulsified. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.

  3. In a medium-sized bowl, create an ice bath with ice cubes and cold water and set aside. Bring a medium-sized pot of water to a boil. Add the snap peas to the boiling water and boil for 3 minutes, then transfer to the ice bath to stop the cooking.

  4. Defrost the sweet peas according to their package directions. 

  5. In a large bowl, combine the radish, fresh herbs, red onion, green onions, garlic powder, sweet peas, sugar snap peas, and cooked couscous. Add three-quarters of the dressing and mix well.

  6. To serve, divide the spinach equally among 4 serving bowls and drizzle each with some of the remaining dressing. Add a layer of the couscous mixture. Divide the avocado among the bowls, season with salt and pepper to taste, garnish with lemon wedges and hemp seeds and serve.

Recipe Notes

If making ahead of time, mix everything together as directed, except the avocado, which should be added just before serving, and store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week.

For additional crunch, add some dry toasted slivered almonds.

Pack On The Greens! 

This bowl is full of green veggie goodness! Peas, spinach, and avocado all packed into one delicious meal. Adding some greens to every meal is a great idea! You can always have some pre-washed and chopped veggies in your refrigerator so you can add them ad-hoc to any dish you’re making. 

Super-Easy Meal Prep

This fresh couscous bowl is the perfect recipe to batch cook on Sundays!

If you’re someone who struggles with having little time to make your daily meals on the spot, then I highly recommend giving meal prepping a go. It will take you one to two hours once or twice a week, but it will save you a lot more time during your busiest days. Trust me, taking the guessing element out of your eating routine will be a complete game-changer.

If you’re having doubts because the idea of having the same meal several days a week makes you yawn, then be comforted by the fact that you can easily switch the meals up by making some small changes. You can use the couscous as a filling for a quick lunch burrito if you chop up some cilantro, slice some tomatoes, beans, and a few spoons of guacamole. Or turn it into a more Moroccan inspired dish if you add roasted sweet potatoes and some raisins along with a simple tahini sauce.

Keep in mind that the recipe for this simple vinaigrette makes a large amount so you can save it for other salads you’ll eat later in the week as well.

What other ideas did you come up with? The sky is the limit!

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Should I Cook Regular Couscous or Israeli Couscous?

This recipe calls for Israeli couscous which is very different in texture than the traditional Moroccan couscous as the grains are much larger. You can use whichever you have on hand or the one you like better. The advantage of the Israeli variety is that it tends to clump up less which might be better if you want the end product to look more presentable. 

About The Cookbook

This Vegan Buddha Bowls cookbook is such a gem! Perfect for those days when you might be feeling a bit uninspired and browsing through dozens of easy vegan bowls might spark your creativity. You’ll find amazing recipes like tropical poke bowls and jicama nacho bowl to the “cheezy” butternut & pesto pasta or delicious Mexican bowl. You’ll love having this gorgeous resource in your kitchen!

Cara Cifelli is a holistic health coach with a passion for delicious plant-based food. She shares amazing recipes on her blog Cara’s Kitchen and spreads the healing vegan food message on her Instagram account.

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Vegan Israeli Couscous Salad recipe and photos reprinted with permission from Vegan Buddha Bowls by Cara Carin Cifelli, Page Street Publishing, Copyright 2020. Photo credit: Jackie Sobon. Please note that this article contains affiliate links which means shopping through them supports World of Vegan.

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