Lebanese Couscous Salad

Lebanese Couscous Salad is made with larger Lebanese couscous, also known as maghrabia. This is such a versatile salad, not unlike a pasta salad that takes well to a variety of vegetables and herbs. Purchase the couscous in my online shop here.

It was not until just a few years ago that I learned there is a couscous all our own. I was on a flatbread learning jaunt at the home of one of the masters in Lansing, and she pulled from her freezer a huge bag of what appeared to be frozen chickpeas. These, she told me, are my homemade maghrabia. I felt like I was not Lebanese even a little. “Homemade what?” I squeaked.

The love I have witnessed expressed by anyone who has ever eaten the traditional chicken and onion maghrabia stew is, well, nothing short of kookoo-crazy-favorite food-joy. We’re going to head down that recipe road this fall. Right now, I want nothing more than a refreshing Lebanese Couscous Salad for the season ahead. Such a discovery, this salad! The texture! The flavor! My first run at the recipe yielded such a hurrah from every eater here that I realized this one will be a new tradition, a keeper we turn to all summer, all year, long.

Types of couscous, by granule size:

Why you’ll love this Lebanese Couscous Salad recipe

Fiber-Packed Couscous & Chickpeas. The salad features both dry Lebanese couscous and chickpeas, both of which are rich sources of fiber.

Quick and Easy to Make. This tasty salad is straightforward to prepare and ready to serve in under twenty minutes.

Perfect Salad to Serve at Summer BBQs or Picnics. Planning a family gathering or barbecue this summer? This Lebanese couscous salad is light, refreshing, and sure to be a hit with all of your guests.

Ingredients you will need to make the salad

For The Salad:

Chickpeas. Use cooked or canned chickpeas for this recipe. Before incorporating them into the salad, be sure to thoroughly clean, rinse, and drain your chickpeas.

Dry Lebanese Couscous. Use Lebanese couscous (aka Moghrabieh) for this recipe; you can get it in my shop here. Lebanese couscous is a much larger granule than Moroccan or Israeli (pearl) couscous.

Cherry Tomatoes. Smaller tomatoes hold together better here and give the salad sweetness, color, and added flavor.

English Cucumber. These long, slightly sweet cucumbers provide crunch, color, and nutritional benefits to your couscous salad.

Fresh Mint. Mint is THE Lebanese herb that we look for in our salads. Here, mint is such a natural addition.

Pitted Olives. So briney, olives add complexity of flavor and yet another texture to the salad.

For The Vinaigrette:

Dried Mint. Crushed, in the vinaigrette or dusted on top. Together with fresh mint, this ramps up the mint flavor perfectly.

Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO). A staple in most salad vinaigrettes, a little EVOO brings healthy fat, flavor, and binding to the vinaigrette.

Lemon Juice. For the lemony tang we love in our salads.

Pomegranate Molasses. A slightly sweet syrup of pure reduced pomegranate juice, akin to balsamic vinegar. This immune-boosting condiment is used in various Lebanese and Middle Eastern-style dishes like this pomegranate marinated flank steak.

Rice Vinegar. I find myself reaching for rice vinegar for nearly every salad I make these days. This East-Asian condiment is made from fermented rice and is often used in salad dressings for an added clean, crisp flavor.

How to make my Lebanese Couscous Salad

  1. Cook the Lebanese couscous the same way you cook pasta. Use lots of salted, boiling water, then drain.
  2. To prepare the vinaigrette, whisk olive oil, lemon juice, and rice vinegar in a small bowl. Whisk in pomegranate molasses, dried mint, garlic, salt, and black pepper to taste.
  3. Toss the salad with the pre-made vinaigrette and sprinkle with the remaining fresh mint.

Substitutions and Additions

Roast your chickpeas. If you want crunchy, crouton-style roasted chickpeas, bake them in the oven on a baking sheet for approximately 30 minutes, shaking them every ten minutes or so. They elevate your salad to even tastier heights!

Add extra protein. Add your favorite protein to the salad; I like to add grilled chicken, tofu, or shrimp. Leafy greens like kale or spinach also make a terrific addition to Lebanese couscous salad.

Substitute Lebanese (Moghrabieh) couscous with Israeli-style pearl or Moroccan couscous if that is all you have in your pantry. You can use the same measurements, about 2 cups of dry couscous.

Try fresh basil if you do not have fresh mint. The herb has a similar bright, forward flavor that can take the place of fresh mint.

What to serve with Lebanese Couscous Salad

A salad this hearty works as a side or a main dish. Here are favorite recipes that pair well with this Lebanese couscous salad :

How to store Lebanese Couscous Salad

You can store any leftover Lebanese couscous salad in a tightly sealed container in the refrigerator for up to four days.

The couscous salad may also be frozen for about three to four months before it starts to lose its flavor. Seal the salad in a freezer-safe bag or air-tight container for optimal results. It’s best to add fresh herbs when serving rather than freezing the salad already topped with them, if possible.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is couscous?

Couscous is simply a form of pasta, made with semolina. Lebanese couscous, or maghrabia, is the largest couscous.

Can I cook my chickpeas in advance?

To use cooked chickpeas instead of canned chickpeas, cook them up to two days in advance.

Is couscous healthy for you?

Couscous is both delicious and nutritious. Like most of the ingredients in this salad, including chickpeas and EVOO, couscous boasts a lengthy nutritional profile.

More Recipes Like This One:

If you love this Lebanese Couscous Salad, check out a few similar salad recipes below:

Lebanese Couscous salad in an oval white dish

Lebanese Couscous Salad

Maureen Abood
Think of this as a kind of pasta salad, with large Lebanese couscous as the star! The variety of fresh vegetables add so much color, flavor and texture. And those chickpeas! They pack protein, fiber, and a flavor we love. This salad is excellent for cookouts, holiday gatherings, and everyday meals at home. Make a batch and enjoy for several days, a great lunch or snack as well as a side dish people go crazy over! The couscous can be made a day in advance and chilled (drained).
Servings 12

Ingredients
  

For the salad:

  • 2 cups Lebanese couscous
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 English cucumber, or two Persian cucumbers, chopped in small pieces
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives, sliced
  • 4 scallions, finely sliced
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked or canned chickpeas (16 oz.), rinsed and drained
  • Handful loosely packed fresh mint leaves, chopped

For the vinaigrette:

Instructions
 

  • In a large saucepan, bring water with the salt to boil. Add the dry couscous and cook until al dente, about 8-10 minutes. Drain and cool to room temperature.
  • In a 12-inch serving dish or bowl, combine the couscous, cucumber, tomato, olives and scallions.
  • In a small bowl, whisk the pomegranate molasses, dried mint, garlic, lemon juice, rice vinegar, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.
  • Pour the dressing over the salad and mix to combine thoroughly. Top with fresh mint and serve.

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Maureen Abood in the kitchen

I'm so glad you're here! You'll find among these pages the fresh and classic Lebanese recipes we can't get enough of! My mission is to share my tried + true recipes -- and to help our Lebanese food-loving community keep these culinary traditions alive and on the table. What recipes are you looking for? Let me know!

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