Israeli Couscous Salad

Israeli Couscous I was first introduced to Israeli couscous by my friend Alana. She prepares a very colorful salad with this type of couscous, which is larger and more spherical than its popular cousin. I think the first time she served it to me was with green peas, chickpeas, red pepper, parsley and a sherry vinaigrette. I’ve made the recipe quite a few times after trying hers. It’s so versatile, you can easily play around with different types of ingredients and dressings.

Israeli Couscous

Just this past week, I was invited to take part in the OXO “Very Vegetarian Recipe Challenge” and thought it would be the perfect opportunity to share the recipe.  As part of this challenge, I was sent 6 OXO kitchen tools (YAY!) and required to use at least 3 of them to produce a vegetarian recipe with a max of 12 ingredients that can be made in 30 minutes or less (eek!) and incorporates a seasonal veg, protein and starch.  What’s cool is the winner for this challenge gets to have their recipe made into a Plated meal.

At the Greenmarket, I picked up some fresh ingredients to put into the salad.

Greenmarket vegetables

For my recipe, I used OXO’s mandoline slicer, salad dressing shaker and whisk. I also used an OXO peeler I already had.

OXO tools

The mandoline slicer was most exciting for me because I had never used one before and got a bit carried away….

mandoline sliced veggies

Being a vegetarian all my life, I’m really careful to include a good amount of protein in the dishes I prepare. There’s nothing worse than going to a party and finding that the only vegetarian option is a salad with just veggies.  For this reason, I included three proteins I have on hand quite often: feta cheese, frozen shelled edamame and chickpeas.

feta, edamame and chickpeas

Combined with the couscous, vegetables, cilantro and sherry vinaigrette, it’s a really complete and tasty meal and something really festive to bring to a potluck or picnic. Also don’t feel married to the ingredients I have used below if you don’t have some of them on hand – in the past I have subbed in peas, celery, olives, green onion, radish and a lemon dressing.  I hope you enjoy it!

Thanks Alana for inspiring me and OXO for my new kitchen equipment!

Israeli Couscous Salad Side



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  • adele

    Israeli Couscous is a misnomer. This traditional grain’s proper name is Maftoul and was in existence and eaten well before the state of Israel was created. It is important to use the correct term in order to give proper recognition to the Levantine food heritage. Even Yotam Ottolenghi, the well-known Israeli chef, uses this name for the grain.

    Thanks, I enjoy reading your blog!

    Here are some references:
    Palestinians typically serve it on occasions and holidays. It was brought by Moroccan migrants to Palestine, where it has been modified to what’s called maftoul. Although maftoul is considered as a special type of couscous but made from different ingredients and a different shape. It is larger than North African couscous. Maftoul is an Arabic word derived from the root “fa-ta-la” which means to roll or to twist, which is exactly describing the used method to make maftoul by hand rolling bulgur with wheat flour.[16]