This versatile summer couscous salad is perfect for picnics and BBQs or paired with chicken or grilled shrimp for a tasty main course meal.
Food - Pasta - Salad - Sides - Vegetarian

Summer Couscous Salad

Last updated on May 14, 2021 by Liza Hawkins

This versatile summer couscous salad is perfect for picnics and barbecues or paired with chicken or grilled shrimp for a tasty main course meal.

I have few Food Network chefs I’d call my faves, my go-to recipe crafters. Of the bunch, those I keep coming back to have simple, easy-to-follow, flavor-rich recipes that aren’t fussy and overwhelming.

They fit in with our family’s busy lifestyle, and typically don’t use off-the-wall ingredients that require an extra trip to the grocery store.

These are the chefs that top my list:

1. Alton Brown

Alton Brown’s matter-of-fact way to talking about food and recipes are one big reason I have a passion for cooking myself. Love him! His live show is worth catching, too, if you have the option.

2. Ina Garten

No one makes you want to live in the Hamptons more than Ina. Her easy-going manner is catchy, and her recipes (while seemingly fancy) are always simple to pull together.

3. Alex Guarnaschelli

No frills, sensible ingredients and perfect seasoning. Love it. Follow @guarnaschelli on Instagram for fun “real time” antics!

4. Tyler Florence

I might appreciate the sage green subway tile in his studio kitchen just as much as his cooking style!

5. Giada De Laurentiis

Her recipes, both classic recipes and those she’s given an Italian twist, are many of my go-tos!

And speaking of Giada, I’ve been making a version of her Mediterranean Salad for a couple of years now.

I’ve tweaked it to work for my vegetarian friends and family, I’ve used pomegranate arils in place of dried cranberries, I’ve substituted lime zest and lime juice for the lemon, and I’ve added grilled shrimp or chicken to transform it from a side salad to a main dish.

A single serving of pearl couscous salad with sliced almonds, dried cranberries and fresh basil.

The possibilities seem endless!

This versatile summer couscous salad is perfect for picnics and BBQs or paired with chicken or grilled shrimp for a tasty main course meal.
Yield: 6

Summer Couscous Salad

Prep Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 16 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 16 minutes

This versatile summer couscous salad is perfect for picnics and barbecues or paired with chicken or grilled shrimp for a tasty main course meal.


  • 1 8.8-ounce box Israeli couscous
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 3 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 3 limes (zested and juiced)
  • 1/4 lime juice (supplement with bottled if you don't get enough fresh-squeezed)
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds
  • 2 tablespoons fresh basil (chopped)
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper


  1. Add 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil to a medium sauce pan and then place it over medium heat to warm for 3 minutes.
  2. Add the garlic and let it cook for 1 minute, followed by the couscous. Cook the couscous for 5 minutes, stirring often until it's lightly browned.
  3. Carefully pour the chicken broth in all at once, and then add 1/8 cup of the lime juice and bring it to a boil. Cover, reduce the heat and then simmer until the couscous is al dente - about 9 minutes.
  4. Mix the cooked couscous, remaining olive oil, another 1/8 cup of lime juice, the zest, salt and pepper in a large bowl and then let it cool completely in the refrigerator.
  5. Once cool, toss in the cranberries, almonds and herbs. Serve chilled or at room temperature.


Easily make this recipe vegetarian by substituting vegetable broth for the chicken broth!

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 327Total Fat: 21gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 18gCholesterol: 2mgSodium: 641mgCarbohydrates: 32gFiber: 4gSugar: 11gProtein: 6g

Hi, I'm Liza — a self-proclaimed word-nerd who loves getting lost in whimsical stories and epic movies. I have laid-back, practical attitude towards life and am always on the hunt for good eats, easy recipes, binge-worthy shows, relaxing road trip destinations, the perfect fizzy gin cocktail, and time to finish my novel!

7 Comments on “Summer Couscous Salad

  1. I just discovered Farro, the most amazing grain I have ever eaten!! I have been looking for more ways to use it rather than just butter and salting it! Which is delish. I think I wil try substituting the couscous with the farro. This looks so tasty!

    1. @Kelly – Oh, let me know how you like it made with farro! I’ve used acini de pepe and orzo pastas before, and they are great alternatives too!

  2. This sounds interesting. I like all of those ingredients separately (except almonds) but not sure how they’d turn out together. I”m going to pin this to try later 🙂

    1. I’ll tell you – they turn out fabulous together. 🙂 The slivered almonds give a nice, subtle crunch, so I’m not sure what you’d substitute to get that same mouth-feel?

  3. I had a hard time deciding how much couscous this calls for. My store had 8.8 oz bags. Far East boxes of couscous seem to be 4.7 oz. I looked that up on line. I ended up with too much broth using the bag (8.8 oz) I drained it off. All turned out well after that. Needs specific amount in recipe.

    1. Thanks, Ann! I’ll go back and see if I can be more specific. Really appreciate the feedback (and draining is a hack I’ve used, too, when it’s been too brothy). Glad it ended up working out!

  4. This recipe is damn amazing and mouth-watering. The ingredients of the recipes look interesting and I am sure it will be great in taste too. Excited to cook the same ; )

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