Cherry Tomato Couscous Salad

This Israeli couscous salad recipe is packed with raw & roasted cherry tomatoes, feta, chickpeas & herbs. Perfect for a picnic or packing for lunch!

Israeli Couscous Salad in a bowl

Whenever I’m styling (and eating) something as herb-heavy as this Israeli couscous salad, I start to wonder if a year-round indoor herb garden is possible. I love having a ton of fresh herbs right outside my door, and I’m really going to miss them when they’re gone. They’re so delicious in summer recipes like this couscous salad, and they’re oh so PRETTY. I often get asked about my food photography/styling tips and my best tip is always: Whatever dish you have, smother it in herbs!

Aside from lots of fresh thyme and basil, this couscous salad recipe is all about the tomatoes. I slow roast half of them and put the other half raw into the salad. Together, the raw and roasted cherry tomatoes make this a sweet, tangy, bursty, crunchy, herb-y gem of a late-summer salad.

Couscous Salad recipe ingredients

Israeli Couscous Salad Recipe Ingredients

I’ve mentioned the tomatoes and the herbs, but here’s a complete picture of the ingredients that make this couscous salad recipe one of our late summer favorites:

  • Cherry tomatoes: The combination of roasted tomatoes and raw tomatoes creates wonderful texture and flavor.
  • Israeli couscous: If you’ve never tried this Middle Eastern pasta, you’re going to love it. It’s larger than regular couscous, and the big, chewy pearls are really fun to eat.
  • Roasted chickpeas: These provide protein and a nice crisp bite. Roast them ahead of time if you like!
  • A pinch of smoked paprika: This smoky spice highlights the sweet tomatoes.
  • Olive oil & lemon juice: There’s no need to make a separate salad dressing when you have these two ingredients.
  • Garlic: Because tomatoes love it.
  • Fresh herbs: We all love the combination of tomatoes and basil, but the addition of fresh thyme takes this over the top.
  • Cucumbers: These add a fresh, crisp element to the salad.
  • Feta cheese: I love feta’s creamy, salty bite! Skip it if you’re vegan, or add chopped Kalamata olives in its place.

Find the complete recipe with measurements below.

How to make Israeli Couscous Salad

How to Make This Couscous Salad

Before you toss this salad together, you need to roast the tomatoes and chickpeas and cook the pearl couscous!

Roasted cherry tomatoes are easy to make, but it takes a while for them to shrivel in the oven and become all jammy and concentrated. I suggest making them ahead of time – they can sit at room temp until you’re ready to assemble the salad. When you come home, have a glass of wine, cook your couscous, check your email… do anything besides stare at the oven waiting for your tomatoes. They’ll be done in no time and your kitchen will smell amazing.

Once your tomatoes, roasted chickpeas, and couscous are ready, toss everything together in a big bowl. Top with an abundance of fresh herbs and a generous drizzle of olive oil. Serve this couscous salad as a side dish with a protein if you like, or just on its own (chickpeas = protein).

This is also a great recipe to pack for lunch. On day 2, I like to add a little bit more lemon and an extra pinch of salt.

Pearl Couscous Salad in a serving bowl

More Favorite Salad Recipes

If you love this couscous salad, try one of these delicious summer salad recipes next:

couscous salad

Cherry Tomato Couscous Salad

rate this recipe:
5 from 29 votes
Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 30 mins
Roast Tomatoes: 3 hrs
Serves 4
This fresh mediterranean couscous salad recipe is packed with raw & roasted cherry tomatoes, feta, chickpeas & herbs. Perfect for a picnic or packing for lunch! I like to roast the tomatoes in advance for quicker assembly.

Ingredients

  • 4 cups cherry tomatoes, (half for roasting, half raw)
  • Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
  • 1 cup dry Israeli couscous
  • ¼ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice, more if desired
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • Leaves from 6 sprigs fresh thyme, more for garnish
  • cups roasted chickpeas
  • ¼ cup fresh basil, more for garnish
  • 2 Persian cucumbers, thinly sliced
  • cup crumbled feta cheese
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

  • Roast 2 cups of the cherry tomatoes according to this recipe. These can be made in advance and stored in the fridge for a few days.
  • Cook the couscous according to the package directions until al dente, about 9 minutes. Drain and set aside to cool.
  • In the bottom of a large bowl, combine 1 tablespoon of olive oil, the lemon juice, garlic, thyme, ¼ teaspoon salt, and several grinds of black pepper. Add the cooled couscous and toss. Slice the remaining raw cherry tomatoes in half and add them to the bowl with the roasted tomatoes, the chickpeas, basil, cucumbers, and feta. Top with more fresh herbs and a generous drizzle of olive oil. Season to taste.

 

42 comments

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  1. Susan
    08.14.2018

    This sounds absolutely scrumptious. I am adding this to my list of vegetarian lunch dishes (I can get away with vegetarian meals better at lunch than dinner). Really looking forward to trying it.

  2. Kristina B
    08.14.2018

    I just made this and it is fantastic! I was searching for something light & easy to make for dinner & this was perfect! Followed the recipe exactly & turned out fantastic! I just love your blog!

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      08.15.2018

      Hi Kristina, I’m so glad you loved it!!

  3. Claire Van Konynenburg
    08.14.2018

    I made this as written and it was delicious!

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      08.15.2018

      Hi Claire, I’m so glad you liked it! Thanks for coming back to let me know!

  4. Rena Leeds
    08.15.2018

    I made this last night and we absolutely love it! Very delicious ingredients and layered flavors! The only thing I changed was the basil, which I did not have so I added chopped fresh mint. Excellent recipe.

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      09.05.2018

      Hi Rena, ooh, I bet mint was delicious. I’m so glad you loved it – thanks for coming back to let me know!

  5. Gaby Dalkin
    08.15.2018

    YUM! This looks delish!

  6. Krispy
    08.16.2018

    Made this for dinner last night. I loved this recipe. The roasted chickpeas are great in it. A great way to use up an abundance of cherry tomatoes from the garden! So delicious

  7. Jen
    08.17.2018

    5 stars
    Made this last night. So delicious! I added some broiled asparagus too.

    Seriously, I love every single one of your recipes.

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      08.17.2018

      SO SO happy to hear that!! I’m glad you loved the salad 🙂

  8. Jenn
    08.17.2018

    Just a tip–I’ve had great luck growing herbs year-round with an aerogarden!

  9. Claudia
    08.19.2018

    5 stars
    A great recipe. I am amazed at how roasting the tomatoes in the oven brings out the sweetness in them (wow) it really adds another dimension to this salad. Next time I’ll plan ahead so that I have time to oven roast my chickpeas. Is it best to rinse the couscous after cooking it so it doesn’t clump together? That was an issue for me.

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      08.19.2018

      Hi Claudia, I’m so glad you loved it with the roasted tomatoes! You can rinse the couscous or, better yet, toss it with a drizzle of olive oil to keep it from sticking together. I usually find that it un-clumps once I toss it in the bowl with the dressing if I just break it apart with a spatula before adding everything else. Hope that helps!

  10. vivian
    08.20.2018

    5 stars
    This was absolutely delicious, even better than I thought it would be. I was concerned that the amount of dressing was small for the amount of salad, but it worked out perfectly and I didn’t end up having that situation where there is a lake of dressing at the bottom of the bowl. Thanks for a fantastic recipe.

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      09.05.2018

      Hi Vivian, I’m so glad you loved it! Anything with tomatoes gets a little juicy 🙂

  11. Cheryl
    08.31.2018

    I can’t eat dairy. Any substitutions for feta?

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      09.05.2018

      Hi Cheryl, just leave out the feta and add a little extra salt, to taste. Hope that helps!

  12. Jen
    09.01.2018

    I’ve made this every week since you posted the recipe and it’s become an absolute favorite in our home. Wonderful flavors and so satisfying but doesn’t leave you feeling heavy. Really love it the next day, as well.
    We added some roasted asparagus for a little more bite and it was great.

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      09.05.2018

      Ooh, I’m so happy it’s become part of the rotation, I LOVE hearing that :). Mmm, asparagus sounds delicious!

  13. Paulette
    04.03.2019

    Absolutely love this salad . So yummy.

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      04.04.2019

      Hi Paulette, I’m so glad to hear!

  14. Jess
    05.07.2019

    What a beautiful page! Cant wait to try these recipes

  15. Katie
    07.30.2019

    5 stars
    Thanks for sharing such a beautiful recipe! I added butter beans in the salad and it was delicious. 🙂

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      08.03.2019

      I’m so glad you enjoyed it!

  16. Lisa P
    08.04.2019

    5 stars
    I followed the recipe except I pan-fried chickpeas in a cast iron skillet and left off feta (I’m vegan). It was DELICIOUS. So much flavor. Those roasted cherry tomatoes…wow! Thank you for the great recipe.

  17. Allison
    08.05.2019

    5 stars
    Yum!! I made this tonight and the roasted tomatoes are SO worth the time and effort! Delicious and healthy. I couldn’t find Israeli couscous, so substituted orzo, which worked great! I can’t wait to make it again with actual couscous.

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      08.07.2019

      I’m so glad you loved it!

  18. Victoria
    08.10.2019

    5 stars
    As always, thank you for your amazing recipes. Big hit in our house! I roast garlic with the tomatoes versus adding fresh to the dressing to tone it down a bit. So flavorful and no feta needed. Thank you!!

  19. Rishi Sharma
    11.12.2019

    5 stars
    These look so incredible!! Can’t wait to make this!

  20. andi
    04.26.2020

    5 stars
    Excellent recipe! Love the roasted tomatoes mixed with the fresh.

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      04.27.2020

      I’m so glad you loved it!

  21. alicia
    07.02.2020

    i love this recipe, so much so that i feel like i made a mistake by not printing it or writing it on a recipe card. is there a reason that some of the cooking instructions were removed? now it seems like i have to click through to two other pages for roasting temperatures, and the instructions for roasting tomatoes now advise 3 hours instead of an hour? i’ll try to remember the older, better recipe instead.

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      07.02.2020

      Hi Alicia, here are the original instructions for the tomatoes and chickpeas:

      tomatoes:
      Roast the cherry tomatoes (this step can be made in advance): Preheat the oven to 300°F. Slice 2 cups of the cherry tomatoes in half, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkles of salt and pepper, and place cut side up on a baking sheet. Roast 60 to 90 minutes (the time will depend on the size and juiciness of the tomatoes), or until shriveled and browned around the edges. Remove from the oven and set aside.

      chickpeas:
      Increase the oven heat to 400°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the chickpeas on the baking sheet and toss with a drizzle of olive oil and sprinkles of salt and pepper. Roast 20 minutes, or until crispy. Remove from the oven and toss with the smoked paprika.

      apologies that separating these recipes out ended up to be inconvenient.

  22. Liz
    07.25.2020

    5 stars
    You have smoked paprika on the ingredients list but I’m missing where it gets added?

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      07.25.2020

      oh thanks for pointing that out! I toss it with the chickpeas before roasting.

  23. Paige
    08.16.2020

    5 stars
    I don’t leave comments on recipes, ever. In fact, this is my first ever out of hundreds of recipes I’ve used.

    But this salad is probably the most delicious couscous salad I’ve ever had. I made it ALMOST exactly- but I couldn’t find Israeli couscous, so I used regular. I even made the roasted cherry tomatoes and chickpeas!!

    IT’S WORTH THE TIME, FOLKS!! This is so delicious with so many flavors that compliment each other so well. I’m currently pigging out as I type this!

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      08.16.2020

      Ha ha, yay!! I’m so glad you loved it so much. Thanks for taking a minute to come back and let me know 🙂

  24. Leslie
    08.24.2020

    5 stars
    My whole family enjoyed this. We used fresh tomatoes, cucumbers, thyme and basil right out of our garden. So simple to throw together, not complicated and a pleasant side dish with lots of flavor but isn’t overpowering with a main dish. Love the toasted chickpeas. So happy I found this recipe!

    I didn’t get a chance to oven roast the tomatoes, and it was still delicious. Looking forward to making it again properly.

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      08.30.2020

      Hi Leslie, I’m so glad you enjoyed it!

  25. Charlie Murtaugh
    08.30.2020

    5 stars
    Made this tonight – it was a decent amount of work (between the chickpeas and the tomatoes) but it was definitely worth it. Everyone had seconds, even our tomato-skeptical kids. They picked out the fresh tomatoes but I think they didn’t realize what the roasted tomatoes even were (apart from delicious). This will definitely be a staple of my summer cooking.

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      08.30.2020

      I’m so glad you all loved it! Sometimes, I make the tomatoes the day before, it helps the process go quicker.

A food blog with fresh, zesty recipes.
Photograph of Jeanine Donofrio and Jack Mathews in their kitchen

Hello, we're Jeanine and Jack.

We love to eat, travel, cook, and eat some more! We create & photograph vegetarian recipes from our home in Chicago, while our shiba pups eat the kale stems that fall on the kitchen floor.