This Israeli couscous salad recipe is packed with raw & roasted cherry tomatoes, feta, chickpeas & herbs. Perfect for a picnic or packing for lunch!
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.
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 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.
More Favorite Salad Recipes
If you love this couscous salad, try one of these delicious summer salad recipes next:
- Best Broccoli Salad
- Easy Pasta Salad
- Cucumber Salad
- Greek Salad
- Watermelon Salad with Feta
- Caesar Salad
- Mediterranean Chickpea Salad
- Or any of these 37 best salad recipes!
Cherry Tomato Couscous Salad
- 4 cups cherry tomatoes, (half for roasting, half raw)
- Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
- 1 cup dry Israeli couscous
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice, more if desired
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- Leaves from 6 sprigs fresh thyme, more for garnish
- 1½ cups roasted chickpeas, tossed with 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika before roasting
- ¼ cup fresh basil, more for garnish
- 2 Persian cucumbers, thinly sliced
- ⅓ cup crumbled feta cheese
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 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.
A family member can’t eat chickpeas. Could I substitute cashews? Or ?
Hi Melissa, some toasted pine nuts or toasted almonds (1/3 cup or so) would add some nice crunch instead.
Fantastic recipe…..i roasted my garlic n wow what an amazing depth of flavor to the dressing💜
I’m so glad you loved it!
I noticed that you said it is OK to roast the tomatoes a day ahead. Is it also OK to roast the chickpeas a day ahead? Could the couscous be cooked a day ahead so that it is also ready for assembly? Thanks!
Hi Elaine, you could but the chickpeas are most crisp on the first day, and the couscous will get a little dry.
I loved making this. I feel like I accomplished something great 🙂 It’s so tasty. Wj I was roasting I roasted the garlic. It’s delicious.
I am not one to post comments but felt compelled because this recipe is so darn delicious! I have made it three times in the last 2 weeks. The only difference I made is to add some red onions. I have never roasted tomatoes or chickpeas before, and OMG…Awesome!!Thanks for the recipe!!
Hi Joyce, I’m so glad you’ve loved the salad! Thanks for coming back to let me know!
Love this recipe. Just discovered it a few weeks ago and have made it several times already. Each time has been slightly different depending upon what I had on hand and each equally good. The slow roasted tomatoes is what really puts it over the top.
Help!I forgot to roast the thyme with the tomatoes! Having it tomorrow- should I roast separately?
Hi Pat, you can just skip it and add a few leaves for garnish. It’ll be great anyway!
I’m having a bbq tomorrow is this something I can make ahead of time, or should I wait to make it tomorrow? Is it best served warm or cold? I can’t wait to try it.
Hi Nisha, I’d roast the tomatoes today if you want to get ahead (store them in the fridge overnight) and make the rest tomorrow. It’s great at room temp. I hope you enjoy!
The recipe calls for smoked paprika and the directions say add thyme. So was the smoked paprika for the chickpeas? or did you mean to list thyme?
I skipped the paprika, and I’m serving tonight, I am sure it will be delish.
Hi Heather, thank you for catching that – yes, the paprika was supposed to be tossed with the chickpeas before they roast. Should be delicious still without it!
Thos was absolutely delicious. And so easy to make. Thanks for sharing.
What do you do w the chickpeas? They’re in the ingredients and not the instructions?
Hi Alexis, it’s linked to roasted chickpeas, here are the instructions to roast them: https://www.loveandlemons.com/roasted-chickpeas/
Wow, we made this salad recently and loved it. So much flavor and would also be delicious with either shrimp or chicken. This recipe will become a favorite I believe!
I really liked this recipe! The roasted tomatoes were amazing, and I think it’s great with a little extra lemon for zing, however I keep screwing up the toasted chickpeas! They just don’t seem crispy enough even after extra cooking, and I thought I dried them plenty. Perhaps I drizzled too much olive oil? Any tips? Anyways, love your recipes!
Hi Abby, I’m glad you loved it! You can keep cooking the chickpeas longer – just yesterday I was cooking some and I forgot to set the timer so they went at least 10 minutes longer. They turned out SUPER good and crispy, so I’m going to adjust the timing suggestion in my recipe.
I absolutely love your recipes!
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.
I’m so glad you all loved it! Sometimes, I make the tomatoes the day before, it helps the process go quicker.
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.
Hi Leslie, I’m so glad you enjoyed it!
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!
Ha ha, yay!! I’m so glad you loved it so much. Thanks for taking a minute to come back and let me know 🙂
You have smoked paprika on the ingredients list but I’m missing where it gets added?
oh thanks for pointing that out! I toss it with the chickpeas before roasting.
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.
Hi Alicia, here are the original instructions for the tomatoes and chickpeas:
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.
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.