This delicious couscous salad, loaded with fresh herbs, crunchy vegetables and briny feta, pulled together by a lemony salad dressing, is absolutely perfect for your summer picnics and barbecues!
For more summer side dishes, take a look at our Salad Recipe Collection for inspiration.
It took me long enough to share my go-to summer picnic recipe but late is better than never. This couscous salad has been showing up on our table for nearly two decades. It’s time I made it known to you, my friends.
Why this recipe works
Although quite simple in concept, this salad is packed with amazing flavours mostly due to a handful of fresh herbs and salty feta cheese.
The ingredient list is not very long and calls for the most common salad components. Cucumbers, tomatoes, radishes and shallots. What sets it apart is a combination of fresh mint, parsley and dill, which gives this salad its summer freshness.
That and of course, the salad dressing, which adds a load of zingy lemon flavour.
The Salad Dressing Recipe
As delicious as this dressing is, it is not revolutionary. I am using a classic French vinaigrette but instead of white wine vinegar, I use freshly squeezed lemon juice for the acidic touch. If you want to amp the flavour even more, add lemon zest to your dressing.
A simple mix and shake of some lemon juice, Dijon mustard, ½ clove of grated garlic, salt, pepper and good quality extra virgin olive oil make the quickest and most delicious vinaigrette.
This is my most used salad dressing recipe. You can add some dried herbs like oregano, basil or tarragon if you wish.
Recipe Tips and Notes
- Parsley, mint and dill might not be the most common herb mix but they work surprisingly well together and create a fresh taste.
- Feta cheese adds loads of flavour and a bit of creaminess. You can also experiment with blue cheese like Stilton or goat cheese.
- It’s important to flavour and season the couscous before adding to the salad. I cook mine in vegetable stock instead of water.
- Paper thin crunchy vegetables create a delicate and exciting texture in this salad. Use mandoline if you have one.
- I love thinly sliced shallots in a salad as they have milder taste than onions. Or try green onions or chives instead
- Customise your veg! Fresh spinach or arugula/rocket taste amazing when added to this couscous salad. Or add chickpeas for extra protein.
- Change things up by using Israeli/pearl couscous, farro or bulgur instead of regular couscous.
- Throw in some nuts like almonds or pistachio for extra texture.
- Finally, don’t forget to chill the salad before serving!
How long it keeps
The reason I call this recipe summer picnic salad is because it’s ideal to take along on a picnic or bring to a potluck or a barbecue. It’s tastes great when served at room temperature.
It doesn’t wilt and it will keep in your fridge for a couple of days, which is amazing for a salad.
More Classic Summer Salads to Try:
- Cucumber and Tomato Salad
- Classic Coleslaw Recipe
- Caprese Salad
- Pasta Salad with Basil Vinaigrette
- Dill Potato Salad
- 300g/2 cups couscous uncooked
- 625ml/2.5 cups boiling vegetable stock or water
- 300g/2 cups cherry tomatoes
- 3-4 small or 1 big English cucumber
- 5-6 radishes
- ½ shallot
- 10g/1/3 cup mint fresh, chopped
- 10g/1/3 cup parsley fresh, chopped
- 10g/1/3 cup dill fresh, chopped
- 100g/2/3 cup feta cheese
- 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
- ½ clove garlic grated
- pinch of salt and pepper
- 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- salt to taste
- In a medium bowl combine the couscous with boiling stock or water, cover with a tight fitting lid or put a plate on it and let it stand for 10-15 minutes. Uncover and fuff with a fork, cool to room temperature.
- Chop the mint, parsley and dill. Slice the cucumber, radishes and shallot, cut the cherry tomatoes in half.
- In a large bowl combine the cooled couscous, herbs, sliced cucumber, radishes and shallots, add the halved cherry tomatoes and feta cheese, then toss gently to combine.
- In a mason jar mix the lemon juice, Dijon mustard, grated garlic, salt, pepper and the olive oil. Put a lid on a jar and shake until the mixture emulsified. Pour over the salad and mix until it's evenly coated. Taste and add more salt if needed. Chill in a fridge before serving.