Israeli Couscous and Chickpea Salad Recipe (2024)

By Martha Rose Shulman

Israeli Couscous and Chickpea Salad Recipe (1)

Total Time
30 minutes
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You can find a whole-wheat version of the spherical couscous marketed as Israeli couscous in some whole foods and Middle Eastern markets.

Featured in: Recipes for Health: Lunches to Take to Work

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Yield:3 to 4 generous servings.

  • 1cup Israeli couscous, preferably whole-wheat
  • 2tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • ½cup finely chopped cilantro
  • 2tablespoons chopped chives
  • 1ounce feta, diced
  • 2tablespoons pine nuts, lightly toasted
  • 1can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • ½red pepper, cut in thin 2-inch slices
  • 2tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1teaspoon cumin seeds, lightly toasted and ground
  • Salt to taste
  • ¼cup plain low-fat yogurt (or use half olive oil)
  • ½teaspoon Aleppo pepper or mild chili powder (more to taste)

Ingredient Substitution Guide

Nutritional analysis per serving (4 servings)

436 calories; 15 grams fat; 3 grams saturated fat; 0 grams trans fat; 7 grams monounsaturated fat; 3 grams polyunsaturated fat; 61 grams carbohydrates; 10 grams dietary fiber; 6 grams sugars; 16 grams protein; 488 milligrams sodium

Note: The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

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Israeli Couscous and Chickpea Salad Recipe (2)


  1. Step


    Heat one tablespoon of the olive oil over medium-high heat in a medium saucepan and add the couscous. Stir until the couscous begins to color and smell toasty, 4 to 5 minutes. Add 2 cups water and salt to taste and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover and simmer 15 minutes, or until the couscous is tender. Drain if any liquid remains in the pan.

  2. Step


    Transfer the couscous to a bowl and add the cilantro, chives, feta, pine nuts, chickpeas and red pepper.

  3. Step


    In a small bowl or measuring cup, mix together the lemon juice, salt, cumin, remaining olive oil, yogurt and Aleppo pepper or chili powder. Toss with the couscous mixture. Refrigerate in a bowl or in containers until ready to take to work or eat.


  • Advance preparation: This will keep for 4 days in the refrigerator.



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Cooking Notes


I give it 5 stars because it was very good and even better... it was very easy and quick to make.


Works well with farro too. I made some changes to made it more flavorful- added some chopped kalamata olives, skipped the yogurt and added more feta. Also used much more of the herbs and spices than in the original recipe.


Easy to make and a good base to play with, to make the recipe your own.I swapped out the couscous for cracked freekah. I then added more ingredients to make this more healthy and interesting, being chopped baby spinach, cherry tomatoes (halved) and diced cucumber. The additions meant four good serves and made a really satisfying salad to take for lunches.


This recipe was excellent and even better the next day! I agree with comments below that it needs additional texture, so I added the whole bell pepper and doubled the pine nuts. I also use plain Greek yogurt for extra tang, added extra lemon juice, some extra olive oil, and a dark chili pepper for some extra heat. I also added some finely chopped olives which added another texture and saltiness. Next time I think I will throw in some dill or fennel fronds for another layer of flavor.


Scrumptious! The texture of the salad is nicely varied. As others have already mentioned, adding more herbs and spices is a good idea. I also threw in some roasted cherry tomatoes, pepper, and zucchini at the end to increase the vegetable content. I roasted the vegetables together with a little olive oil and salt (400F, finished under the broiler), and they were just done when the salad was ready. Very satisfying!


Fun and all ages loved it. I doubled the recipe and I doubt it will make it beyond lunch leftovers. I never regret following the recipes as close as I can, insofar as my pantry permits. I’m learning so much this way. I had to use green onion instead of chive and a fine “Persian” spice blend instead of cumin - but it turned out so well. After toasting I used veg broth to cook and added a bit of cucumber for crunch because I had no pine nuts so I wanted to compensate.


Unexpectedly interesting and good. Would not have ever thought to incorporate yogurt like this. Endlessly variable - I added sun dried tomatoes and cucumbers, but expect this would do well with fresh tomatoes, red onions, arugula, crisp prosciutto - whatever is on hand.


We loved this recipe! I left out the dairy and used an entire red bell pepper, as well as a diced cucumber. Otherwise I followed the recipe. It was so good--and just as good the next couple of days for lunches. Wonderful!


Added garlic while coating the couscous before stock went in and added so much more flavour. Also try get the harvest blend couscous from Trader Joes - so amazing with the additional lentils added. Also adding olives gives it the saltiness it lacks overall.


I used 1/2 chili powder & 1/2 paprika to replace Aleppo pepper, which o couldn’t find.


This is way too sour with lemon and yogurt without any sweet to soften the dressing. Honestly, I think this isn't a couscous salad I would make again without completely rewriting the recipe. Just not good.


I think it’s a nice healthy lunch if whole wheat cous cous is used as well as the low fat yogurt. I had regular grains and full fat yogurt so it was still a really nice lunch. A little putzy toasting the nuts and the seeds and then grinding, but for a salad that lasts so long in the fridge a little extra work is ok. Adding to the rotation!


This salad is highly underrated. I subbed fresh oregano & thyme for the cilantro & chives. I added a few kalamata olives & some chopped celery for crunch! My new fav summer work lunch!!


Another keeper! Doubled the recipe to make enough lunches for the week ( to serve over greens) used recipe suggestion for halved olive oil and full fat greek yogurt in the dressing. Followed recommendations for extra everything, peppers, cilantro and chives. Delicious


Whole Foods has tri-color Pearl couscous. I used toasted chopped walnuts instead of pine nuts. Next time will use half the chickpeas. So good! Add all your extra veggies!


Used Israeli round Tri color couscous found at Encinal no whole wheat available worked great


Used quinoa for the grain, added cukes and grape tomatoes, capers. Delicious! Stuffed into pita pockets lined with spinach leaves. Love the yogurt sauce.


Always a hit! We usually use toasted pepitas since we can’t do pine nuts. Used some cooked salmon last time instead of chickpea. Delicious! Especially after the flavors had time to meld in the fridge.


I have made a variation in this. I use dill instead of cilantro and I add tomatoes. No cumin. It’s different, yes, but good!

Todd Johnson

This is a very simple, fast recipe that tastes fantastic. I usually make fresh chickpeas, but didn't have time tonight, so I used an 18 oz can instead and a whole red bell pepper. Otherwise, I made it exactly as written. Shulman's recipes are among my favorites and this one is no exception. This dish is full of fresh flavors that can be tasted separately, but then blend together for an awesome experience.


Really great recipe, with lots of flavor. I used chicken stock in place of the water. Next time I'll add some cherry tomatoes and kalamata olives

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Israeli Couscous and Chickpea Salad Recipe (2024)
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