This pearl couscous and lentil salad is a delightful mix of textures, featuring tomatoes, mint, lemon, and a sprinkle of salty feta.

Pearl couscous and lentils

Looking for a versatile salad recipe? This pearl couscous and lentil salad is full of Mediterranean flavors, featuring tomatoes, fresh mint, and feta cheese. It works as a side to accompany a meal off the grill (maybe these Greek portobello burgers), or to bring to a summer cookout. It would be delicious served with a variety of summer salads, perhaps to bring on a picnic. Keep reading for more about pearl couscous and this delicious salad recipe!

What is pearl couscous?

Although it looks like a grain, couscous is actually tiny ground pasta. It’s made from a type of wheat called semolina. Standard couscous looks like very tiny grains. In contrast, pearl couscous is larger, almost the size of small pearls. Also called Israeli couscous, it’s made from both wheat flour and semolina. You can find both standard and whole wheat pearl couscous at the grocery store.

Making this pearl couscous and lentil salad

And while it might look unassuming, the flavor combination in this pearl couscous and lentil salad perfectly fresh and delicious. It’s simple, but with a bit of complexity from the mint and zesty lemon. The salty feta was a great compliment to the Mediterranean flavors. So whether you are a one-bowl proponent or not, this is a wonderful summer salad to add to the repertoire!

To make this salad, you’ll boil up the pearl couscous and lentils in separate pots. The lentils take about 20 minutes to boil, whereas the couscous only takes 8 minutes (remember, it’s pasta!). Then chop up all the veggies, which you’ll use raw: tomatoes, green onions, mint and lemon. Then, throw it all together with some red wine vinegar, olive oil, and mustard.

Related: Lentil to Water Ratio | What are Lentils?

Looking for more salad recipes?

Outside of this pearl couscous and lentil salad, here are a few of our favorite salads on A Couple Cooks:

This pearl couscous & lentil salad recipe is…

Vegetarian and gluten-free. For vegan, plant-based, and dairy-free, omit the feta cheese. (It’s still just as tasty!)

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Pearl Couscous & Lentil Salad


  • Author: a Couple Cooks
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x

Description

This pearl couscous and lentil salad is a delightful mix of textures, featuring tomatoes, mint, lemon, and a sprinkle of salty feta.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 1 ⅓ cup French lentils
  • 1 cup pearl couscous (whole wheat if possible; also called Israeli couscous)
  • 4 Roma tomatoes
  • 6 green onions
  • ⅓ cup fresh mint (thinly sliced)
  • 1 lemon
  • 4 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons stone ground mustard
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Fresh ground black pepper
  • Feta cheese crumbles, to serve

Instructions

  1. Add the lentils and 4 cups water to a saucepan; bring to a boil and simmer with the top tilted for about 20 minutes until the desired tenderness is reached. Drain, rinse under cool water, and set aside.
  2. In a separate saucepan, bring 1 ¼ cup water to a boil. Add the pearl couscous; cover and simmer for about 8 minutes. Drain, rinse under cool water, and set aside.
  3. Cut the tomatoes into bite-sized chunks. Slice the green onions. Thinly slice (chiffonade) the mint. Zest the lemon.
  4. Combine couscous, lentils, tomatoes, green onions, mint, and lemon zest with the red wine vinegar, olive oil, stone ground mustard, kosher salt, and fresh ground black pepper. Stir to combine. Serve garnished with crumbled feta cheese.

Notes

Inspired by Country Living

  • Category: Salad
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Mediterranean

Keywords: Pearl Couscous, Lentils, Lentil Salad

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Meet Sonja and Alex Overhiser: Husband and wife. Expert home cooks. Authors of recipes you'll want to make again and again.

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15 Comments

  1. I too love these bean salads. I made a cranberry bean/black quinoa salad that my daughter repeatedly asks me to make. I was at a Williams-Sonoma cooking class and really enjoyed our samples of it. It looks very similar to your lovely dish.

    1. Thank you — and I love the fork too! We’ve been starting to collect interesting silverware – always a fun thing to look for at antique shops :)

  2. Great looking dish! I just made something really similar over at Cumin in the Cupboard…but didn’t have feta on hand. I ended up tossing it with some crisp greens to lighten it up, but the pearl couscous is a great idea to reduce the density of those lentils.

    1. Yes, I had made something similar in the past without the couscous and thought it added nicely. Let us know if you give it a try!

  3. I am a huge fan of one bowl meals. This one looks particularly fresh and wholesome. There’s nothing more perfect than finishing off with a sprinkling of feta cheese :-)

  4. I made this for dinner last night and served it over fresh spinach with lemon wedges. Oh my, it was so delicious and fresh! To save time, I used one package of Trader Joe’s pre-cooked refrigerated lentils and it all came together in no time. It was so good, in fact, that I found myself craving it at 11pm and had to sneak back to the fridge…how crazy is that?! :) This will be one of my new go-to recipes–thank you!!

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