Pearl Couscous & Lentil Salad

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!)

Print

Pearl Couscous & Lentil Salad


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  • 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.


Scale

Ingredients

  • 1 1/3 cup French lentils
  • 1 cup pearl couscous (whole wheat if possible; also called Israeli couscous)
  • 4 Roma tomatoes
  • 6 green onions
  • 1/3 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 1/4 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

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About the Authors

Sonja Overhiser

Cookbook Author and writer

Sonja Overhiser is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food blog A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.

Alex Overhiser

Cookbook Author and photographer

Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the recipe website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best vegetarian cookbooks by Epicurious.

15 Comments

  • Reply
    Snippets of Thyme
    August 18, 2011 at 9:02 am

    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.

    • Reply
      Sonja
      August 22, 2011 at 9:32 am

      That sounds delicious! I’ve never had cranberry beans – I’ll have to give them a try!

  • Reply
    Tessa
    August 18, 2011 at 11:45 pm

    Love this idea. It looks like a perfect one-pot, light dinner to me!

  • Reply
    Parsley Sage
    August 19, 2011 at 9:05 am

    Oh yea, big thumbs up. Awesome one-bowl meal :) Love the mint! Buzzed

  • Reply
    Lindsay @ Pinch of Yum
    August 19, 2011 at 10:10 am

    Lentils make me think of Spain. :) This looks delicious! I would put it on a salad … I love salads with lots of beans and grains.

  • Reply
    Domestic Deepa
    August 20, 2011 at 11:38 pm

    Looks delicious! Love feta with lentil salads – great photo too.

  • Reply
    Simone
    August 21, 2011 at 2:50 am

    I love one bowl meals too! And I love dishes like this.. Sounds like the perfect dinner or lunch (and love that fork!)

    • Reply
      Sonja
      August 22, 2011 at 9:33 am

      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 :)

  • Reply
    Tiffany
    August 21, 2011 at 9:57 pm

    I’m a sucker for one bowl meals too! These flavors are great!

  • Reply
    Josie Lee Suská
    August 22, 2011 at 3:47 am

    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.

    • Reply
      Sonja
      August 22, 2011 at 11:43 am

      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!

  • Reply
    Val
    August 22, 2011 at 8:51 am

    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 :-)

    • Reply
      Sonja
      August 22, 2011 at 11:43 am

      I agree! We’re feta fans too, and it worked perfect with this one!

  • Reply
    Lisa Frank
    May 30, 2012 at 12:33 pm

    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!!

  • Reply
    JeanB
    August 27, 2019 at 8:46 pm

    This looks great! I’m also adding cucumber, red onion, and baby spinach to load up on the veggies.

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