Easty feasty: Israeli couscous salad with a lemon vinaigrette

By Unna Burch

Featured in Capital #10
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Israeli or pearl couscous is one of my favourite things to have as a salad base. It has the same cooking method and texture as pasta. I found mine in the ‘Alison’s Pantry’ section of the supermarket so it’s a pretty common ingredient. If you haven’t tried it before I suggest you do, my kids love it! Any left overs make a perfect lunch for work or try it as the next dish you take to a pot luck or BBQ.

Serves: 8 as a side dish
Prep and cooking time: 20mins


For the salad
2 ½ cups Israeli couscous
½ cup pinenuts (or sunflower seeds) lightly toasted¾ cup currants
zest of 2x lemons
150g feta – I used a local Zany Zeus creamy feta
Small bunch pea shoots or sprouts
Bunch of flat leaf parsley, chopped
Bunch chives, finely chopped

To serve
Olive oil
Crack black pepper


4 Tspn olive oil – I used Al Brown’s lemon and fennel infused olive oil, its very good. Or just use regular olive oil and extra lemon juice
2 Tspn lemon juice
2 Tspn rice wine vinegar
1 Tspn runny honey
Salt and Pepper


1. Bring a large pot of water to the boil and season generously with salt. Cook the couscous for 8mins or until al dente.

2. While the couscous is cooking shake all the ingredients for the dressing in a jar. Taste for seasoning – salt, pepper and lemon.

3. Drain the cooked couscous and add to a large mixing bowl. Pour the dressing over while its hot so that it can absorb all the flavour.

4. Add all the other ingredients except the sprouts and mix well (I save a little bit of everything to add to the top of the salad once mixed – this is purely for aesthetics, as when its all tossed together, some of the ingredients can get ‘lost’) Taste. Does it need salt (it has feta and that is salty) pepper or more lemon juice? Once the seasoning is good, transfer to a platter to serve on.  Just before serving add the sprouts on top, drizzle with olive oil and an extra grind of black pepper.

Note: Pea shoots are available from Moore Wilsons already grown, much like living herbs. Or you can grow them on your windowsill in your kitchen from seed. They usually germinate ready to use in 7-10 days! A good project to do with the kids.


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