Delightful Israeli Couscous Salad Recipe with Cranberries

Picture this: it’s a sunny day, and you’re hosting a summer BBQ for your friends and family. You’ve got the grill fired up, cold drinks on ice, and plenty of snacks to go around. But what will be the centerpiece of your menu? Look no further than my Israeli Couscous and Cranberry Salad recipe.

This salad is the perfect addition to any summer spread, with its refreshing blend of savory and sweet flavors. The blend of tender Israeli couscous, tangy dried cranberries, fresh cilantro, and zesty lemon zest is sure to please any palate.

Not only is this dish delicious, but it’s also incredibly simple to make. And with a bit of creativity and improvisation, you can even customize the recipe to your liking.

So whether you’re hosting a big BBQ or just looking for a flavorful side dish for your next weeknight dinner, this Israeli Couscous and Cranberry Salad is always a crowd-pleaser. Trust me – once you try it, you’ll be making it again and again.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Israeli Couscous and Cranberry Salad
Israeli Couscous and Cranberry Salad

If you’re a fan of hearty, flavorful salads that are filled with texture and bursting with flavor, then you absolutely must try my Israeli Couscous and Cranberry Salad recipe. This salad is a true crowd-pleaser and will be the star of any dinner party or potluck gathering.

First of all, let’s talk about the star of the show- the Israeli couscous. It’s larger and chewier than traditional couscous, which gives this salad a unique texture that’s both satisfying and delicious. And when combined with dried cranberries, toasted pine nuts, and juicy apples, it creates a burst of flavors that are guaranteed to have everyone coming back for seconds.

But what really sets this recipe apart is the dressing- a combination of olive oil, lemon juice, shallots, and fresh cilantro. The citrusy tang of the lemon brightens up the flavors of the salad, while the shallots provide a welcome bite. And as for the fresh cilantro- well, it adds an herbaceous note that brings everything together in perfect harmony.

This salad is also incredibly versatile- you can easily add or subtract ingredients based on what you have on hand or personal preferences. Add some diced chicken for protein or roasted butternut squash for a seasonal twist. Swap out dried cranberries for apricots or raisins if you prefer. The possibilities are endless!

Finally, this Israeli Couscous and Cranberry Salad is quick and easy to make- perfect for those busy weeknights when you don’t have hours to spend in the kitchen. It’s also a great make-ahead option- simply prepare everything in advance and store it in an airtight container until ready to serve.

In short, there are countless reasons why you’ll love this recipe- from its delicious flavors to its ease of preparation. So what are you waiting for? Add it to your meal plan today and enjoy!

Ingredient List

 Burst of color and flavor!
Burst of color and flavor!

Here are the ingredients you will need to make this delicious Israeli Couscous and Cranberry Salad Recipe:

For the Salad:

  • 1 cup Israeli couscous
  • ½ cup dried cranberries
  • 1 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • ½ cup toasted pine nuts
  • 2 cups of chicken broth (substitute with vegetable broth for a vegetarian version)
  • salt to taste

For the Dressing:

  • ⅓ cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped shallot
  • 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
  • ¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Gather these ingredients and let’s get ready to cook!

The Recipe How-To

 Simple ingredients, impressive presentation
Simple ingredients, impressive presentation

Cooking Israeli Couscous

Israeli couscous, also known as pearl couscous, is the perfect alternative to traditional pasta and rice. It has a delightfully tender and chewy texture that complements various flavors and ingredients. Before cooking, toast the couscous in a pan over medium-high heat for about two minutes until slightly browned, then add two cups of chicken broth or water per cup of couscous.

If you prefer to avoid chicken broth, use vegetable broth instead. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and cover the pot with a lid. Let it simmer for 10-12 minutes or until the couscous is tender but still slightly firm to the bite (al dente). Fluff the cooked couscous with a fork to prevent clumping and let it cool for about 10-15 minutes.

Making The Salad Dressing

To make the salad dressing, whisk together olive oil, freshly squeezed lemon juice, finely diced shallot, and lemon zest together in a small bowl. Let it sit at room temperature while preparing other ingredients to allow flavors to meld.

Preparing Other Ingredients

Meanwhile, combine all salad ingredients in a large mixing bowl: cooked Israeli couscous, chopped fresh cilantro, thinly sliced red onion, diced sweet-tart apple such as Granny Smith or Honeycrisp, and toasted pine nuts. Add the dried cranberries last, lightly tossing them in so they do not get mushy.

Assembling The Salad

Pour the dressing over the mixed salad ingredients and gently toss everything together using your hands or spatula until completely coated in dressing. Taste for seasoning adjustment – add more salt or lemon juice if needed.

Plating Suggestions

The salad is best served chilled or at room temperature. Sprinkle additional cilantro leaves on top before serving for extra freshness and pop of color. To make it more filling or protein-rich, add crumbled feta cheese or cooked diced chicken.

I suggest making a double batch of this salad because it disappears quickly! This salad makes an excellent side dish for grilled meats or fish but I also love it on its own as light lunch fare.

Substitutions and Variations

 A perfect combination of healthy and delicious
A perfect combination of healthy and delicious

When it comes to making salads, you can play around with the ingredients to create unique flavors and textures. This is the beauty of salads; they are so versatile that you can use any ingredient you have on hand.

If you don’t have Israeli couscous, you can use regular couscous or quinoa instead. You could also try using bulgur wheat, farro or rice for a nutty flavor.

For a different twist, try adding in some roasted butternut squash or diced sweet potatoes to add a touch of sweetness to your salad.

If you want to add more protein to your salad, consider adding cooked chicken, turkey or tofu. Chickpeas or black beans also work well and give the salad an extra boost of fiber.

If you’re not a fan of cilantro, swap it out for another herb like parsley or mint. Red onions can be substituted with green onions or shallots if desired.

If you prefer your salads with no dairy products, then leave out the feta cheese and pine nuts, and replace them with some toasted almonds or sunflower seeds.

Lastly, spice up your salad by switching out the dried cranberries for raisins or chopped dried apricots. Try adding in some diced apples for crunch, and use orange juice as a substitute for lemon juice for a sweeter flavor that complements the tartness of cranberries beautifully.

Get creative with your ingredients and keep experimenting till you find your own signature couscous salad recipe that tickles your taste buds.

Serving and Pairing

 Vibrant and fresh as a summer day
Vibrant and fresh as a summer day

There’s no doubt that this Israeli Couscous and Cranberry Salad is the perfect side dish to serve alongside any main course. The combination of chewy Israeli couscous, tart cranberries, and crunchy pine nuts makes for a tasty and satisfying complement to any savory dish.

This salad is best served chilled, making it a refreshing option for warm-weather gatherings like barbecues or picnics. Its colorful appearance also adds a pop of vibrancy to your table spread.

If you’re looking to pair this dish with a specific entree, try serving it alongside grilled chicken or fish for a well-rounded meal. Alternatively, this salad can also be enjoyed as a light lunch on its own or as a filling snack throughout the day.

To add some extra protein to the mix, consider tossing in some chickpeas or sliced almonds. For an even more unique flavor profile, try dressing the salad with a dash of turmeric to give it an earthy and slightly spicy kick.

No matter how you choose to serve and pair it, this Israeli Couscous and Cranberry Salad is sure to impress your guests and make for a wholesome addition to any dining experience.

Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating

 A satisfying salad with a burst of sweetness
A satisfying salad with a burst of sweetness

Preparing for a party can be stressful, so it’s always a great idea to make things easier by preparing dishes ahead of time. Fortunately, this Israeli Couscous and Cranberry Salad recipe can be prepared ahead of time, making it the perfect dish for entertaining.

Once you have made the dish, you can store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Be sure to give it a good stir before serving to redistribute any dressing or seasonings that may have settled at the bottom.

If you want to enjoy the salad warm, you can simply reheat it in a microwave-safe dish or on the stovetop. To reheat on the stovetop, add a splash of chicken broth or water and stir occasionally until heated through.

However, if you plan to serve the salad as a cold side dish or appetizer, I recommend waiting until just before serving to mix in any fresh herbs or toppings like pine nuts or feta cheese. This will help preserve their taste and texture.

It’s important to note that the salad may soak up some of the dressing over time. If this happens, simply mix up a little more dressing and add it to the salad right before serving. Trust me, your guests won’t even know the difference.

By keeping these storage and reheating tips in mind, you can take some of the stress out of party planning and enjoy more time with your guests.

Tips for Perfect Results

 The perfect side dish to accompany any meal
The perfect side dish to accompany any meal

While making a delicious Israeli Couscous and Cranberry Salad may seem like an easy task, there are key factors that can make or break your dish. Here are some tips to achieve perfect results every time:

1. Toast the pine nuts: To bring out their nutty flavor, it’s essential to toast the pine nuts before adding them to the salad. Simply heat a dry pan over medium-low heat and cook the pine nuts until they turn golden brown.

2. Use chicken broth: Instead of using plain water to cook your couscous, try using chicken broth for a richer taste. It will add an extra layer of flavor to your dish and make all the difference.

3. Let it chill: Once you’ve finished preparing the salad, put it in the fridge to chill for at least 30 minutes before serving. Chilling helps marry all the flavors together, resulting in a more cohesive and flavorful dish.

4. Adjust seasoning: Don’t be afraid to adjust the seasoning of your salad. Taste frequently as you go and add more salt, lemon juice or olive oil according to your preference and taste buds.

5. Be creative with ingredients: While the ingredients listed in the recipe are essential for creating the base tangy and sweet flavors, you can always improvise by adding other fruits or herbs like thyme or parsley for a twist on the classic recipe.

By following these tips, you’ll be sure to impress your guests with a delectable Israeli Couscous and Cranberry Salad that is unfailingly delicious every time.

Bottom Line

In conclusion, this Israeli Couscous and Cranberry Salad Recipe is a must-try for any home cook who loves to host parties. It’s easy to make, requires only a few ingredients, and can be prepared ahead of time. The combination of flavors and textures will leave your guests satisfied and impressed.

With the right ingredients and tips, you can easily customize this salad to your liking. Whether you prefer more pine nuts or cilantro, or want to add roasted butternut squash or diced dried apricots into the mix, the possibilities are endless with this versatile recipe.

And with its health benefits – low in fat, high in fiber, and packed with antioxidants – you can indulge without any guilt.

So go ahead, give it a try! Impress your guests at your next party with this delicious Israeli Couscous and Cranberry Salad Recipe. I guarantee it will be a crowd-pleaser!

Israeli Couscous and Cranberry Salad

Israeli Couscous and Cranberry Salad Recipe

This is a delicious and colourful salad which is quick and easy to make. Keeps well if it lasts that long. I only used 1 cup of dried craisins and as I didn't have a full cup of them I topped it up with dried currants. I also only used 1/3 cup of pine nuts as that was all I had, and also they are very expensive, so using a whole cup seems a bit extravagant. However I submit the recipe in it's original form.
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Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Course Appetizer/Side dish
Cuisine Middle Eastern
Servings 8
Calories 274 kcal


  • 1 cup israeli couscous
  • 2 cups vegetable stock
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 2 cups dried cranberries
  • 1 cup pine nuts
  • 1/2 cup spring onion, white parts only, chopped
  • 1/2 red onion, medium sized and finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 1/2 lemon
  • salt


  • Heat 1 tbsp olive oil over a medium heta in a heavy bottomed saucepan.
  • Add the Israeli couscous and stir about 1 minute or until the couscous is lightly browned.
  • Stir in 2 cups of stock, cover with lid, reduce heat to low and simmer for about 15 minutes or until the couscous has absorbed most of the liquid and is al dente.
  • Drain in a colander, but do not rinse. Leave to cool.
  • Once cool stir in the remaining3 tbsps olive oil to coast and separate the grains.
  • Combine the couscous with the cranberries, pine nuts, spring onions, red onion, cilantro, lemon zest and shallots.
  • Spritz with lemon juice and adjust with salt to taste.

Your Own Notes


Serving: 90gCalories: 274kcalCarbohydrates: 23.9gProtein: 5.5gFat: 18.5gSaturated Fat: 1.8gSodium: 5.3mgFiber: 3.3gSugar: 2.2g
Keyword < 30 Mins, Grains, Vegan
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