Sweet heat combines with smooth and crunchy textures for a tasty make-ahead salad.

Curried Israeli Couscous Salad

I’m in the midst of planning a getaway for my 40th birthday (cough, gasp, wheeze) to Tel Aviv next year and it got me thinking about this salad idea using Israeli couscous. Sweet raisins combined with mild curry heat, and soft couscous with crunchy veggies make for an interesting flavour / texture combo that’s easy to make ahead for a quick weeknight side salad and keeps well for weekday lunches .

Israeli couscous is made of the same semolina flour as regular couscous, but because the grains are much larger (about the size of a pea) it offers more substance to this type of dish. While regular couscous is dried, the Israeli variety is toasted after being formed for a nuttier flavour and stronger texture. The grains soak in flavour and seasonings really well so the longer this dish sits the better it tastes as the flavours come together.

If you can’t find Israeli couscous at your grocery store, standard couscous or even quinoa would work as an alternate option. I’ve had better luck recently at a bulk grocery store, and there’s always Amazon.



  • 1 cup cooked Israeli couscous (also known as pearl couscous), cooled
  • ½ cup diced cucumber
  • 1/3 cup sultana raisins
  • 2 tbsp sunflower seeds
  • 2 tbsp chopped parsley
  • ½ tsp ground turmeric
  • ½ tsp curry powder
  • 2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. Cook the couscous according to package directions and set aside to cool at room temperature. I find for best results, use 2 parts water to 1 part uncooked couscous. Bring water to boil, then add couscous and reduce to low and simmer covered for approximately 20 – 25 minutes. The couscous should be soft but still a bit firm so it holds up when mixed with the other ingredients.
  2. Prepare the remaining ingredients and combine with the cooled couscous in a large mixing bowl.
  3. Store in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 1 week


1 cup Israeli couscous uncooked on the left and cooked on the right, doubled in volume.