This is one of those recipes you can play with, adding whatever vegetables and seasonings you prefer. Also called pearl couscous, Israeli couscous is a really small type of pasta made from semolina. It is not a grain, as some believe.


(Please note that some of these amounts are approximate.)

  • 1 box Israeli or pearl couscous
  • ½ red bell pepper, finely diced
  • ½ yellow bell pepper, finely diced
  • ½ green bell pepper, finely diced (jalapeno can be substituted for a spicier version)
  • ¼ cup chopped Kalamata or Nicoise olives
  • ½ red onion, finely diced
  • 1 cup baby spinach leaves, finely chopped
  • ½ cup sun dried tomatoes finely diced
  • 1 cup frozen peas, thawed
  • 2 tbsp. sunflower seeds
  • salt, freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • fresh parsley or thyme, chopped
  • fresh cilantro, chopped


  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup red wine vinegar
  • 2 tsp. harissa sauce (hot chili paste), or to taste


  1. For the couscous, cook the pasta according to package directions. Drain, if needed, rinse, and let cool.
  2. In a bowl, combine the bell peppers, olives, onion, spinach, sun dried tomatoes, peas, and sunflower seeds. Add the cooled couscous. Season with salt, pepper, and herbs.
  3. Whisk together the dressing ingredients. Add to the salad, gently mixing to coat everything with the dressing. Taste. Adjust seasonings as needed. Garnish with more chopped fresh cilantro. (This can be made ahead and refrigerated. Bring back to room temperature before serving.)

Makes 4 servings.

Barbara Walch

Barbara Walch joined the staff of Plano Profile in August 1986 and currently serves as Food Editor and Associate Publisher, Community Relations. In addition to writing Dining In, a monthly food feature,...