Couscous salad

Couscous salad

30 min
Are you in love with anything Mediterranean and have you been wanting to experiment with using couscous in salad? Then you have found your way to the perfect recipe! This quick couscous salad with watermelon, green peppers, red onion, and salad cheese is packed with beautiful colours and flavours. Served with strips of delicious flank steak and bread, this Mediterranean salad is perfect for nights when you want to cook a quick but tasty dinner.


Couscous salad:
  • Place the couscous and salt in a bowl and cover with boiling water. Let it sit for about 10 minutes. Stir a few times with a fork as it sits.
  • Cut salad cheese into cubes and fold them into the couscous with olive oil, mint, lemon juice, and salt.
  • Cover it and place it in the fridge for at least 15 minutes.
  • Add watermelon, onion, and green pepper. Season to taste and arrange it on a platter.
Flank steak:
  • Let the butter brown lightly in a pan. Sear the steak for about 1 minute on each side and season it with salt and pepper. Then, cook it at low heat for about 12 minutes – turn the steak occasionally.
  • Take the flank steak out of the pan, cover it, and let it rest for about 10 minutes.
  • Cut the steak into strips and serve them with the couscous salad and bread.

The best couscous salad has a tender and fluffy base. As such, it is important to use a fork to fluff up the couscous once it has absorbed all the water in the bowl to avoid it clumping together. It might look dense when it has finished cooking, but as soon as you fluff it up with a fork, you get that delicious light and fluffy consistency you are looking for.


If you want to spend a few minutes ensuring you get the fluffiest result, place a clean kitchen towel on a baking sheet and transfer the cooked couscous to it. Now gently use your fingers to break up the grains.

Questions about couscous salad

With our recipe for couscous salad served with flank steak and bursting with Mediterranean flavours, you get a delicious dinner meal that will also taste great the next day as a quick lunch. Learn more about the dish below by reading our answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about it.

What is couscous salad?
Couscous salad is an easy and delicious filling side dish that pairs nicely with many types of meat, or it can make for a lovely light lunch on its own. Popular across the Mediterranean, Middle East, and Northern Africa, it may be prepared with a wide selection of different fruits, vegetables, herbs, and dressings. You can even use toasted nuts, dried fruits, and the like to add different textures to the fluffy and chewy couscous.
How to make couscous salad?
Start by cooking the couscous. Simply cover it with boiling water and let it sit until tender. Once done, mix it with lemon juice, olive oil, fresh mint, and salt to start layering beautiful Mediterranean flavours. As it cools, grill the flank steak. In turn, as the steak rests, add pepper, onion, and watermelon to the salad and arrange it for serving with strips of tender flank steak on the side as well as a bit of bread.
How long does couscous salad last in the fridge?
A couscous salad with fresh herbs, fruits, and vegetables will last for up to 3-4 days if refrigerated properly in an airtight container. As it may be served cold, it makes for a nice and easy lunch in the following days. Add the strips of flank steak to the dish itself for a flavourful steak and couscous salad with heaps of freshness; the steak will also last 3-4 days. If possible, if storing for more than a day, store it without the watermelon as this might make it soggy.
Can you freeze couscous salad?
While you can easily freeze cooked couscous for up to 4 months, a homemade couscous salad with a selection of fresh fruit, vegetables, and herbs does not freeze well. As such, we recommend freezing batches of couscous and making everything fresh with fresh vegetables and herbs mixed with the frozen and then thawed couscous. The best way to freeze it to ensure a fluffy texture is to cool it on a baking tray, cover it with cling film, freeze it, break it into grains with a fork, and transfer it to freezer bags. Defrost it in the microwave or a pan on low heat.


Couscous salad:
Couscous (approx. 2½ dl)
200 g
Coarse salt
½ tsp
Boiling water
¼ litre
White cheese cubes or a white cheese block
150 g
Virgin olive oil
1 tbsp
Fresh mint leaves, finely chopped
50 ml
Freshly squeezed lemon juice
50 ml
Coarse salt
¾ tsp
Watermelons, cubed
300 g
Red onions, finely chopped (approx. 150 g)
Green peppers, in small cubes (approx. 200 g)
Flank steak:
25 g
Flank steak (approx. 400 g)
Coarse salt
¾ tsp
Freshly churned pepper
Served with:
Country bread
240 g

Mediterranean watermelon couscous salad

Couscous has a mild flavour with sweet and nutty undertones that pairs well with a range of different fruits, herbs, and vegetables. It adds a lovely, fluffy though slightly firm and chewy texture to dishes which is why using couscous in salad is a popular choice in many cuisines around the Mediterranean.

The soft texture pairs well with the crunchiness of the red onion and green pepper, and the slightly bitter taste of these ingredients complements the couscous' natural sweetness which is highlighted by the sweet watermelon. The addition of salty salad cheese enhances these flavours and rounds out the overall experience.

Irresistible watermelon in salad

A Mediterranean salad like this gives you a lot of options when it comes to the different fresh ingredients you can use. Watermelon is a great choice with its juiciness and sweetness as well as slightly crunchy texture. The sweet flavour makes it complementary to mild couscous as well as the sharp onion and green pepper, chewy salty salad cheese, and fresh mint. It adds some balance both in terms of flavour and texture and a surprising and delicious element that takes your mind straight to the Mediterranean.

Delicious mint and lemon dressing

A tangy couscous salad dressing is the perfect finishing touch. We have chosen to pair zingy lemon juice and fresh mint leaves with olive oil to create a dressing with plenty of zings which will give you a refreshing and cooling feeling on your palate. The sweetness of the mint goes well with the grilled flank steak and flavourful watermelon couscous salad and may quickly become your favourite dressing.

Serve as a side to flank steak

This vegetable couscous salad is a great side dish to a tender flank steak. A perfectly cooked flank steak has a lightly caramelised surface and lots of intense and rich beef flavour, which is delicious when served with a couscous salad full of Mediterranean flavours. This rich cut of meat is perfectly complemented by the freshness of the vegetables and especially by the sweet and juicy watermelon.

Experiment with other Mediterranean flavours

There are endless options for what to put in our delicious side dish to keep it interesting every time you make it.

Finding inspiration in Mediterranean cuisine, you can look to the Traditional Greek salad and use beautifully fresh ingredients like olives, tomato, and cucumber in the Mediterranean couscous salad. You can also use the zesty, Italian gremolata sauce as a bright and vibrant addition to the dressing. Or lean into the sweetness of this recipe and add apricots, figs, raisins and chopped almonds alongside chickpeas for a Moroccan couscous salad.