This is a giant bowl of yum.
A bowl of all the things I want to eat all summer long. Minus the ice cream.
This Israeli couscous salad could easily become a summer staple.
It’s great to make ahead, can be served cold or warm, is enough to stand alone as a meal or as a beautiful side, and most importantly, it’s packed with delicious summer flavor.
I love Israeli couscous. It has the best texture. Chewy and soft. Like pasta, it absorbs the flavors of anything you add it to. In this case, we’re flavoring it with a quick herby vinaigrette.
Basil, mint, garlic, red wine vinegar, Dijon, and olive oil. That’s it! Blend it all up in a food processor and season, to taste, with salt and pepper. Once the couscous is done cooking and still warm, add it to the dressing so it can absorb all the flavors right from the get go.
It’s hard to not eat just the dressed couscous by the spoonful. So much fresh deliciousness!
But we’re not done. Of course not.
Into the bowl goes some of my favorite summer ingredients: fresh corn cut off the cob, juicy cherry tomatoes, baby arugula, cucumber, and a little bit of red onion for some bite. Toss it all up and add in some additional fresh herbs for good measure.
While this is perfectly delicious as it is, we are taking it up a notch. A HUGE notch.
We’re topping this summer salad with CRISPY HALLOUMI!
OMG. Is there anything better?
If you’ve never had halloumi, you must try. It’s a cheese that has a very unique texture to it. It’s firm and chewy and can be grilled or pan-seared until crispy and golden on the outside and soft and kind of gooey on the inside. It’s super salty and a little bit goes a long way.
Dan and I are OBSESSED with crispy halloumi, and it’s always such a treat when I add it to our meals. Especially in light and bright salads like this one. It adds that wow factor, for sure!
Now, you can of course make this salad your own by adding in whatever veggies you like. Take it in a more Mediterranean direction and add feta and olives to the mix. Grilled zucchini or summer squash would also be fantastic add-ins. You do you!
BUT one thing I must insist on: do the halloumi. It makes the whole situation.
Just look at that.
Summer Israeli Couscous Salad with Crispy Halloumi
- Total Time: 40 minutes
- Yield: 6 servings 1x
This Summer Israeli Couscous Salad with Crispy Halloumi is quickly becoming a summer staple! Fresh herby dressing coats tender couscous and then all the summer veggies get stirred in. The best part is the crispy halloumi cheese on top. This dish is enough to stand on its own, but it also would make for a wonderful side dish all summer long. So much fresh flavor!
For the Dressing:
- 1 packed cup fresh basil
- ¼ packed cup fresh mint
- 1 garlic clove, peeled and smashed
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon DIjon mustard
- ⅓ cup extra-virgin olive oil or avocado oil
- Salt and pepper, to taste
For the Couscous:
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 2 cups Israeli couscous (also known as pearled couscous)
- 4 cups water (or vegetable broth)
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
For the Halloumi:
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 8-oz piece of halloumi cheese, sliced thinly
- For the Salad:
- 2 ears of fresh corn, kernels cut from the cobs (roughly 1 cup of corn)
- 1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
- 2 cups baby arugula
- 1 cup sliced cucumber
- ¼ cup finely diced red onion
- Additional fresh basil or mint, for garnish
- Additional salt and pepper, to taste
For the Dressing:
- In a blender or food processor, combine the herbs, garlic, vinegar, mustard, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Blend on high to combine.
- With the machine running, slowly stream in the oil. Blend until the dressing is thickened and creamy. Season, to taste, with more salt and pepper.
For the Couscous:
- Heat the oil over medium heat in a saucepan. Add the couscous and cook, stirring constantly, until it is lightly browned and toasted in spots, about 2 minutes.
- Add the water and salt. Bring the water to a boil. Reduce the heat and cover the pot.
- Simmer over low heat for 15-20 minutes, or until the water is mostly absorbed and the couscous is fluffy and tender. Drain off any excess liquid.
- While the couscous cooks, prep the fresh ingredients for the salad: cut the corn off the cobs, halve the tomatoes, etc.
- Pour the dressing into a large mixing bowl. Add the cooked couscous while it is still warm and stir well to coat in the dressing. It will absorb the flavors as it sits.
For the Halloumi:
- While the couscous is cooling, make the crispy halloumi by heating a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.
- Slice the cheese and pat dry with paper towels.
- Add the oil to the pan and once it is hot, add the halloumi slices to the hot oil.
- Crisp in the oil for 3 minutes per side. You want the cheese to be golden brown and crisp on the outside and gooey in the middle.
- Set crisped halloumi on a paper-towel lined plate to absorb the excess oil.
- To Assemble:
- To the dressed couscous in the bowl, add the corn, tomatoes, baby arugula, cucumber, red onion, and some additional fresh basil and/or mint. Toss well to combine and season, to taste, with salt and pepper.
- Add the crispy halloumi and gently stir to incorporate. Alternatively, you can wait to top the salad with the halloumi when you are serving the salad. You can also chop it up into smaller pieces and stir it in with the other ingredients.
- The salad can be served immediately or chilled to be served at a later time. It’s great warm or cold. It will keep in the fridge for up to a week.
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 30 minutes
- Category: salads
Keywords: Israeli couscous salad, herby couscous, couscous with crispy halloumi, crispy halloumi cheese, herbed couscous, herbed Israeli couscous salad
great dish, thank you, love the mint with arugula and the halloumi especially, new to me, so much appreciated!
Kimberly B Agee says
Oh my word! This is scrumptious! The red wine herb dressing is everything! I used fresh tomatoes, mint and basil from my garden. I cut the recipe in half but will regret that when I seek leftovers tomorrow. I added a torn piece of prosciutto to the top and feta as I currently don’t have halloumi but I WILL make this often and will find halloumi to try as I hear it is great. I’m always looking for delicious healthy salads like this but am usually disappointed- I finally found a go-to favorite!
I love to hear this. Thanks, Kimberly!
Thanks for the recipe – I added toasted slivered almonds for some added crunch! 😊
This is a seriously delicious recipe, and great for a summertime complete lunch or dinner. The dressing is amazing! Thank you. I skipped the corn because my son hates it, and I think some black olives would be a nice addition. I have one tip for anyone who is hesitant based on the price of Halloumi ($10 for 7.9 oz here) – there is a Mexican cheese called Panela that is VERY similar to Halloumi at a fraction of the price.