Mediterranean Pearl Couscous Salad

Bright, colourful, healthy, filling, and packed with flavour. It’s definitely one of my all time favourite things to make (and my husband’s most requested dish by far). 

We love to top it with grilled chicken, steak, salmon, or even just enjoy as is. The roasted lemon vinaigrette on top is such a game changer and everyone I’ve made this for LOVES IT.

You can use it for meal prep for the week, bring as a side dish to a dinner party, kids love it, adults love it, and it’s so incredibly easy to make. When I made this over the weekend, my 1 year old ended up devouring a big bowl of this in one sitting. He found it highly entertaining to individually pick the pearl couscous pieces up with his fingers. It’s just so easy to make a big batch of this and then keep leftovers in the fridge for lunches the next day!

mediterranean pearl couscous salad

What vegetables to use for Mediterranean Pearl Couscous Salad:

Truly, I make a different version of this salad every season but this is the original. This one I usually make nonstop during the spring and summer. Here are my favourite vegetables to use and how I prepare them:

  • Zucchini: Wash thoroughly, trim off the ends and then slice in half length-wise. Take each half and place cut-side down on the cutting board and then slice in half length-wise again so you have four quarters. From there, chop crosswise into bite-size pieces.
  • Bell Peppers: I like using red, yellow and orange bell peppers for this. I am anti green bell pepper but that’s a conversation for another day. Wash thoroughly, slice off the top and bottom so you have a flat surface, and then cut around the core by rotating the pepper as you hold your knife. From there, slice into strips and then chop crosswise into bite-size pieces.
  • Onion: You can use red or yellow onion here (slight preference for red as I find them to be a bit sweeter when roasted). Chop into bite-size pieces roughly.
  • Garlic: You can use however much garlic you want for this! Just peel and place them on the roasting tray. They get nice and mellow when roasted – you can either mash them into the vinaigrette or keep them whole (I prefer this because then it’s the best surprise when I get one in a bite). 
chopped zucchini, bell peppers and onion on a baking tray with parchment

How to Make Mediterranean Pearl Couscous Salad:

Step One:

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.

Step Two: 

Chop the bell peppers, zucchini, and onion into small, bite-sized pieces. Place them on a large baking sheet lined with parchment paper, along with the whole garlic cloves. Drizzle with olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and toss to ensure they’re evenly coated. Cut the lemon in half, drizzle with a bit of olive oil, and add it to the baking sheet.

chopped zucchini, bell peppers and onion on a baking tray with parchment - covered with olive oil and salt and pepper

Step Three:

Cut the lemon in half, drizzle with a bit of olive oil, and add it to the baking sheet. Roast in the oven for about 30 minutes, stirring halfway through, until everything is deliciously golden.

roasted vegetables

Step Four:

While the veggies are roasting, boil water and cook the pearl couscous according to the package instructions. Once cooked, rinse under cold water to stop the cooking process, then transfer to a large bowl. Add a touch of olive oil to prevent sticking.

pearl couscous
pearl couscous

Step Five:

Let the roasted veggies cool slightly. Squeeze the roasted lemon halves into a separate bowl to make the vinaigrette. Mix in the vinegar, olive oil, salt, and pepper.

mixing the roasted lemon vinaigrette

Step Six:

Chop the fresh herbs and add them to the couscous, along with the roasted veggies, garlic, and crumbled feta. Drizzle with the roasted lemon vinaigrette, tossing gently to combine.

Step Seven:

Serve as is, or with your choice of protein like grilled chicken, salmon, or steak.

pearl couscous with roasted veggies

How to Store Mediterranean Pearl Couscous Salad:

Keep it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. If you’re planning to enjoy it over several days, I recommend making a double batch of the vinaigrette and then storing that separately to toss into the salad to brighten it up. 

mediterranean pearl couscous salad

Substitutions for Mediterranean Pearl Couscous Salad:

  • Couscous Alternatives: Quinoa, orzo, ditalini pasta, bulgar or farro
  • Vegan Options: Skip the feta cheese or substitute it with a dairy-free cheese option
  • Vegetables: This salad is really flexible so feel free to roast whatever veggies you have on hand/what’s in season
  • Cheese Options: Crumbled goat’s cheese, ricotta salata, mozzarella pearls, or even sharp cheddar (for a bolder flavor) can be great substitutes
  • Herbs: Again, feel free to get creative here with basil, chives, Italian parsley, and dill. These are my favourites but could also experiment with mint! I wouldn’t recommend heartier herbs like rosemary or thyme here.
pearl couscous with grilled chicken and balsamic on top

Tips & Tricks:

  • Roasting the Lemon: Don’t skip roasting the lemon with the veggies! It deepens the flavor of the vinaigrette, adding this caramelized and complex flavour that will make you weak and the knees. You’re going to be roasting lemons ALL THE TIME after this.
  • Serving Temperature: This salad is delicious both at room temperature and cold. If serving after refrigeration, let it sit out for a bit to take the chill off and allow the flavors to really shine.
mediterranean pearl couscous topped with grilled chicken and balsamic
mediterranean pearl couscous salad

Mediterranean Pearl Couscous Salad

My most requested recipe! Roasted vegetables with pearl couscous, some creamy feta, fresh herbs and all topped off with a roasted lemon vinaigrette.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Serves 6 people


Pearl Couscous Salad

  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 yellow bell pepper
  • 1 orange bell pepper
  • 2 zucchini
  • 1 small red or yellow onion
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • salt & pepper
  • 8 oz pearl couscous
  • 4 oz crumbled feta more to crumble on top if desired
  • fresh herbs dill, italian parsley, chives, basil

Roasted Lemon Vinaigrette

  • 1 lemon
  • 3 tbsp apple cider vinegar or white wine vinegar
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • salt & pepper to taste


  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Chop up vegetables into small, bite-sized pieces.
  • On a large baking sheet lined with parchment paper, add the chopped veggies and the garlic cloves and drizzle with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and mix to combine so they're evenly coated. Slice lemon in half and add to the baking sheet as well with a drizzle of olive oil on the lemon halves. Place in the oven for about 30 minutes (or until golden), stirring half-way through.
  • Meanwhile, boil some water and cook the pearl couscous according to package instructions. Rinse under cold water to stop the cooking process and place in a large bowl with a touch of olive oil to prevent the couscous from sticking together.
  • Remove the roasted veggies from the oven and let cool slightly. Take the roasted lemon halves and squeeze the juice into a separate container to start the vinaigrette. Add the vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper.
  • Chop up some fresh herbs (I like using dill, Italian parsley, chives, basil or some combination of those).
  • Assemble: add the roasted veggies and garlic to the pearl couscous, the fresh herbs, the crumbled feta, and then drizzle the roasted lemon vinaigrette on top.
  • Option to serve with grilled chicken, salmon, steak, or any other protein of your choice!

Leave A Comment

  1. Tessa Z March 21, 2024 at 10:12 am - Reply

    5 stars
    Absolutely obsessed with this recipe! I like adding mushrooms for an earthy flavor. It is a staple in our weekly dinner rotation year round.
    Would love it if nutrition facts were posted 🙂

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