Tomato Basil Couscous Salad

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  • This recipe is delicious, easy, and simple to make. Tomato Basil Couscous Salad comes together in 15 minutes or less!

    crock of couscous salad

    My Tomato Basil Couscous Salad is a great way to liven up any meal. Simple to make and full of flavor, your family will love it!

    Let’s get right into it. What is couscous? Is it rice? A pasta? A grain? I get this question a lot from novice cooks. Long story short: it is a pasta of sorts.

    Couscous is tiny granules of semolina made from durum wheat rolled in flour. When you bite into it, you get a very distinct texture from all those little pieces of al dente pasta. Pretty neat, isn’t it?

    As it is cooking, it absorbs the water and plumps up. Some simply soak it in hot water, some steam it, and some have their own methods of getting it to the table.

    couscous with tomato, basil and pine nuts

    One of the cons of couscous is that it is pretty bland. Some might say, flavorless. The good news is, I think of it more like a blank canvas waiting to be painted by you, the cook. Tomato Basil Couscous Salad is a perfect example.

    Ditch the water altogether. I prefer to use chicken stock or a broth of some sort as my base. It adds a good base layer of flavor to the couscous and then allows you to add an infinite number of add-ins once it is fully cooked.

    close up of Italian couscous

    I make mine by bringing my stock or broth to a boil. Add a bit of olive oil and butter to for richness. Take the pot off the heat, add in your couscous, cover and let it sit for 5 minutes or so.

    When you uncover the pot, simply fluff it with a fork and then gently fold in your extras. If you don’t want to follow this recipe, grab any leftover veggies or meats with complimenting flavors and fold them in.

    My Tomato Basil Couscous Salad came to me while I was making my Parmesan Chicken. I wanted a side dish that had a bit of heft but didn’t want a heavy pasta.

    Italian couscous salad for pinterest

    Next came the raid through the fridge and pantry for things that would be tasty together. I had couscous, basil, some garlic, pine nuts, and sun-dried tomatoes. Easy enough!

    And for those of you who have not cooked with couscous before, fear not. You do not need to rinse it as you would rice before cooking it and it is a very, very forgiving dish. Plus, it is fast and easy and we all love a good time saver.

    While it is a short extra step, I highly recommend taking the time to toast your pine nuts before adding to the mixture. The natural oils and flavors are so much more robust and delicious with a light toasting.

    If you loved this Tomato Basil Couscous Salad recipe, check out these other easy side dish ideas:

    Balsamic Stewed Tomatoes
    white bowl of stewed tomatoes with thyme garnish
    A salad of sorts, this EASY roasted Balsamic Tomatoes recipe makes the perfect side dish! With only 6 ingredients, this recipe is simple yet delicious!
    White Cooking Wine Couscous
    Couscous with red onion and fresh mint
    White Cooking Wine Couscous with Garlic and Mint is the perfect spring side dish for pairing with lamb, chicken, seafood and fish. This mild and fresh couscous recipe can’t be beat!
    tomato basil couscous salad for pinterest

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    Italian couscous in a bowl
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    4.72 from 7 votes

    Tomato Basil Couscous Salad

    Tomato Basil Couscous Salad is an easy side dish recipe perfect for serving with any meal. Sun-dried tomatoes, garlic, and pine nuts give it a bold flavor. 
    Prep Time5 mins
    Cook Time10 mins
    Total Time15 mins
    Course: Side Dish
    Cuisine: American, Italian
    Keyword: couscous recipe, italian couscous
    Servings: 4
    Calories: 544kcal
    Author: Jessica Formicola



    • In a medium saucepan, bring chicken broth and olive oil to a low boil.
    • As soon as the water comes to a low boil, remove from heat and add couscous. Cover and set aside for 5 minutes.
    • Remove lid and fluff with a fork. Add basil, sun-dried tomatoes, garlic, and pine nuts. Fluff again. Cover for an additional 3 minutes.
    • Serve warm and enjoy your Tomato Basil Couscous Salad!


    Calories: 544kcal | Carbohydrates: 40g | Protein: 17g | Fat: 40g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Sodium: 208mg | Potassium: 2289mg | Fiber: 8g | Sugar: 22g | Vitamin A: 690IU | Vitamin C: 23.4mg | Calcium: 71mg | Iron: 7.4mg
    image of jessica formicola

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