Tomato Basil Couscous Salad

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:

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White Cooking Wine Couscous

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
Italian couscous in a bowl

Tomato Basil Couscous Salad Recipe

4.78 from 9 votes
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 Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 4




  • 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: 544 kcal, Carbohydrates: 40 g, Protein: 17 g, Fat: 40 g, Saturated Fat: 4 g, Sodium: 208 mg, Potassium: 2289 mg, Fiber: 8 g, Sugar: 22 g, Vitamin A: 690 IU, Vitamin C: 23.4 mg, Calcium: 71 mg, Iron: 7.4 mg
Author: Jessica Formicola
Calories: 544
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American, Italian
Keyword: couscous recipe, italian couscous
Did you make this recipe?I’d love to see your recipes – snap a picture and mention @savoryexperiments or tag #savoryexperiments!
Jessica Formicola in her ktichen

About the Author

Jessica Formicola

Jessica the mom, wife and chef behind Savory Experiments. You might see her on the Emmy- nominated TV show Plate It! or on bookshelves as a cookbook author. Jessica is a Le Cordon Bleu certified recipe developer and regularly contributed to Parade, Better Homes & Gardens, The Daily Meal and more!

Read More About Jessica

4.78 from 9 votes (5 ratings without comment)

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Questions and Reviews

  1. I love couscous, and it would be so amazing with sundried tomatoes and spinach as well. What a great recipe 🙂

  2. I’e never tried couscous but it looks simple enough. I will have to try making this, I’m always looking for new recipes.

  3. I absolutely love couscous. My son loves it too, so we eat it fairly often. I’ve never considered adding pine nuts to ours. (I usually add spinach and garlic.)

  4. I have never had couscous before and I am not entirely sure I know what it is. It sounds good, though.