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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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 food lover behind Savory Experiments. She is obsessed with butter, salt and bacon and spends all her time in the kitchen and behind a camera. Jessica is a contributor to PopKitchen by Parade, Better Homes & Gardens, The Daily Meal Food + Travel and more!

Read More About Jessica

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Recipe Rating

Questions and Reviews

  1. 5 stars
    I have read through all the comments and everyone says it looks like a great recipe and will have to try it. Well, I have actually made this twice and I am here to tell you it is one of the best couscous dishes I have ever eaten! This is how couscous is supposed to be made!! If you haven’t made it yet or are still considering making it, just do it!! It is a fabulous recipe and it is one that I will make again and again. Go ahead and make it. You won’t be sorry!!!

    1. 5 stars
      Thank you, Sharron! I really appriciate someone who has made it coming back to let us know. I love interacting with all of our readers and some just like to tell me they love the looks of it, but never come back to say HI after they do make it. <3

  2. Hello. The IngrediEnts say basil and not spinach, but the Directions say spinacH and not basil. Can you correct it please?

  3. This is such an easy side dish to make and it is delicious with the sun dried tomatoes, spinach and pine nuts – a Sicilian style side dish. Pinned/shared.

  4. I need to stop visiting all these great sites with wonderful recipes in the evening, especially this late at night! Sounds really good, I need to try this!

  5. Couscous is something that I have been wanting to try for ages but just never had the chance to. Now I’m limiting my carb intake but I’d like to make this recipe for the family.

  6. Don’t shoot me… I’ve never tried couscous before! It seriously freaks me out for some reason. I do love all the flavors in your recipe so maybe it wouldn’t be that bad after all.

    1. Lol. Why? It is so plain, like a blank canvas waiting to be painted! Try it, you’ll be glad you did!

  7. I would love to try Couscous. This recipe looks very good and fairly simple to make. I will have to try it very soon. Thanks for sharing.

  8. G’day I have never heard of Italian couscous before, so thank you for allowing me to learn something new!
    Cheers! Joanne