This lovely summer salad from Cook’s Illustrated combines cooked Israeli couscous with pickled shallots, fresh greens, herbs, peas, pistachios and feta cheese.  Israeli couscous is a toasted pasta shaped in tiny balls, about the size of small peas. You can boil it like pasta, or let it absorb water, like rice. Cook’s Note: Prepare the shallots and let them pickle while you continue with the rest of the recipe.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Look for a red wine vinegar without sulphites; I use Eden Organic brand. Use fresh lemon juice and check the pistachios for colour and sulphites. Select a feta cheese with all-natural ingredients such as Tre Stelle.

Pickle the shallots first

Toasting the couscous before cooking brings out its nutty flavour

Use lots of greens and mint

Frozen peas are fine if fresh are not available

Israeli couscous with lemon, mint, peas, feta and pickled shallots



2 cups (500 ml) Israeli couscous

1 tablespoon (15 ml) extra-virgin olive oil

2 ½ cups water (625 ml)

½ teaspoon (2.5 ml) salt


1/3 cup (75 ml) red wine vinegar

2 tablespoons (30 ml) sugar

Salt and pepper

2 shallots, sliced thin

3 tablespoons (45 ml) extra-virgin olive oil

3 tablespoons (45 ml) lemon juice

1 teaspoon (5 ml) Dijon mustard

1/8 teaspoon (0.5 ml) red pepper flakes

1 recipe couscous (see above), cooled

4 cups (1 L) baby arugula, roughly chopped

1 cup (250 ml) fresh mint leaves, torn

½ cup (125 ml) frozen peas, thawed

½ cup (125 ml) shelled pistachios, toasted and chopped

3 ounces (185 ml) feta cheese, crumbled



Heat couscous and oil in medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring frequently, until about half of grains are golden brown, 5 to 6 minutes. Add water and salt; stir to combine. Increase heat to high and bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until water is absorbed, 9 to 12 minutes. Remove saucepan from heat and let stand, covered, for 3 minutes. Serve.


Bring vinegar, sugar, and pinch salt to simmer in small saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until sugar dissolves. Remove pan from heat, add shallots, and stir to combine. Cover and let cool completely, about 30 minutes. Drain and discard liquid.

Whisk oil, lemon juice, mustard, pepper flakes, and 1/8 teaspoon (0.5 ml) salt together in large bowl. Add cooled couscous, arugula, mint, peas, 6 tablespoons (90 ml) pistachios, ½ cup (125 ml) feta, and shallots and toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste and transfer to serving bowl. Let stand for 5 minutes. Sprinkle with remaining ¼ cup feta (60 ml) and remaining 2 tablespoons (30 ml) pistachios and serve. Serves 4.

From Cook’s Illustrated