Incredibly easy to cook, Israeli couscous does a great job of absorbing the flavors of the herbs and spices in this vegan salad recipe. Like traditional couscous, Israeli couscous is tiny nuggets of semolina pasta, but the nuggets run a bit larger in the Israeli version. Mixed with fresh kale, colorful veggies, herbs, and spices, it makes a delicious pasta salad that will keep well in the refrigerator for up to three days. Add some cooked chickpeas to make it a heartier meal.


  • ½ bunch kale, thick stems removed, leaves chopped fine (about 2 cups)
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice (from 1½ limes)
  • 1 cup Vegetable Stock or no-oil, low-sodium store-bought vegetable stock
  • ½ small onion, finely chopped (about ½ cup)
  • 2 small garlic cloves, minced (about 1 teaspoon)
  • ½ teaspoon curry powder
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon sweet or mild paprika
  • 1 cup whole wheat Israeli couscous
  • ½ medium tomato, cored and cut into ¼-inch pieces (about ½ cup)
  • ½ red or orange bell pepper, cored, seeded, and cut into ¼-inch pieces (about ½ cup)
  • ¼ medium cucumber, cut into ¼-inch pieces (about ½ cup)
  • 4 scallions, white and green parts thinly sliced (about 1 cup)
  • ¼ cup finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh basil
  • 2 tablespoons raisins or currants
  • 2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


  • In a medium bowl, place the kale and lime juice. Mix well so the leaves are well coated. Set aside.
  • In a large saucepan, place the Vegetable Stock, onion, garlic, curry powder, cumin, and paprika. Bring to a boil over medium heat, and add the couscous. Cook over medium heat, uncovered, until the liquid has been absorbed and the couscous is al dente, 5 to 10 minutes. Add 1 to 2 tablespoons water toward the end of cooking if the liquid is absorbed and the couscous starts to stick to the pan. Transfer to a large bowl and let cool.
  • Add the reserved kale to the bowl with the couscous along with the tomato, bell pepper, cucumber, scallions, parsley, basil, raisins, pine nuts, and salt and pepper to taste. Mix well and adjust the seasoning. Chill in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

Comments (20)

(5 from 11 votes)

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I like this recipe but 1 c broth doesn’t seem enough for 1 c of the Israeli couscous. The liquid gets absorbed quicker than the couscous cooks. 1/2 c of the couscous worked with that amount of broth. Has anyone else experienced this?

William Douglas

Divine. So many fresh flavors and cool crunch. Great summer dinner! Very filling. The lime juice really softens up the kale and makes it extra delicious.

Karyn Kamitchis Seglin

What can I replace couscous with to make it gluten free ??

Lisa, Forks Over Knives Support

Hi Karyn, You could replace the couscous with a gluten-free grain such as quinoa, brown rice, or millet. You could also try gluten-free pasta, pick one that is small in size. Another option is cauliflower rice. Be sure to adjust the cooking time in step 2. Hope that helps. If you decide to try it, let us know how it goes! Happy experimenting:)

Judy Berneske

Looks good! But can you substitute quinoa for the couscous? For gluten-sensitive folks like me. :-)

Judy Berneske

Can you substitute quinoa for the couscous?

Megan Edwards

Hi Judy, Yes you can! It may not have the same dense, chewy texture as the Israeli couscous, but it will definitely be a tasty substitute! You could also use brown rice if you want thicker grains. Let us know how it turns out.


I love this! Easy and quick to make. I cook the raisins with the couscous because I really love cooked raisins in rice dishes, and this was similar. I could also see cooking some shredded carrots in this as well. Similar to an Afghan dish that I enjoy (Kabuli pulao) but vegan! This will be on heavy rotation in my lunches.


I was unsure about this salad to begin with, but after it sat in the fridge over night, it tasted amazing. I will be making this often. The couscous alone would make an amazing side dish.

Kim Skinner

Fantastic!! Love taking this for my lunch. I’ve made it twice! Fresh and fulfilling!

Alicia Quigley

Yum! Easy, healthy and delicious!

Diane Lux

Sounds delicious! How long will it last refrigerated? I'd love to take for my lunch after serving for dinner.

Matt Merrill

Fantastic salad! Perfect for a summer picnic with hummus and pita :)


Couscous is not Israeli !

Karin Remneff

You may not know that "Israeli couscous" is the name of a type of couscous-larger, usually white rounds about the size of a petite pea.

Rena Konar

Because the name in Hebrew is P'titim. But they had to call it something when chefs, outside of Israel, started cooking with it in the late 20th century. Israeli cous cous was the name that fit. Now take a chill pill Henry. It's only food.

Di Donnelly

Lovely looking dish and yes we call it Giant Couscous where i come from.

Ruba Homaidi

You are right Henry, this is a Palestinian dish, Israel is only 80 years old but they stole the food credit along with the land, we call it Maftool

Beth Palumbo

Love this salad! I make it many, many times over the summer always to rave reviews!

Stephanie Mancini

Delicious! Perfect combination of ingredients. We really enjoyed this one.

About the Author

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About the Author

Darshana Thacker Wendel

Darshana Thacker Wendel is a whole-food, plant-based chef and former culinary projects manager for Forks Over Knives. A graduate of the Natural Gourmet Institute, she is the author of Forks Over Knives: Flavor! She created the recipes for Forks Over Knives Family and was a lead recipe contributor to the New York Times bestseller The Forks Over Knives Plan. Her recipes have been published in The Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease Cookbook, Forks Over Knives—The Cookbook, Forks Over Knives: The Plant-Based Way to Health, and LA Yoga magazine online. Visit and follow her on Instagram for more.
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