Israeli Couscous

Israeli Couscous Salad with Grilled Chicken

Happy Monday everyone!

Despite spending hours sorting through credit card statements and tax forms (being a freelancer makes tax season so much more exciting!), I still managed to have a great weekend. Maybe it was the unseasonably warm weather. Or maybe it was because two dear friends got married in an utterly inspiring way. Or maybe it was the fact that I got to spend Sunday night post-church batting around ideas and hanging out with several good friends. (Rosé may have been involved…)

In honor of the warm weather, I wanted to share with you all a healthy, summery recipe I recently created. I was craving Greek salad with grilled chicken the other day, and when I found some Israeli couscous in my pantry (the larger cousin of regular couscous) I decided to toss it in.

The result is a bright, summery combo of tomatoes, cucumber, red onion, feta, olives, and herbs (you can use parsley, mint, basil, or any combo of the three) tossed with Israeli couscous and served with lemony, garlicky grilled chicken. This is the perfect dish to whip up on a weeknight and take the leftovers to work the next day. And if you’re a vegetarian, just nix the chicken and make couscous salad – it’s delicious on its own. This is also a great meal to make for a picnic or cookout; everything can be made in advance and eaten cool or at room temperature.

Even though it’s still spring, take advantage of the warm weather and make yourself a deliciously healthy meal this week. If you have an outdoor space, even better – pour yourself a glass of rosé and head outdoors with your grilled chicken and couscous salad. It will feel like a little mid-week vacation. And clearly, you deserve it!


Serves 4

2 organic boneless chicken breasts
Juice of 1 lemon
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
4 thyme springs, leaves removed
Salt and pepper to taste

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup Israeli couscous
2 cups water
1/2 cup red grape tomatoes, halved
1/2 cup yellow grape tomatoes, halved
1/2 English cucumber, halved, seeded, and sliced
1/4 cup red onion, thinly sliced 2 ounces feta, cubed
1/2 cup seedless Kalamata olives, halved
1/4 cup chopped parsley (or mint or basil)
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Place the chicken breasts in a small glass dish. Combine the lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, and red pepper flakes, and thyme leaves in a small bowl and pour over the chicken breasts. Let marinate at room temperature while preparing the couscous salad.

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium high heat. Add the couscous and, stirring constantly, cook for 4 minutes or until lightly toasted. Add the water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes or until the water is evaporated. Let sit for five minutes. Transfer to a bowl and place in the refrigerator to cool for 10-15 minutes while prepping the rest of the ingredients.

Meanwhile, combine the tomatoes, cucumbers, red onion, feta, olives, and parsley in a large bowl. Add the cooled couscous and toss to combine. Whisk the vinegar and olive oil in a bowl until combined; pour over the couscous salad and toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Heat a grill pan or grill. Remove the chicken breasts from the marinade and season with salt and pepper. Grill over medium-high heat for about 5 minutes per side, or until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees. Let sit for 5 minutes and then slice on the diagonal. Serve alongside the couscous salad.

VEGAN OPTION: Eliminate the chicken and the feta and you have a delicious vegan main dish or side salad. Throw in some toasted pine nuts for added flavor.

My name is Anna Watson Carl. In a word, I love food, I love France, and I love throwing dinner parties. Over the years, I've worked as a personal chef, taught cooking classes, edited cookbooks, written for magazines, tested and styled recipes, and traveled whenever opportunity has arisen. But at heart, there's nothing I love more than sharing a meal with friends around the yellow table.

For me, cooking has always been a way of life. As a (mildly precocious) ten-year old, I planned and prepared a four-course Valentine's dinner for my parents, birthing a lifelong passion for dinner parties. That was just the beginning. I've been cooking ever since, whipping up souffles at a chateau in Burgundy, searing filet mignon for a wealthy client's dog (bizarre, but true), butchering ducks for confit de canard in Paris, baking the night shift in Nashville, and bathing the floor of my NYC apartment in turkey brine...the story continues.


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