Colorful Couscous Salad #sidedishes

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Summer is knocking on our doors which means meals start to be in the backyard for our family. Most meals include a protein prepared on the Traeger Grill – so a simple pasta salad that I can make ahead is perfect. It gives me the chance to actually hang out with the family while they work up an appetite in the pool. Pasta salad is a beloved side dish in our house, so of course, I have to play around with it. This time I made a Colorful Couscous Salad – a no mayo pasta salad so full of veggies – it’s like eating the rainbow!

Colorful Couscous Salad

Making your own dressings for pasta and potato salads is what really makes them stand out. When you really think about it – cold salads generally don’t require much “cooking” so the combination of the ingredients is the key. Most people use a mayonnaise based dressing for pasta and potato salads. Which I have no problem with at all, and make that sort too. But I also have 3 kids (so half of my family) that don’t really care for mayo. So I try to alternate making my dressings with and without mayo.

Colorful Couscous Salad

Knife cuts are another big part of making beautiful salads. One thing that I really try to do is cut everything to roughly the same size and shape as much as I can. With a small pasta like couscous (this style is specifically called Pearl Couscous or Isreali Couscous), I went with a dice on the veggies. If you use a short pasta like rotini or penne – you could do a julienne on the veggies.

Colorful Couscous Salad

I served this up with some simply grilled bone-in pork chops (just seasoned with paprika, salt, parsley, and garlic powder) and a homemade Mustard BBQ Sauce. It paired so wonderfully with a light bright couscous salad. This salad also keeps so well. So if you are lucky enough to have any left after dinner – you are going to be enjoying it for lunch all week.

Now Let’s Get Cookin’!


Colorful Couscous Salad

Perfect for every BBQ and potluck – a veggie packed pasta salad.
Course Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine American
Keyword bacon, bell peppers, couscous, couscous salad, cucumber, dijon, dressing, Pasta Salad, red onion, Salad
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Servings 6


  • 1 lb Pearl Coucous
  • ½ lb Bacon cut into ½-inch pieces
  • 1 Yellow Bell Pepper diced
  • 1 English Cucumber peeled, seeded, diced
  • ½ Red Onion diced
  • ½ cup Fresh Parsley chopped
  • 1 cup Cherry Tomatoes quartered
  • 2 Garlic Cloves minced

For the Dressing

  • ¼ cup Avocado Oil
  • ¼ cup Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1 Lemon zested and juiced
  • ¼ cup Honey
  • ½ tsp Cayenne Pepper
  • ¼ cup Dijon Mustard


  • Prepare all of the ingredients.
  • In a frying pan over medium-high heat, add bacon and cook until crispy. Remove to paper towel covered plate and let cool.
  • Combine dressing ingredients in a bowl.
  • Add the couscous and water to a pan (use measurements as listed on the package). Cook as directed on package (usually covered over medium-high heat). Drain in colander and rinse with cool water. Transfer to a large bowl.
  • Add bacon, dressing and veggies to bowl with couscous. Toss to combine. Cover and place in refrigerator until ready to serve.

Estelle Forrest self-published this cookbook after a lot of playing around in the kitchen. You can purchase your own copy here:


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4 thoughts on “Colorful Couscous Salad #sidedishes

  1. Liz @ spades, spatulas, and spoons – Oakland, CA – I live in Northern California of the USA, splitting my time between our home and large garden on the coast in Fort Bragg and a smaller place outside San Francisco. I have always love spending time in the kitchen, sharing meals with family and friends. My English born mother was educated in France and ran one of the first traditional French cooking schools in Florida, I learned by being her sous chef and eventually teaching classes with her. Three years ago I was proud to earn my certificate as a Mendocino County Master Gardener, although I had already been gardening in Oakland (ornamental and veggies) for 25 years. There is always so much to learn. I am starting the garden in Fort Bragg and am looking forward to sharing my progress. My family on both sides have always gardened. I have fond memories of my grandparent's garden outside London; and digging potatoes with my father in his vegetable garden in Florida. My education is in microbiology; I worked in labs and biotech for 25 years, often traveling extensively for work. But even with a busy schedule I have managed to have a few of my own fresh vegetables in the back garden. Welcome and thank you for coming along.
    Liz @ spades, spatulas, and spoons says:

    Thank you so much for sharing the BBQ perfect side with the folks at Fiesta Friday.

  2. shelbeeontheedge1 – Watertown, NY – Over 40 Blogger living on the edge of sanity, midlife, and fashion. Army wife, boymom, and serious coffee drinker.
    shelbeeontheedge1 says:

    I really like couscous but I have never made it myself. This looks delicious and reminds me to make sure that I am eating my colors! Thanks for linking, Estelle.


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