Meatless Monday: Israeli Couscous Tabbouleh

(low iodine)

This recipe is a twist on traditional Tabbouleh, swapping bulgur for pearl couscous. It’s loaded with fresh herbs, cherry tomatoes and topped off with a light citrus dressing.

I recently went to revamp this recipe but didn’t want to buy a whole load of ingredients. Tight ass, I know! I had everything I needed except the bulgur but I did have some pearl couscous so I decided to make this Tabbouleh with Israeli (or pearl) couscous instead.

I’ve been obsessed with all things Israeli (not just couscous) since I spent a year on a kibbutz in the mid 90’s. There were some of the happiest days of my life and I have such wonderful memories of the food, the people and the culture. I should add though that the high proportion of herb to grain is very Lebanese, so this salad is kind of more Middle Eastern mish mash than Israeli! 

I had a variety of jobs in my time on the kibbutz – the worst was in the childrens’ laundry where the novelty of folding cute little clothes got old pretty quickly and the best was working in the kitchen, if only I’d taken better note of the recipes! 

Cooking in the kitchen was very routine, the menu was the same every week. This made working in the kitchen very easy but it made eating in the dining room pretty dull. My favourite day was Friday night because we had chicken soup and roast chicken but Turkey Tuesdays were the worst, to this day I still can’t look at a turkey leg without feeling a bit queasy! 

This salad never gets old though – it’s super easy, super nutritious and if you’re on that pesky low iodine diet, it’s low iodine too! 

Best of all, you can make this salad up to 2 days ahead, just keep it covered and chilled until ready to serve. Too easy!

Could you eat the same menu every week? What were some of  the happiest days of your life?


250g pearl couscous

500g water or stock

4 spring onions, finely chopped

250g cherry tomatoes, halved

1 cup mint, finely chopped

1 ½  cups flat leaf parsley, finely chopped

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 tablespoons lemon juice

 How to

  1. Bring water/stock to boil and add couscous.
  2. Cover the pot and simmer for 10 minutes our until all the water is absorbed. Season to taste and let the couscous cool in the pan.
  3. Add the tomatoes, herbs and combined oil and lemon juice.  Mix together and chill, covered for 1 hour before serving.