Couscous Salad with Fresh Cherries // Not Without Salt

Over the next week I have three recipes for you that will make your summer barbeques the most popular on the block. They aren’t what you would call “traditional” barbeque recipes but that is perhaps what I like most about them. And since next weekend (it being the 4th and all) is pretty much the grill’s favorite holiday then it looks like that perhaps for once in my blogging career I may be ahead of the game for a holiday.

It’s a couscous salad studded with fresh cherries, toasted almonds, a zippy pomegranate molasses vinaigrette and quite green due to the amount of fresh herbs. Oh and there’s feta, if you’re in to that sort of thing. It has the freshness of a more traditional salad but the pleasant heft of a pasta salad. It sits beautifully next to grilled meat and vegetables (more on that soon).

If tradition is more your style when it comes to barbecuing for the 4th then still consider this salad. For your next picnic maybe? It’s an ideal candidate as it does beautifully waiting for you in the fridge or lingering in the picnic basket while you play games or dip your toes in the sand.

Let’s call this recipe a guide rather than a map to be followed strictly. Perhaps you’d like more zip, than you’ll need more than 1/2 a lemon. Are fresh cherries not around yet? Dried would slip in their place nicely. I used toasted marcona almonds but you could use regular almonds, pine nuts, pistachios – you get the idea.

Couscous Salad with Fresh Cherries // Not Without Salt Couscous Salad with Fresh Cherries // Not Without Salt



Couscous Salad with Fresh Cherries

Serve 6-8 as a side


3 cups Israeli couscous

1/4 cup Pomegranate Molasses

2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar

1/3 cup olive oil

juice from 1/2 a lemon

1 teaspoon salt

freshly ground black pepper

2 cups cherries, pitted and quartered

1 cup (4 ounces) marcona almonds

1/2 red onion, diced

1 1/2 cups, packed fresh parsley and mint leaves

1/2 cup crumbled feta


Cook the couscous in boiling water that is seasoned with salt and a glug of olive oil. Drain the couscous while it’s still al dente, about 7-9 minutes but each variety is different so continually check the doneness.

Rinse the couscous with cold water to stop the cooking then set aside.

In a medium bowl whisk together the pomegranate molasses, rice wine vinegar, olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Add this to the couscous.

Mix in the cherries, almonds and onion.

Finely mince the fresh herbs and add those to the salad. Finish with fresh feta.

Taste and adjust to your liking, adding more salt or lemon juice if needed.


34 Responses to “Couscous Salad with Fresh Cherries”

  1. Alison

    So beautiful and fresh looking! I just bought a bag of delicious, sweet cherries and something like this may be the perfect way to use them : )

  2. Sandra Harris

    sold! I was JUST looking for a salad recipe to take along to a party next Tuesday. All the ingredients that I love.

  3. Rome Berg

    I love this recipe and can’t wait to make it. I do have a question. I usually use the small couscous not the Israeli couscous. I have eaten the Israeli one a few times and sometimes it has a slimy mouth feel. Is there a way to keep it from tasting slimy.

    • Ashley Rodriguez

      Interesting question. I rinse mine after and after noticed any slime. I actually prefer the texture of Israeli couscous over the more traditional but if you’d rather use the smaller variety you can easily substitute it here.

  4. Carolin

    That sounds fantastic! I’m always looking for special salad recipes and LOVE that idea!

  5. Spring B.

    We are having tagine-spiced salmon for dinner later this week, and I was looking for something to go with it. This sounds perfect! Can’t wait to try it. Thanks for another yummy recipe. 🙂

  6. Garrett Rodriguez

    I’ve been eating this salad all week. My coworkers jealously eyeball everyday. Excellent leftover. Perfect balance of flavors. Fruit, cheese, almonds, and fresh mint. I need to make more. I need to make more soon. Thanks for sharing this.

  7. Sydney | Modern Granola

    This is such a beautiful salad! I would never have thought to add fresh cherries to couscous, but it is a genius idea! This would be lovely at a picnic. I can’t wait to try this.
    xx Sydney

  8. Abby

    What gorgeous photos, Ashley! I love, love couscous, and with cherries?! Oh, yumm. <3

  9. adina

    Hi. I pinned this and can’t wait to try it when the cherries in our tree are finally ripe. I bought a bag of Israeli couscous recently but haven’t used it at all. Good to know about it being slimy, I will rinse it thoroughly.

  10. mimi

    Gorgeous photos. I love the cherry, almond, and feta cheese combination. They just put this salad over the top!!!

  11. Amy

    I have everything to make this except the pomegranate molasses! what can I substitute???

  12. Barbara

    For those with nut allergies, what would be a good substtute?

  13. satya

    Hi, I am cooking gluten free for someone else and was wondering if you would recommend anything as a substitution. Maybe wild rice or somethings else. Thank you for your time 🙂

  14. snam

    Hi, I am cooking gluten free and was wondering if you would recommend anything as a substitution. Maybe wild rice or somethings else? Thank you for your time 🙂

  15. Julie

    Would it be possible to substitute pomegranate molasses/rice vinegar with pomegranate balsamic vinegar? If so, how much? Thanks!

  16. Laura

    What would you say are some good options for fruit substitutes in the cherry off season? Grapes? Other options?

  17. Laura

    What would you say are some good options for fruit substitutes in the cherry off season? Grapes? What else?