Ptitim is a popular Israeli couscous salad with fresh vegetables and tangy lemon dressing. Make this recipe for an easy, refreshing meal!
Salads are a great option when you don’t have time to cook a full meal or would prefer something that’s not as heavy.
Using grains like couscous rather than lettuce makes for a heartier dish. Plus, pulses and legumes like lentils, chickpeas, and quinoa are great sources of plant-based protein.
While this couscous salad recipe is light enough for summer, it uses ingredients that are available year-round. Even better, it takes less than 30 minutes to make, and you can serve it warm or chilled, depending on your preference.
Ingredients for Ptitim
This is just ingredient notes and substitutes. For all ingredients and amounts needed, see the recipe card at the bottom of this post.
- Israeli couscous - This is larger than the type of couscous typically sold in the US and can come in a single color or a tri-color blend. You may also find it labeled as Jerusalem couscous, giant couscous, or pearl couscous.
- Bell peppers - Use a variety of colors to make the appearance of the salad more interesting. The level of sweetness and bitterness will also vary based on the color of the peppers.
- Roma tomatoes - Substitute with a different variety of plum tomato if needed. Or, replace with halved cherry or grape tomatoes for a milder and sweeter flavor.
- Zucchini - Many recipes use cucumber instead, and either will work depending on your preference. English cucumbers are better for salads since they’re firmer and have lower water content.
There are many varieties of this couscous salad recipe, so feel free to add whatever sounds good. Here are some popular ideas:
- Artichoke hearts
- Red onion or shallot
- Bulgarit or Feta cheese
- Golden raisins or dried cranberries
- Chopped serrano chiles
Video: Making Israeli Couscous Salad
To see the process from start to finish, watch the video located in the recipe card at the bottom of this post.
Simmer the grains until tender, then combine with fresh vegetables, nuts, and a homemade dressing.
Cook the couscous
- If you’d like, first toast the Israeli couscous in a little bit of oil. This step is completely optional but adds a nice nutty flavor to the overall dish.
- Add couscous to a pot of boiling water, cover with a lid, and simmer until all of the liquid has evaporated.
- Then, fluff with a fork and allow it to cool.
Prep the other ingredients
- Next, chop the vegetables and basil.
- Toast the pine nuts on the stove in a dry pan, stirring frequently to prevent any burning.
- Whisk together the dressing ingredients in a small bowl.
Assemble the salad
- Combine all of the ingredients in a large bowl, mixing well to coat with the dressing.
- Place in the refrigerator for at least an hour to chill.
- Finally, season with salt and pepper to taste and toss before serving.
- Storage - Ptitim will last for a day or two in the refrigerator. Just stir the leftover to recombine the ingredients. You may also want to squeeze a little more lemon juice over the top to freshen it up.
- Freezing - While you can’t freeze the whole salad, you can freeze the couscous by itself. Allow it to cool completely, then store in a ziploc bag in the freezer for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator before using.
- Make ahead - You can easily make this a day ahead of time for a potluck or family gathering. Or, make the couscous by itself, store in the refrigerator, and mix with the rest of the ingredients before serving.
And this pumpkin couscous salad from Whole Food Bellies would make the perfect holiday side dish.
Health benefits of couscous
Not only does this grain provide plant-based protein, but it also contains a variety of vitamins and minerals such as iron and calcium.
It’s also rich in dietary fiber, which keeps your digestive system healthy and helps you feel full longer.
Most notably, just one cup of couscous contains more than half the daily amount of selenium. This antioxidant repairs damaged blood cells, reduces inflammation, and supports organ health.
As you can see, there are plenty of reasons to make Ptitim. It's a simple, wholesome, delicious meal!
Ptitim (Israeli Couscous Salad) + Video
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 cups Israeli Couscous (See Note 1)
- 2 ¼ cups water
- 4 bell peppers half each red, green, orange bell pepper
- 2 small Roma tomatoes seeded chopped
- 2 green onions sliced
- 2 cups black olives pitted
- 1 zucchini large cubed
- ¼ cup basil fresh leaves chopped
- ½ cup pine nuts toasted
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- 3 tablespoon lemon juice
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- ½ teaspoon sugar
- salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- red pepper flakes to taste
- OPTIONAL STEP: In a medium-sized saucepan over medium-high heat, heat olive oil. Add the couscous and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 3-4 minutes or until fragrant and lightly toasted.
- In a medium-sized saucepan, bring water to a boil. Add couscous, stir and simmer for 8-10 minutes covered, or until the liquid is evaporated and the couscous is tender. Fluff and set aside to cool.
- While couscous steams, chop vegetables and basil. Over medium heat lightly toast the pine nuts in a small fry pan. Salt and set aside. In a small bowl whisk together the dressing.
- In a large bowl add the cooled couscous, chopped vegetables, pine nuts and salad dressing. Season to taste.
- Cover and chill for at least one hour. Toss to mix before serving.
- Outside Israel, ptitim is typically marketed as Israeli couscous, Jerusalem couscous, giant couscous or pearl couscous.
*The information shown below is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist's advice.