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Lemon Asparagus Couscous Salad with Tomatoes

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Lemon Asparagus Couscous Salad with Tomatoes makes a vibrant Spring pasta salad, perfect to bring to a potluck or to serve as a BBQ side dish.

Lemon Asparagus Couscous Salad
Lemon Asparagus Couscous Salad

Pearl couscous (otherwise known as Isreali couscous) is essentially perfectly round pasta with a delightful chewiness that’s ideal as a base for salads like this one! Here I tossed it with asparagus, tomatoes and lemon juice to make a vibrant Spring pasta salad that is perfect as a main dish or even to make as a side dish if you are grilling for Mother’s Day this weekend! Serve this with a Whole Roasted Chicken, Grilled Salmon Kabobs or Grilled Bourbon Chicken.

Lemon Asparagus Couscous Salad

I’m not usually a fan of the taste of whole wheat pasta, but I don’t mind it at all when the pasta is a smaller. Orzo and pearl couscous are all delicious in pasta salads. When I use whole wheat I cook it a few minutes longer than I would if I eat it warm. I just adore it’s pearl shaped texture and also found it to be the perfect shape for my daughter when she started eating solid foods, years ago.

What to serve with Lemon Asparagus Couscous Salad

Any protein would be great, here’s a few suggestions:

Meal Prep

This couscous salad can be eaten room temperature or chilled, and leftovers are great the next day for lunch. Refrigerate up to 3 days.

Lemon dressing for couscous saladLemon Asparagus Couscous Salad


Lemon Asparagus Couscous Salad with Tomatoes

4.89 from 17 votes
Lemon Asparagus Couscous Salad with Tomatoes makes a vibrant Spring pasta salad, perfect to bring to a potluck or to serve as a BBQ side dish.
Course: Lunch, Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Lemon Asparagus Couscous Salad
Prep: 5 mins
Total: 30 mins
Yield: 5 servings
Serving Size: 1 generous cup


  • 6 oz whole wheat pearl couscous
  • 3/4 lb thin asparagus spears, tough ends trimmed
  • 1 1/2 cups grape tomatoes, quartered
  • 1/4 cup red onion, minced
  • 1 1/2 lemons, juiced
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp fresh parsley, minced
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • fresh cracked pepper, to taste


  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, add asparagus and cook until tender, about 3 minutes.
  • Remove with a large slotted spoon and rinse in a colander in the sink under cold water to stop it from cooking.
    steamed aspagus
  • Add the couscous to the boiling water and cook according to package directions.
  • Chop the asparagus into small 1/2 inch pieces.
  • Drain the couscous and rinse under cold water, place in a large bowl.
  • Add the chopped asparagus, tomatoes, red onion, lemon juice, olive oil, parsley, salt and pepper to the bowl.
  • Taste for salt and pepper and serve room temperature or chilled.

Last Step:

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Makes 5 1/2 cups.


Serving: 1 generous cup, Calories: 170 kcal, Carbohydrates: 30 g, Protein: 6.5 g, Fat: 4 g, Sodium: 10 mg, Fiber: 5 g


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70 comments on “Lemon Asparagus Couscous Salad with Tomatoes”

  1. Avatar photo
    A Cook in Toronto

    This is very tasty! Added paprika for a bit more depth of flavour and chickpeas (after trying the recipe as directed). Would definitely make this again.

  2. Yummy summer salad. Made it with the Greek Chicken Kabobs. I had for lunch the next day. Kids thought it was a little too lemony, but I liked it.

  3. Avatar photo
    Laura Weatherford

    I love this salad! I’ve made it twice for guests and they loved it and my husband loves it as well. Light, refreshing and different. As a texture person, this is excellent! We like it best chilled. This has made it to my list of go-to recipes, especially when entertaining.
    I do add a little more lemon and onion to suit our tastes. I appreciate recipes that use a modicum of restraint on some flavors which allow adjustment to suit our family’s needs.
    Thank you so much for this recipe!

    1. I made it exactly to the recipe first. After that I doubled the red onion and chopped rather than minced it. I also added a little more lemon juice. We really like it, but I think it is a good template for adding spices of your choice. Maybe some five spice, cinnamon, cumin, or curry? Dill or tarragon? I just made it again (we use the smaller size couscous because my husband is not crazy about the larger pasta) and might try adding a spice to my portion.

  4. Love this recipe! Used quinoa instead of cous cous because it was what we had and added some chickpeas and feta. 

  5. Avatar photo
    Shelley Scott

    I made this for my lunch meal prep this week and the first few bites when I tested it were amazing! I added a large grilled chicken breast chopped up to the bowl before I divided the servings into daily containers and I can’t wait for lunch! I was not happy with the whole wheat couscous I ordered from Amazon, so I may get regular pearl couscous to try next time. This is going to be one of my favorite salads this summer!

  6. I made this salad for a barbeque side dish. There was not a grain left over. Everyone, including men and a teenager commented on how good it was. The assembly was fairly easy. The quartering of the grape tomatoes was the only time consuming part and I did that while my grain was cooking. I used farro as that is what I had and it was perfect. Kudos to Gina for another great recipe!

  7. Avatar photo
    marcy youker

    love your recipes they are so good and perfect for my sise family, thank you keep up the good work!

  8. I always cook any pasta or grain I use in a salad in chicken broth/stock rather than water. It gives it a much better flavor and it doesn’t taste like chicken if anyone is concerned about that. 
    I’d add a bunch of fresh chopped mint and parsley to this,
    and make a great vinaigrette. I’m not fond of olive oil so I use as little as possible in my vinaigrette recipe and I use fresh orange rather than lemon; some chopped garlic, olive oil, orange juice, champagne vinegar (or white wine vinegar), S & P. That’s it. 

  9. Just delicious! Made recipe as it is written. Served as a side for a luncheon. This salad got better each day.
    Easy. Fresh tasting. Pretty too!

  10. I had never made cous cous before this recipe and now I love it. this is my favorite summer salad, which I pair with either grilled chicken or 2 drumsticks as a meal-prepped work lunch!

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  14. I made this with basil and herb cous cous. It wasn’t whole grain unfortunately and the flavoring probably added calories but it was delicious!!! And the box was only 5 oz. To make up for it, I also skipped the olive oil as the flavored cous cous had a good texture for adding veggies. This is my new fave lunch!!

  15. There is really nothing to this salad but boy is it tasty! I used all the ingredients listed except olive oil ( I am on WW) and it was still very good. My husband is the master at spicing things up to make them taste better so I asked him to taste it to see what it was missing and he said “Nothing, this is really good!” I felt proud 🙂 I chilled it in the fridge for about an hour and I tasted it before and after the fridge and I do have to say chilling it makes the flavors come out more. Great dish to bring to parties!

  16. Oh my… I made this last night (to go alongside your creamy zucchini soup!) and it is to die for. Incredibly easy to make, and so fresh tasting! I love the lemon flavor and the texture of the couscous. My grocery store only had regular (not whole wheat) but the calorie count appears to be the same. Thanks for another total winner!

  17. Avatar photo
    Michelle Prieto

    Hi. How far ahead can this be made? 1 day? I'd love to make it for a dinner party but have never used couscous before. I'm not sure how it will handle being prepared ahead of time. Thanks.

    1. I'm not an expert but I made it Tuesday night and had some today and it was delicious! It should be good for a few days at the least, esp if you use the pearled couscous since it's bigger and won't crumble.

  18. What would be a substitution for tomatoes? I sometimes have an allergic reaction to too much acidity…and I'm a little weary of tomato's and lemon juice in the same dish. Any suggestions? I do love the colorfulness of this dish with the tomatoes though!

    1. I would try chopped red pepper and if you don’t want the crunch, you could use roasted red pepper — either done yourself in the broiler or taken [and rinsed] from a jar. That would add color and the red pepper would work well with both the couscous and the asparagus. In fact, I might try that myself.