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
Print WW Personal Points
4.85 from 13 votes
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Lemon Asparagus Couscous Salad with Tomatoes

1
170 Cals 6.5 Protein 30 Carbs 4 Fats
Prep Time: 5 mins
Total Time: 30 mins
Yield: 5 servings
COURSE: Lunch, Salad, Side Dish
CUISINE: American
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.

Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions

  • 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.

Notes

Makes 5 1/2 cups.

Nutrition

Serving: 1generous cup, Calories: 170kcal, Carbohydrates: 30g, Protein: 6.5g, Fat: 4g, Sodium: 10mg, Fiber: 5g
WW Points Plus: 4
Keywords: Under 30 Minutes, Vegetarian Meals

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64 comments

  1. Love this – making for a third time!

  2. I found this to be very bland.

    • 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.

  3. I love this recipe! So far I’ve enjoyed it with roasted or rotisserie chicken. 

  4. We loved this recipe. I added large shrimp to it for a tasty light dinner

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

  6. 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!

  7. 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!

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

  9. 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. 

  10. 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!

  11. So easy and delicious! Tasted even better the next day. Will definitely make it again!

  12. 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!

  13. Delicious. Realized last minute didn’t have the couscous on hand. Used orzo instead. 

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  17. 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!!

  18. 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!

  19. 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!

  20. This was such a great recipe. It was delicious. Will definitely make it again.

  21. 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.

    • 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.

  22. 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!

    • 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.

  23. Very tasty! I also added the zest from my lemons, and I loved the intense citrus flavor. This is precisely the type of thing I like to make ahead and take to work for lunch…filling, healthy, and tastes great. Thank you for sharing your recipe.

  24. Is there anything I can use instead of asparagus? And what about adding some cilantro.

  25. Hi Gina: Is the 6oz of Pearled Couscous before or after it is cooked.

  26. Can this be made the night before or does it need to be made the day of? I've never really cooked with couscous, so I don't want it to turn.

  27. just made this to take for lunch tomorrow! and its delish! I also used the garlic herb kind of couscous and it works with the rest of the ingredients.

  28. Is it ok to make ahead with dressing added or should I wait on dr easing

  29. Mnham!

    O Caldeirão e a Colher de Pau

  30. Made this for a side dish last night. Everybody loved it. Very light and refreshing. Will be making weekly for the summer months. Thanks for the great recipe Gina.

  31. Made this for dinner, but I substituted orzo pasta for the couscous since I couldn't find any. It was still light, fresh, and so delicious!

  32. Made this yesterday for Mother's Day luncheon. Everyone loved it. Only variation, I used a Tri-Color Pear Couscous – it made a lovely presentation. I made a lot so I could have leftovers for lunch today & adding a bit of Feta. Thanks for a great recipe!

  33. This was Great! Thanks so much.

  34. this looks great

  35. How much Quinoa have you/would you use. Surely not 6 ounces. Coucous is much heavier.

  36. This was really good. MH is not a fan of couscous or quinoa (texture issue) but he enjoyed this. Lol. Next time I will try it with farro.

  37. I am actually making this for a Mothers Day party at a friends house, but will be using quinoa in place of couscous since a few people maintain gluten-free diets. I think it will be delicious!

  38. Gina,

    My boyfriend despises onions of all varieties, including shallots and chives… Is there anything else that you could recommend which would be similar to use in recipes such as this- or is the only option just to always completely omit one ingredient?

    Thanks!

    • My mother is the same way with onions. My hubby doesn't like cilantro or tomatoes. It's unfathomable, but I just try and make a little bit their way and then add the good stuff for me. OR put it aside in a separate bowl for individual servings. Oh bother!

    • I'm not a fan of onions either. I either use a fine grater and grate the onions in(because I don't like to find pieces) or I sub crushed garlic in most recipes.

  39. Sounds delicious!

    www.the-savvy-kitchen.com

  40. this looks like corn would work as well – fresh off the cobb. Yum!

  41. Looks soooo good!

  42. Pretty and yummy bowl of deliciousness!

  43. I forgot to mention I also buy a 3 lb bag of Roland Farro from Amazon – much cheaper than TJ's or WF

  44. I bought the Osem Israeli couscous on Amazon – very reasonable! Can't wait to make this recipe!!

  45. yum! I love pearl couscous and this is such a delicious and springy recipe.

  46. I can't eat cous cous due to Celiac disease 🙁 Could I replace the cous couse with quinoa? Would I need to adjust the other ingredients if I did that?

  47. Picking up asparagas tomorrow! Could I use regular whole wheat cous cous? Does it change the points?

  48. This looks fabulous great Spring Summer dish…thank you for sharing it……..with love Janice

  49. Yum! This is definitely what I'm making to bring to our families bbq to celebrate MY first mothers day as a momma 🙂

  50. Hi Gina, I love pearl couscous (and your blog!!) but can't find it in my neighborhood. Can you tell me what stores sell it? Also, will the points be different if I don't use the wheat version?

    • They sell it in my supermarket near the rice, but the whole wheat version I get at Wild By Nature which is more of an organic upscale supermarket, like a whole foods. If not, you can use whole wheat orzo, the brand is Rice Selects.

    • I went to a Middle Eastern grocery store and asked them to point out what I needed. Look at their spices while you are in there–probably fresher and you get more for your buck.

  51. lovely lovely spring salad!

    perfection…

  52. This looks like a perfect spring/summer salad! Can't wait to make it!