Mediterranean Pearl Couscous Salad

December 10, 2018mayurisjikoni
Blog post


What are Potluck Recipes? Potluck is where there is a communal gathering where guests bring a dish to share with others. Potluck dinner, Potluck lunch, spread, bring and share, covered dish, pass on dish etc are some other terms used for food that is prepared by a guest at home and brought to the host’s place to share with others. While most guests prefer to cook something, these the trend is moving to buying food from restaurants or stores and sharing.

The overall idea of having guests bring a dish means you land up with a feast. However sometimes these kind of parties can turn into a disaster if the host doesn’t plan well. Here are some guidelines that you may want to consider if you’re going to host a potluck party.

  • It’s usually best to indicate how many dishes are expected and for which course right from soups and starters to desserts. You don’t everyone turning up with a dessert or side dish and no main dish. The guests then can choose which course is most convenient for them to prepare or bring along.
  • Indicate to the guest if you don’t have the correct crockery for the dish e.g. if a guest is bringing some ice cream, you need enough bowls. Vice versa its always courteous that the guests informs the host what kind of crockery he or she may need.
  • Its best to organize the list according to the equipment required in the kitchen. Can you imagine if all the dishes required an oven to warm up their dishes.
  • be mindful of dietary requirements. E.g. if there is going to be a crowd where due to religion or belief some may not eat beef or pork, go for a neutral dish like chicken. This mindfulness is usually required for non vegetarian dishes.
  • Make sure dishes are not too strong smelling of onion, garlic, fish etc, not too spicy and stale. The worse thing to serve to guests is stale food.
  • Try and bring along your food preparation in a container that can be used as the serving tray or bowl. Don’t increase the host’s work by transferring food from your container to something from the host’s kitchen.
  • If possible suggest a theme so that the dishes complement each other e.g. Diwali party, Mexican etc.
  • Prepare a dish that does not require a long cooking time at the host’s place.E.g. if you’re taking idli sambhar, prepare the idlis and take it to the host’s place. Don’t wait to steam them at her/his place.
  • Share out the dishes to the other guests e.g. one brings chole the other brings the bhaturas.
  • Make dishes that are easy to prepare especially if the crowd is large.

I usually have to take salads, desserts or main dish for potluck parties which is absolutely fine by me. Its only that sometimes carrying the dessert becomes a bit tricky especially in the hot weather.

Are you wondering why I’m talking about Potluck Parties? Well, Preethi who blogs at Preethi’s Cuisine suggested Potluck Recipes as the #174th them for the FoodieMonday/Bloghop group.

I had bought some Pearl Couscous, Israeli Couscous, Jerusalem Couscous or Ptitim as its called is not couscous as we know it. Its a type of toasted pasta which is shaped like rice grains or little balls or other small shapes. It is made from wheat flour and was developed in Israel during the 1950s when rice was scarce. The texture of the cooked couscous is a bit chewy, a bit like tapioca pearls or sabudana. I had bought Pearl Couscous from a shop in Montreal. I seriously cannot remember the name of this wonderful shop which is just opposite the Jean Talon Market. It has so many types of grains, beans, pulses, spices, dry fruits, candies, chocolates, and so much more. I always land up picking stuff from that shop and the best part is that you pick how much you want, they weigh it and price it accordingly. When I saw pearl couscous I had heard about it but didn’t know how to prepare it . I picked it anyway and now regret for not buying a larger quantity. A cupful is not enough!

The potluck recipe I prepared was a Mediterranean Pearl Couscous Salad. Easy to make, fuss free and filling too. Carry the dressing separately and mix it in just before serving time.

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Serves 4-6

1 cup pearl couscous

1½ cups water

1 tsp olive oil

1 cup cherry/plum tomatoes, cut into halves

1 cup diced cucumber

10-12 olives of your choice, sliced

¼ cup chopped spring onion

10-12 mint leaves

¼ cup lightly roasted pine nuts

½ cup (approx 70-80g) feta cheese cut into small cubes or crumbled


Lemon Zaatar Dressing:

¼ cup lemon juice

1 tsp lemon zest

¼ cup olive oil

½ tsp Himalayan salt or normal salt

1 tsp zaatar


Preparation of the couscous:

  1. Boil the measured water in a saucepan over medium heat.
  2. Add the couscous to the boiling water. Mix well and let it cook for 10-12 minutes or till its just done. Like normal pasta it should be al dente and not overcooked.
  3. Drain out any extra water. Add 1 tsp olive oil.
  4. Mix well and put it into a serving bowl. Let it cool down a bit.
  5. Add the cucumber, mint, olives, tomatoes, pine nuts and spring onions.
  6. Mix well. Add the feta cheese and mix it in gently.


Preparation of the Lemon Zaatar Dressing:

  1. Mix all the ingredients in a jar and give it a good shake.
  2. Leave the dressing in the jar to carry.


Final Preparation:

  1. Drizzle the dressing over the salad, mix gently and serve.



  • Keep the salad in the fridge till required.
  • Add veggies like bell pepper.
  • If you don’t have zaatar, add dried mixed herbs instead.


Pin for later:


A little request:

If you do try this recipe then please either

  • add a comment below,
  • send a picture to my email
  •  tag me as #mayuri_jikoni on Instagram
  • or tag me on Twitter as #Mayuri1962

You may want to check out the following Salads that are ideal for Potluck Parties:

Blog post
peanut and fruit salad


Blog post
Moroccan Couscous Salad


black bean and corn salad with avocado dressing


black rice salad

Sending this recipe to the following event:

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  • poonampagar

    December 10, 2018 at 4:27 pm

    Your pointers sound very useful for any one hosting or attending a potluck party di ! Your salad sounds filling , healthy and vibrant. I am sure it is full of flavors with the lemon zatar dressing .

    1. mayurisjikoni

      December 10, 2018 at 7:24 pm

      Thanks Poonam, the lemon zaatar dressing really goes well with it.

  • themadscientistskitchen

    December 10, 2018 at 5:21 pm

    OMG! You too are a couscous fan? I love the taste of the ‘grain’ as for the salad it is yummy. I have some so will make it tomorrow itself. I have never had a potluck party it is always I cook parties so thanks for the tips will put some friends to work. 😀

    1. mayurisjikoni

      December 10, 2018 at 7:21 pm

      Thanks Archana, I’m a big fan of couscous. Do let me know how you liked the salad. My Lions Club has quite a few potluck dinner parties so I get to cook for 20-25 people. Whenever my best friend has guests over at her place I have to make the salad or dessert.

  • The Girl Next Door

    December 10, 2018 at 6:10 pm

    The salad looks so colourful and pretty! What’s more, it’s healthy too! 🙂

    1. mayurisjikoni

      December 10, 2018 at 7:22 pm

      Thank you Priya.

  • Claudia Canu

    December 10, 2018 at 9:05 pm

    Thank you so much for explaining in details how a potluck should work. Where I’m from we usually do BBQ but everyone just brings whatever they like and sometimes it doesn’t turn really well! Also, I didn’t know about this type of couscous, it looks delicious AND fancy 🙂

    1. mayurisjikoni

      December 12, 2018 at 9:41 pm

      Thanks Claudia. Among friends we always try to coordinate our dishes. That way there is no waste and no shortage! I hadn’t heard of pearl couscous till I had a salad at a restaurant in Montreal.

  • Rita

    December 11, 2018 at 3:34 am

    Nice and healthy share

    1. mayurisjikoni

      December 12, 2018 at 9:38 pm

      Thanks Rita.

  • Beth Neels

    December 11, 2018 at 5:51 pm

    Such a colorful and healthy salad! Thank you for all of the helpful tips to have a successful potluck! Very informative!

    1. mayurisjikoni

      December 12, 2018 at 9:33 pm

      Thanks Beth and most welcome.

  • Batter Up With Sujata

    December 11, 2018 at 6:29 pm

    Salad looks wonderful Mayuri. You are right these are looking just like sabudana. Sounds delicious and healthy.

    1. mayurisjikoni

      December 12, 2018 at 9:31 pm

      Thanks Sujata, the couscous is healthy and filling too so one can enjoy the salad as a light meal.

  • Julie @ Running in a Skirt

    December 11, 2018 at 8:34 pm

    I love all the fresh veggies in this pearl couscous salad! So good and I can’t wait to try it for dinner.

    1. mayurisjikoni

      December 12, 2018 at 9:31 pm

      Thanks Julie, hope you enjoy it.

  • Caroline

    December 12, 2018 at 4:15 am

    I really like pearl couscous for making salads, and that lemon zaatar dressing sounds the perfect way to bring it all together.

    1. mayurisjikoni

      December 12, 2018 at 9:29 pm

      Thank you so much Caroline.

  • jeannette9712gmailcom

    December 12, 2018 at 12:11 pm

    This couscous looks amazing, especially for my vegan friends! Thanks so much for the guidelines that you may want to consider if you’re going to host a potluck party. I there was a PDF of it!

    1. mayurisjikoni

      December 12, 2018 at 9:28 pm

      Thank you Jeanette. I have a group of friends from different cultures so makes it easier to be mindful of their dietary preferences.

  • Jacqueline Debono

    December 12, 2018 at 2:17 pm

    I love couscous too but have never tried pear couscous although I imagine it’s similar to some of the small types of pasta we have here in Italy, like Sardinian fregula. This salad looks delicious, I love salad with feta.

    1. mayurisjikoni

      December 12, 2018 at 9:25 pm

      Thanks Jacqueline, I’ve not tasted fregula so have no idea. But pearl couscous is like tiny pasta. I too love feta in salads.

  • sizzlingtastebuds

    December 14, 2018 at 2:58 pm

    I simply kept scrolling up and down getting the hang of your simple and yummylicious recipe and it looks like a winner all the way ! Thanks much for the handy tips too , Mayuri

    1. mayurisjikoni

      December 14, 2018 at 5:19 pm

      Thank you so much Kalyani.

  • FoodTrails

    December 15, 2018 at 5:11 pm

    Very nicely explained steps for hosting a potluck party.Salad is so colorful with vibrant colors.Never used cocous in my dishes, I think it’s time now, will start with your salad recipe!!

    1. mayurisjikoni

      December 16, 2018 at 8:58 pm

      Thanks Swaty, couscous is filling so makes an awesome light meal.

  • Sri Mallya

    December 16, 2018 at 4:07 am

    So colorful and delicious salad. I will soon try your recipe. YUMMY!

    1. mayurisjikoni

      December 16, 2018 at 8:56 pm

      Thank you so much Sri Mallya. Will appreciate if you can share a photo when you make it.

  • Preethicuisine

    December 16, 2018 at 12:54 pm

    Love this wholesome and colourful healthy salad. Perfect dish for the potluck party.Loved the detailed explanation of hosting a potluck.

    1. mayurisjikoni

      December 16, 2018 at 8:54 pm

      Thank you so much Preethi. Colorful salads are always an attraction.

  • Mildlyindian (@mildlyindian)

    December 17, 2018 at 4:46 am

    I absolutely love the pointers you have presented here for a potluck, and that salad, yummm. I am going to make it today. love the colours.

    1. mayurisjikoni

      December 17, 2018 at 8:40 pm

      Thanks Seema, let me know if you enjoyed it.

  • Vidya Narayan

    December 18, 2018 at 9:04 am

    Loved the detailing on how to conduct a potluck – the do’s and don’ts. Very informative especially for newly married girls organizing such themes for the first time. The salad has all my fav ingredients like feta, zatar which I absolutely adore. Refreshing dish and going by the growth of health conscious people, this is something everyone would love.

    1. mayurisjikoni

      December 18, 2018 at 5:48 pm

      Thanks Vidya, I think not only newly married girls but anyone organizing a potluck party needs a guideline for a successful party.

  • Sujata Shukla

    December 19, 2018 at 9:22 am

    I make couscous quite often, but this one looks amazing. Fresh, herby, colourful. I love the sharpness of the image, with each individual couscous pearl so clear and beautiful. I was wondering what to make for a quick and easy lunch today and now I know! Off to slice veggies and boil some water for the couscous.

    1. mayurisjikoni

      December 19, 2018 at 7:27 pm

      Thank you so much Sujata, I too love couscous and this pearl one is amazing. Hope you enjoyed your lunch.

  • Veena Krishnakumar

    December 21, 2018 at 9:01 am

    The pointers are very useful Mayuri. I am not a great fan of couscous but my daughter is. I love the flavour of zatar though. Will send this link to my daughter. Pictures are beautiful

    1. mayurisjikoni

      December 23, 2018 at 10:42 am

      Thanks Veena.

  • jayashreetrao

    December 23, 2018 at 1:43 pm

    Such a lovely salad, it is ideal for my dinner. Vibrant looking salad. Nice pointers Mayuri

    1. mayurisjikoni

      December 25, 2018 at 11:05 am

      Thank you so much Jayashree.

  • Sasmita Sahoo Samanta

    December 25, 2018 at 7:04 am

    Love these colorful healthy salad which are so so wholesome ones. Such a perfect share for the potluck party. Lovely option for theme di

    1. mayurisjikoni

      December 25, 2018 at 11:00 am

      Thank you so much. Colorful salads attract people to enjoy it.

    2. Priya

      July 4, 2020 at 5:01 pm

      A very colorful salad mayurji, that pearl couscous looks very pretty! I have never tried a zaatar dressing before, looks very interesting, and Lovely tips on hosting a potluck!

      1. mayurisjikoni

        July 4, 2020 at 5:06 pm

        Thank you so much Priya. Zaatar is an interesting herb and spice blend, do try the dressing out.

  • amrita

    January 2, 2019 at 1:08 pm

    This salad looks so colorful and this could be a very good option for a meal.

    1. mayurisjikoni

      January 2, 2019 at 10:08 pm

      Thanks Amrita and yes its a good option for a meal.

  • Sasmita Sahoo Samanta

    January 10, 2019 at 4:47 pm

    Couscous Salad really looks so wholesome !! such a eye-catching salad you have presented here for theme di 🙂

    1. mayurisjikoni

      January 11, 2019 at 5:10 pm

      Thank you so much Sasmita.

  • Shobha Keshwani

    June 28, 2020 at 3:03 am

    What a fresh and healthy bowl of salad. I can imagine how flavourful the zaatar dressing and the crunchiness of the roasted pine nuts would have made this dish.

    1. mayurisjikoni

      June 29, 2020 at 3:33 pm

      Thank you so much Shobha, zaatar is one of my favorite spice mixtures.

  • Chef Mireille

    July 2, 2020 at 4:01 am

    salad looks bright and colorful – must be as delicious as it looks too

    1. mayurisjikoni

      July 2, 2020 at 8:06 pm

      Thanks Mireillie.

  • Priya Srinivasan

    July 4, 2020 at 9:09 am

    Lovely salad mayuri ji! That pearl couscous looks so pretty and whole bowl looks very colorful and tempting! Lovely pointers on hosting potlucks !

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