Cherry Tomato Couscous Recipe

I spent the weekend at my friend Lori's Northern California cabin and she made this tasty cherry tomato couscous for us - cherry tomatoes, cucumber, chopped basil, and chickpeas tossed with couscous, olive oil and freshly squeezed lemon and lime juice. Finished with a bit of feta.

Cherry Tomato Couscous

It has been nearly two years since I spent a weekend in the Northern California backwoods at my friend Lori's family cabin. Maybe some of you remember? The cabin is nestled deep in the woods on a huge plot of family-owned land, miles down an unpaved dirt road. I love the cabin. It was hand-built and is just the right combination of rustic and comfort - think plywood floors and down comforters. Well, apparently I behaved well enough last time to get an invite back two weekends ago. Plenty happened in those 48 hours - we watched a stunning moonrise from the cabin porch, rescued a baby possum, attempted to summit a mountain, flipped through endless magazines, and ate and drank puh-lenty.

Cherry Tomato Couscous

Lori made this delicious couscous for us and I thought I'd share it. It is simply cherry tomatoes, cucumber, chopped basil, and chickpeas tossed with the couscous, olive oil and freshly squeezed lemon and lime juice. Finished with a bit of feta, it's a great way to use some of those cherry tomatoes that seem to want to hop right in my market bag at every turn.

Thanks for another great weekend Lori, Lisa, and Gwen - can't wait for our next cabin adventure.

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Cherry Tomato Couscous Recipe

Keep your eyes peeled for whole wheat or barley couscous - either would work great here. You can easily make this vegan by leaving out the feta - maybe do some sort of harissa drizzle instead?

3 cups cooked couscous*
1/2 a basket of cherry tomatoes, halved
1 medium cucumber, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch pieces
1 cup cooked chickpeas

1 lemon, cut in half
1 lime, cut in half
about 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
fine grain sea salt
freshly ground pepper

1/3 cup basil or cilantro, chopped
1/3 cup feta cheese, crumbled

Combine the couscous, tomatoes, cucumber, and chickpeas in a large bowl. Lori - squeezes the lemon and lime juice directly into the bowl, so start by giving a good squeeze of lemon and lime juice into the bowl, add the olive oil, and some salt and pepper. Toss well, taste, and adjust with more of the above until it tastes just right. Lori notes - this really needs a generous amount of salt, and the lemon and lime juices might need to be adjusted depending on how juicy the fruit is.

Add the basil and feta and toss gently until it is evenly dispersed.

Serves 4 - 6.

*To cook the couscous: Either follow the package instructions or bring 3 1/2 cups of water to a boil, stir in a scant 2 teaspoons fine grain sea salt and 2 cups of couscous. Cover and remove from heat. Steam for 5 to 10 minutes and then use a fork to fluff up the couscous.

Prep time: 10 minutes

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Thanks for the very very yummy dish. Thanks again……

Nazia Amrin

This looks fantastic. I love fresh summer cherry tomatoes, especially if they are straight from my garden. Thanks for the recipe!

Erin Walker

I made this on Tuesday for dinner and have been eating it at every meal since. I fed 4 for dinner Tuesday and still had plenty left over. This would be a perfect picnic salad since it is meant to be at room temperature (I tried it cold also and it was not as good).


I made this with quinoa in place of couscous because I have recently been diagnosed with a gluten intolerance. It was delicious and really refreshing for a hot hot summer day. I love this site!


I made this, slightly altered, with half the couscous, more tomatoes and feta and subbing dill for basil and it was DELISH!!


What a great way to use cherry tomatoes — I love the orange ones that are all over the markets now. And thanks to the poster who suggested cooking couscous in orange juice — I never thought of that!


This is a perfect recipe for hot summer days. I made it last night and was glad that I only had to use my stove for 5 minutes (it’s 90+ degrees where I am!)


Vow , thanks for the mouth watering information about this delicious recipe. With this info i can enjoy the recipe at home and there is no need to go to a restaurant.


Nothing like rustic- meets- pleasure….what a delish recipe for the cabin. Living in Minnesota, where cabins abound, I can appreciate how wonderful it feels… be cozy under down, feel the wood, smell the air……lovely!! -Chris Ann

LoveFeast Table

This is a recipe I have been making for a few summers now after recieving the recipe from a friend who brought it to a pot luck. I also add canned black beans and garlic at times just to mix it up. Also to save time I will mix cold water in with the couscous and let it sit for about 15 min. to “cook” instead of steaming it. Works great for a salad.

Jill Niemi

Big fans of all things tomato and feta together. Yum.

The Duo Dishes

Looks delicious! I love simple and quick couscous recipes! Next time try Turkish Couscous!

Aysegul - Nysdelight

Made this for a BBQ over the weekend.
VERY EASY!!! This took max 10 minutes, including cooking the couscous (from a box).
and so yum =)


Looks wonderful! I like couscous, but would like to try this with quinoa too and maybe some rice vinegar in place of the lemon? I found some feta with basil and tomato that would probably work well with this recipe too.


what is the origin country of this meal?
I heard that it is Morrocan meal! is that true?


This recipe is outstanding! I used whole wheat couscous, and added 1/4 t Dijon mustard to the citrus juice before whisking in the oil to help emulsify the vinaigrette. I also added 3 thinly sliced scallions because I had them. It was delicious as soon as it was made, and surprisingly, it really held well in the fridge overnight. This is my new go-to summer salad. Thank you!


A wonderful summer dish! I would substitute mint for the basil, because I love mint in couscous and I happen to have some growing in my garden 🙂 New Yorkers can find wholewheat couscous at Sahadi’s in Brooklyn.

Maya @ Maya's Kitchen

thank you for this recipe. I made it for dinner, it was delicious!


so happy to find your website with tons of vegetarian and vegan recipes 🙂
i love couscous!

lauren stephens

I love these mediterrenean style recipes. Tasty and healthy!


Couldn’t be simpler! I usually buy whole wheat couscous, but barley?? never heard of that one!

Michelle @ Find Your Balance

First time poster. I just wanted to say that I took your suggestion and topped this off with harissa, and it gave a wonderful kick to the already great couscous. I do have a pic of it up on my site, if anyone’s curious.


This looks like a delicious recipe. I love couscous, and I love tomatoes of all kinds, but never thought to put the two together, great idea!

Angelia McGowan

This is a beautiful recipe! I tried this the other day and added a few cloves of garlic and oregano and thyme. It was fantastic! But I suggest that anyone making this should ease up on the salt – be very careful about how much salt to use with this recipe.
Loved it,
– Grace


Heidi this looks like the perfect way to enjoy the cherry tomato bounty in my potager. Thank you for this great recipe and as always, fantastic and inspirational ways to use the fruits of my garden-labor!

The Gardener's Eden

This dish is SO up my alley. I’ve made a few variations of similar grain dishes. My favorite is to add more herbs (mint, parsley, chives) and to make a cous cous or quinoa tabouli. I also made this rice salad with cherry tomatoes and cilantro that turned out really fabulous. The almonds give it a nice crunch. You can also try finely chopping preserved lemons for an added hint of interesting flavor.


Wow this looks delicious and perfect for a summer dish! Thanks for the recipe!


I like couscous!!!!!!!!!!!!


Yum – I just love couscous recipes, and cherry tomatoes are so great – this looks like a real winner!


I was visiting my uncle who lives in the backwoods of Mendocino Co. at the same time as you! We did a lot of grilling as the weather was perfect for eating outdoors. Seems as though everything tastes better when surrounded by nothing but trees, bubbling streams, and clean mountain air.

Laura O

I made this last night with orzo. Very good!! Thank you velly much!!! 🙂


Love this idea, but, alas I’m celiac, so no more couscous for me…I have, however, been substituting quinoa for couscous and find it very similar in all the qualities that matter: texture, mild taste that lets other flavors pop…this recipe goes into my cool summer salads/warm winter side dishes file! Thanks for all your great ideas!

Katy Seattle

I think I remember the kitchen from that cabin — but perhaps I’m thinking of some other wonderful rustic yet perfect kitchen you’ve cooked in.
Now, thanks for the recipe and all but, uh, you’re not going to share the possum story?

Becky and the Beanstock

Lovin’ the couscous. I like using the whole wheat kind, too. (seems less mushy sometimes). 🙂



annemarie giliomee

Couscous is also really delicious with soya meatballs and roasted red peppers with eggplant and garlic spread which I found in Trader Joe’s in Chicago.
Top with chopped coriander leaves and a squirt of lime juice.


Couscous is also delicious with soya meatballs tossed in toasted red peppers with eggplant and garlic spread which I found at Trader Joe in Chicago.
Top with chopped coriander leaves and a squeeze of lime juice.


Here in New Zealand it is a grey wintry day and the thought of picking deep red cherry tomatoes straight off the plant while still warm is a comfort even though it does feel a while off yet.
Your stories and recipes are always a pleasure to read and the photography very inspiring.


I love your recipes, I have many favorites. Otsu, split green pea soup, are used almost weekly. This recipe sounds great. i make something similar but as mentioned above add lightly charred grilled zucchini. Also haloumi cheese is divine especially when marinated.


I have the most perfect Sungold tomatoes in my garden right now–despite my brown thumb! They would look and taste delicious in this.

The Leftoverist

I always cook couscous with apple juice instead of water/stock – the flavour of the juice doesn’t actually come through – just a bit of sweetness that makes the couscous really tasty and light!
Cherry tomatoes and feta in this sound divine, will definitely have to give it try this weekend 🙂


Woo hoo! The timing of the recipe being posted is perfect. I have a plentiful supply of red, orange and yellow cherry tomatoes from my CSA in PA and I was up in the air on what to do with them. Now I know!


i am in the backwoods of quebec, canada (with internet access) and now know what we will be having for dinner 🙂 thanks!


i make a variation of this dish all the time and everyone loves it. my recipe is a play off of a turkish recipe called ‘kisir’. The big difference is fresh mint and lots of it, and no cheese. also, i make it a little spicy with either cayenne or a turkish hot red pepper paste, which adds color to the couscous. try it with mint – you’ll love it!
PS. our new favorite soup is your recipe for porcini soup. more of a fall dish, but we even made it this summer. it’s delicious.


People always seem pretty happy whenever I serve Couscous, so thanks for the great variation, it gives me a new trick up my sleeve. It really is the food so nice they named it twice. Keep ’em comin’!

Justin from Bitchin' Kitchen just made it for lunch today- perfecto! thank you!!

Cake Is Sweet

I’d love to see a close up of that stove!


i’m usually eating couscous cooked in orange juice instead of stock, it’s excellent!
first fry some garlic, ginger, ground coriander, turmeric powder and cashews on olive oil, add any combination of vegetables (sweet or semisweet work well, like celery, fennel, but also zucchini, …), then soy sauce and juice of one small orange per person – grapefruits or tangerimes work wonderfully too – cook for a minute or two, then remove from heat and stir in the couscous. optionally garnish with pomegranate seeds.


the good thing about this Couscous is super simple and quick to prepare, and perfect to with anything and i choose to go with Ratatouille. fantastico!


yozz..this is really yummy. couscous is very easy to prepare, and it taste good too with Ratatouille. delish..!!


I was just wondering what to do with the vats of cherries ripening in my garden. Yay for this idea!


My sungold and sugar lump and juliet tomatoes are going gang busters, what a great vehicle to take full advantage of their freshness and flavor. Thanks TC

tom | tall clover farm

Yummy, I do it with Quinoa and add lots of black natural olives too. DD is allergic to wheat and it is wonderful this way too.

Beverly Jane Reynolds

This looks yummy. The neighbors gave me a ton of cucumber to use up from their garden.

Lisa A.

Looks and sounds wonderful, Heidi! Just perfect because my mother-in-law’s cherry tomatoes are abundant! I love all the other suggestions, too. Thanks everyone!


Kim talked about toasting the couscous and essentially following the pilaf method. I always (these days) toast and finish off with steam – that way you get the benefits of both methods. Actually I’m dubious that couscous is worth eating if you don’t steam it!


Couscous and feta cheese is a marriage made in heaven! In fact, we are having it tonight, but with ratatouille-style vegetables, not your delicious salad (which I have certainly made in my time, and very good it is, too!).
What size baskets are cherry tomatoes sold in?

Mrs Redboots

While I’ve eaten plenty of cherry tomatoes, I’ve not eaten couscous that I recall. Thanks for the how-to information (it looks similar to cooking rice except it takes a lot less time), and I appreciate the delicious sounding recipe — though I think I’ll just start with couscous by itself to get a taste for it alone as a starter.


Has it really been two years since that article/post? Wow I quess it has, I remember that post. Guess the chemo and radiation wasnt that bad/harsh.

Travis Brooks

yum, those cherry tomatoes look delicious!


Heidi, Your talents are phenomenal. What is most striking is that you took this photo as it was getting dark and since we have no electricity you did it with only what was left of the natural light.
And, I wish I had thought of the harissa. I love all these suggestions. I can’t wait to try some of these new combos.
Thank you.


Barley couscous sounds very interesting. Where would that most likely be found?? Thanks.


i love the new photo style!


Cherry Tomato Tip – A fast way to cut your cherry tomatoes in half is to put them between two plastic lids, like ones you get from a deli pasta salad container, place flat on the counter with your hand gently pressing down to keep the cherry tom from rolling, then run your large knife between the two lids, right through the centers of the tomatoes. This works for grapes too!


recipe looks great, but what I am really writing in for is your GORGEOUS stove!! LOVE it!


Simply wonderful recipe Heidi.I love it with mint too.To Niki- try white beans such as cannelini!


This looks so fresh and yummy. It’s such a great time for garden cherry tomatoes and basil, fabulous timing. I’m trying to come up with a protein replacement for the chickpeas (allergic). I wonder if diced tofu would work…. hmmm. Anyone have any other suggestions?

niki at spilled ingredients

Another great recipe. I make Tunisian Couscous with lamb and also vegetarian. You can replace cucumber with some cooked al dente zucchini or yellow squash.

Eileen Lee

Looks lovely. I think I will roast the cherry tomatoes first, since I love that caramelized flavor.


Sorry, but this recipe looks VERY similar to one published in Cooking Light several years ago. The only difference is that recipe adds edamame, scallions and cayenne peppar.


Thanks for reminding me of a staple I used to make almost every week (almost to the last ingredient the same as your list)!
Some ideas: add some good black olives, and/or some pan-fried tofu marinated with lemon juice (I like both feta and tofu). For a variation, you can also try some quickly-sauteed zucchini slices (maybe replacing the cucumber). And serve on a bed of romaine lettuce.
I’ll make this again this weekend, I just decided!


Cous-cous is one of my favorite dishes because it is so versatile and easy to make. I like to cook it via the pilaf method: Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a wide, deep pan, add the dry cous-cous and stir until it is lightly browned. Turn down the heat and carefully add water or stock (it will splutter so stand back). Bring to a simmer, add salt, turn off the heat and cover for approx 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork.
It doesn’t get as fluffy as it does if you steam it, but it has a nice toasty flavor.

Kim (Edible/Usable)

Totally going to try this on the weekend- mixing it up with millet and quinoa to make it gluten-free goodness.

Meghan (Making Love In The Kitchen

I love couscous. My favorite thing about it is that you can add almost any flavor or ingredient and it will turn out delicious.

Nutmeg Nanny

This salad looks amazing.
I’m a big couscous fan and
lately I’ve been using the grain, quinoa, in
with fresh veggies.
I’m digging the vintage kitchen.
Would love to see more photos of it.

Reginald @ Ceramic Canvas

How perfect! I have all those ingredients sitting in my fridge including left over couscous that I’ve been loath to use up because I couldn’t think of anything interesting to do with it. Thank you!


Perfect Summer meal – the cabin sounds amazing. I’ll zen out this morning at work and pretend I’m there!

Sarah-Two Blue Lemons

simple and delicious- just perfect!


Lovely idea –
It’s similar to Tabouli, but with couscous instead of bulghur, and with the wonderful addition of classic Mediterranean vegetables. I agree with one of the comments above – I would also love a little crunch from something nutty like pignolis.
The cabin sounds fantastic. Lucky girls.

Michelle @ porktopurslane

A similar couscous dish is always a big hit with my family.
But I often use leftover borscht to cook couscous for this kind of dish, instead of salted water. Yes, with this bright pink-purple colour, the result looks more like a piece of contemporary art than a bowl of food. But never failed to brighten up our dining table!


That looks delicious! I love dishes like this – simple, wholesome, and the ingredients are all things I usually have at home.


Delicious. I use also fresh parsil and fresh mint. Thank you!

Dominique (de vous à moi...)

This looks great – a few flaked almonds would add a little bite as well (and protein!).

Gourmet Chick

delicious!i will try this wonderful recipe!thank you!


This looks deliciously simple and perfect! I would love to sub in some cooked quinoa, since I have it on hand right now.


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