Recipe | Warm Cauliflower & Israeli Couscous Salad

Warm Cauliflower & Israeli Couscous Salad Recipe

Warm Cauliflower & Israeli Couscous Salad
Tomorrow I’m going to be posting about some of the staples I keep in my pantry and how I use them to make quick, easy meals. (In case you haven’t noticed, I’m trying to post more useful things like this in addition to recipes. Have any ideas for a post you’d like to see? Let me know!) But here’s a little spoiler for you: one of those staples that I always have on hand is couscous.

Israeli Couscous
I love regular couscous, but lately I’ve been using more Israeli couscous. It’s larger than traditional couscous and has more of a pasta-like texture to it. You can use it in place of regular couscous (although they’re cooked differently, so be sure to follow the instructions on the package!) and it also makes a good substitute for pasta in a pasta salad (chilled or warm).

Last year I posted a recipe for Roasted Cauliflower & Kalamata Olives and I’ve been trying to work it into a pasta salad-like recipe for a few months now. You know how sometimes you make a recipe and it is so close to being good, but there’s always something a little bit off about it? That’s what kept happening with this one. And then summer came and it seemed kind of silly to continue working on a cauliflower recipe, so I set it aside until fall.

Cauliflower & Olives
Now that it’s (sort of almost) fall, I decided to revisit this recipe again and this time I thought I’d use Israeli couscous. Pasta didn’t work and whole-wheat couscous was a disaster, so I was hoping that Israeli couscous would be the solution. And it was! The Israeli couscous doesn’t soak up all of the lemon vinaigrette the way the whole-wheat couscous did (which made the salad way too dry!), but it soaks up more of it than pasta. The lemony dressing adds a bright note of citrus to the otherwise earthy combination of cauliflower and olives.

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Warm Cauliflower & Israeli Couscous Salad

Prep Time

10 minutes

Cook Time

40 minutes

Total Time

50 minutes




  • olive oil mister or cooking spray
  • 1 medium head cauliflower, broken into florets
  • 1/2 c. pitted and halved kalamata olives
  • 1 c. Israeli (pearl) couscous
  • 1/4 c. chopped parsley
  • 2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • salt + pepper to taste


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Spray rimmed baking sheet with olive oil or cooking spray. Place cauliflower florets on baking sheet; spray with additional cooking spray and sprinkle with salt to taste. Bake for 20 minutes, then stir in kalamata olives. Cook for 15-20 minutes more or until cauliflower is beginning to turn golden brown and olives have started to shrivel.
  3. While cauliflower is roasting, bring water to a boil in a medium saucepan over high heat. Stir in Israeli couscous; return to boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 10 minutes, or until water is absorbed. (Keep an eye on the couscous as it cooks–if you overcook it, it will stick to the bottom of the saucepan!)
  4. Combine cauliflower and olives, couscous, and parsley in a large bowl. In a small bowl, whisk together olive oil and lemon juice. Pour dressing over salad and stir to coat. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve warm.


I have never thought to combine cauliflower and olives. I can see how roasting it would help the flavors blend really well and the lemon just compliment it all. Yum. I’m going to try this with garlic and swap out the couscous with spaghetti squash.

Hi Laura! You could use all kinds of things instead of the olives! Some roasted red peppers would be nice, or for a little sweetness maybe try some dried fruit.

I think I’ve only tried israeli couscous once and I wasn’t sure what to think about it…I found the texture weird at first but I actually liked the chewiness and it was pretty fun to eat! Plus it looks gorgeous in this salad – I love how you kept the recipe simple with ingredients that would really go well together!

This looks so good. Next month I’ll be transitioning to a yeast free diet for four weeks. I’ll be sure to stop and see what recipes you have that I can try. I like this one but I don’t think I can have citrus while on the diet.

This is so yummy! Don’t know whether you used frozen cauliflower but I did and it was delicious! Thank you! Loving your blog! 🙂

Made this tonight and it was Scrummy. Added feta and my little boy (3) said ‘this is so yummy I’m going to eat it all up’. That NEVER happens, so thank you!

Wonderful recipe ! I also tried using garlic infused extra virgin olive oil and it was delicious. Also chopped walnuts add a crunch if you don’t have nut allergies

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