November 29, 2022

Canadiannpizza

Cooking Is My World

Cucumber Feta Salad – Chelsea’s Messy Apron


Salads

Salads

This Cucumber-Feta Salad starts with couscous and gets topped with a myriad of veggies, chickpeas, and feta. Drizzle on the show-stopping lemon vinaigrette and be prepared to fall in love (yes, with a salad)!

Try another favorite couscous salad — this Greek Couscous Salad, Italian Couscous Salad, or Chickpea Salad. 

Overhead image of Cucumber-Feta Salad in a bowl

Cucumber Feta Salad

This salad is so fresh, light, and vibrant — we are obsessed with it! It starts with big pearl couscous which is then topped with crispy chickpeas, creamy avocado, crunchy cucumbers, salty feta, and flat-leaf parsley.

Our favorite Lemon Vinaigrette is tweaked slightly to top this salad and it’s truly a match made in heaven!

Process shots-- images of the couscous being cooked and transferred to a bowl

Cucumber Feta Salad Ingredients

There are six primary salad ingredients:

  • Pearl couscous. Israeli couscous is also called pearled couscous; here’s what I use. It’s important to get the large balls of couscous for the right texture of this salad.
  • Fresh avocado. The avocado lends an amazing creamy texture to this salad. Wait for perfectly ripe avocados, as they make a huge difference in this salad. An avocado is ripe when it yields to gentle pressure (think: touching the tip of your nose). 
  • Flat-leaf Italian parsley. Typically you’ll find flat-leaf Italian parsley and curly parsley in the produce section of the store. Avoid the curly parsley– it’s usually used as a garnish and won’t contribute much flavor. If you prefer, you can use fresh basil, mint, or cilantro instead.
  • English or Persian cucumbers (sometimes labeled as mini cucumbers). I don’t recommend regular cucumbers because they lack flavor and texture. They also break down and become watery quickly.
  • Feta cheese. This salty addition pulls everything together in this salad! Goat cheese is another good cheese alternative in this Cucumber Feta Salad.
  • Chickpeas. Or garbanzo beans — they’re one and the same!

QUICK TIP

What is couscous, anyway? They’re small grains of semolina–so that means they’re tiny pasta balls! Imagine taking a piece of spaghetti and cutting it into the teeniest, tiniest pieces possible. That’s couscous. Because the pieces are so small, they cook quickly.  Couscous is a fun way to serve pasta!

Process shots of the Cucumber Feta Salad-- images of the dressing being made and the veggies, chickpeas, and dressing being tossed together

The Best Lemon Vinaigrette

The dressing makes this Cucumber Feta Salad — it’s well worth the extra minutes to whip it together and you’ll know exactly what’s in the dressing! Here are a few ingredient notes:

  • Dijon mustard. We love Grey Poupon® Dijon best. Make sure to use Dijon, not yellow mustard. 
  • Olive oil. We recommend extra virgin olive oil for this recipe. Better oil = better flavor.
  • Honey. Add less for a tangier dressing, and more for a sweeter one.
  • Lemons. We use fresh lemon juice because bottled lemon juice doesn’t pack the same flavor as fresh, and we need the lemon zest, too.  
  • Salt & pepper. No dressing is complete without salt and pepper, and this vinaigrette is no exception. Add to taste preference, remembering that an extra pinch can be the difference between a good and a stellar dressing!

Image of the feta being added and tossed with the salad ingredients

Adding Protein to This Salad

Cucumber Feta Salad lends well to additional protein; I’d recommend leftover shredded rotisserie chicken — a lemon-herb flavored rotisserie chicken if you can find it! A side of Grilled Chicken is also a great option.

QUICK TIP

If adding a substantial amount of chicken into this salad, you may want to increase the amount of dressing.

Overhead image of Cucumber-Feta Salad ready to be enjoyed

STORAGE

Cucumber Feta Salad Storage

  • Cucumber Feta Salad doesn’t sit very well with the dressing, feta, and avocado mixed into it. (The avocado browns and takes on an odd texture; the dressing wilts the veggies.)
  • If you aren’t planning to eat the entire salad in one sitting, toss and add dressing to the amount you’ll be eating at this time. Undressed, the salad stays fresh for 1-2 days. After a couple of days, the veggies, cheese, and avocado deteriorate significantly.

What Can You Do With Feta Cheese?

Consider adding the leftover feta to one of these recipes:

Cucumber Feta Salad

This Cucumber Feta Salad starts with couscous and gets topped with a myriad of veggies, chickpeas, and feta. Drizzle on the show-stopping lemon vinaigrette and be prepared to fall in love (yes, with a salad)!

Cucumber Feta Salad

This Cucumber Feta Salad starts with couscous and gets topped with a myriad of veggies, chickpeas, and feta. Drizzle on the show-stopping lemon vinaigrette and be prepared to fall in love (yes, with a salad)!

Instructions

  • COMBINE: In a wide-mouth jar, combine all the dressing ingredients. Season to taste with salt and pepper; I add 1/4 tsp. fine sea salt & 1/8 tsp. pepper. Cover and briskly shake to combine and emulsify. (Don’t have a jar with a lid? Briskly whisk in a bowl instead!) Refrigerate while preparing the rest of the salad.

  • COUSCOUS: Prepare couscous according to package directions (we add 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon olive oil to the water). Remove from heat and transfer to a large bowl. Chill in the fridge for 5-10 minutes while preparing other veggies.

  • SALAD: To the couscous, add sliced cucumbers, diced avocado, drained and rinsed chickpeas, and finely chopped parsley. Shake dressing up again and then drizzle over salad, adding to taste (we use it all). Mix to combine. Add in feta and gently toss again. Serve immediately.

  • STORAGE: Once dressed, this salad doesn’t sit very well. (The avocado browns & the dressing wilts the veggies.) If you aren’t planning to eat the entire salad in one sitting, toss and add dressing to the amount you’ll be eating at this time. Undressed, the salad stays fresh for 1-2 days. After a couple of days, the veggies, cheese, and avocado deteriorate significantly. Does not freeze/thaw well.

Recipe Notes

Note 1: Pearled couscous: Israeli couscous is also called pearled couscous; it’s important to get the large balls of couscous for the right texture of this salad. We follow directions on the container for cooking and seasoning with salt.
Note 2: English or Persian cucumbers (sometimes labeled as mini cucumbers): These are the best types of cucumber, flavor and texture-wise. Unlike regular cucumbers, these ones have a more vibrant flavor and retain their shape and crispness much better.

Nutrition Facts

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 363kcal | Carbohydrates: 38.3g | Protein: 10.1g | Fat: 19.6g | Cholesterol: 11.1mg | Sodium: 395.8mg | Fiber: 7.5g | Sugar: 2g

We do our best to provide accurate nutritional analysis for our recipes. Our nutritional data is calculated using a third-party algorithm and may vary, based on individual cooking styles, measurements, and ingredient sizes. Please use this information for comparison purposes and consult a health professional for nutrition guidance as needed.