Israeli Couscous and Tuna Salad

February 5th, 2013

When looking for something healthy for us to eat for lunch, I grabbed Ina Garten’s new cookbook, Foolproof.  I remembered seeing a tuna salad recipe that sounded interesting and flavorful.  The ingredients were intriguing; good quality canned tuna, roasted red peppers, olives, capers, lots of lemon flavor, basil and that pearly white grain, Israeli couscous.  There was also garlic in the salad.  This gave me a good opportunity to try out my new garlic press that I received from a company called Savora.

I was contacted by Savora to try out one of the kitchen tools from their new line of products.  They sent me a garlic press and asked me to give an honest evaluation of it.  I received no monetary compensation other that the garlic press itself.  To be honest with you, I hardly ever use a garlic press.  I have gotten so used to chopping garlic by hand.  But I was impressed with the beauty and quality of this garlic press.  All of the Savora kitchen tools have eye-catching lines and they come in 8 different vibrant colors.  The design teams worked hard on both the aesthetics of the tools and the performance.  The Savora garlic press is designed to crush up to 5 cloves of garlic at once.  The mechanism is strong and makes pressing the garlic easy.  Not only that, the garlic press comes apart with just a twist of the top so that clean up is a breeze.  I will definitely be using my garlic press from now on.  It is especially good for recipes that call for lots of garlic or in salads like this one where you want the garlic to blend easily into the other ingredients.  You can find out more about the Savora line on Facebook, Pinterest, or

This is such a pretty salad.  Ina says to use Italian tuna, but my humble grocery store only has the usual brands.  So I chose a light tuna packed in olive oil.  It worked just fine.  We loved this salad.  It can be eaten hot or cold.  It is packed with flavor too.  I just happened to watch The Food Network Barefoot Contessa program this week and Ina made this for Jeffery.  They were renting a house in Napa Valley and they dined on the couscous salad in their garden.  Ah, to be in Napa Valley dining amongst the vineyards.  No matter, we loved it right here at home.  It will be a regular from now on.



2 cups Israeli couscous (10 to 12 ounces)
2 (7-ounce) cans or jars Italian tuna, drained and flaked
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest (2 lemons)
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 cup good olive oil
3 tablespoons capers, drained
1/2 cup pitted, oil-cured black olives, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup jarred roasted red peppers, medium-diced
2 teaspoons minced garlic (2 cloves)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup chopped scallions (6 to 8 scallions)
1/4 cup julienned fresh basil leaves, lightly packed
Juice of 1/2 lemon

Bring 4 cups of water to a boil in a medium-sized saucepan.  Add the couscous and reduce the heat to very low.  Cover the pot and simmer for 12 to 15 minutes, until the couscous is just tender.  Drain in a colander.

Meanwhile, combine the tuna, lemon zest, lemon juice, olive oil, capers, olives, red peppers, garlic, 1 tablespoon salt, and 1 1/2 teaspoons black pepper in a large bowl.  Pour the hot couscous into the mixture and stir well.  Cover and set aside for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Just before servine, stir in the scallions, basil, juice of the 1/2 lemon, and 1 more teaspoon of salt.  Taste for seasonings and serve warm or at room temperature.

Printable recipe

11 responses to “Israeli Couscous and Tuna Salad”

  1. Susan says:

    Penny, we love Israeli couscous and this recipe looks delicious. We usually chop and smash our garlic on a board. Have an old garlic press that is not used much anymore because too difficult to clean. I am curious about this one, especially if you had press 5 at a time. Love my garlic…..

    • Penny says:

      Susan, haven’t tried 5 at a time yet, but the press is so strong I am sure it would be possible. It is a trade off for cleaning as far as am considered. Either clean your knife and board or clean the press, which is very easy to do. I am still torn between my chop and smash on a board and this new way with a really nice press. There may be room for both.P

  2. Susan says:

    Israeli cousous is a new favorite of mine! What a wonderful recipe – a must try.

  3. Gaby says:

    Ina Garten’s name came up in a conversation not long ago, and my husband piped up, “Ugh, I can’t stand her!” And everyone was shocked b/c we all think she’s great. So after pushing for an explanation (b/c how can you REALLY hate Ina?!) my husband finally told me, “Actually, I just envy her husband, Jeffrey!” ha. I guess I have to take that as a hint?! Definitely will try this recipe…think I have all the ingredients already.

  4. Sam Hoffer says:

    I too saw this on her Napa Valley show. I’m so glad you’ve taste tested it for us. Sounds wonderful and so does the garlic press. Mine is a zillion years old and hasn’t been used in years. Pretty bowl by the way.

  5. Bonnie says:

    I also saw this show and thought the salad looked delicious. I’ll really have to consider trying it now after your endorsement. Your Photos are beautiful. You look like a professional food stylist.

  6. Lea Ann says:

    I think my Whole Foods has Italian Tuna. I’ll have to look next time. Well where do I start with this? Love the bowl, the spoon, the photos, and that salad.

  7. Hannah says:

    This looks so delicious, Penny! I gave Ina’s new cookbook to my mother-in-law over the holidays, but first read through it and discovered so many tempting dishes. Love all the flavors in this one! And your photos are lovely. What a gorgeous spoon and bowl!

  8. Katie says:

    Here I buy it as Portuguese couscous…. In the international food section. Love your garlic press!

  9. Cathy at Wives with Knives says:

    This has become one of my favorite salads, too. I love the large couscous, called pearl couscous at my market. This salad makes the best leftovers the next day because all the yummy flavors blend together so well. Great photos, Penny.

  10. […] Our lunch included Ina Garen’s Couscous and Tuna Salad.  You can find the recipe here. […]

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