This salad does not hold back on herbs and spice. Handfuls of your favorite garden herbs, and a shake of the contents of your spice drawer, build welcome layers of flavor and freshness into this bright and festive couscous platter. Israeli couscous (also known as pearl couscous) is made of wheat flour and semolina, which is rolled into tiny “pearl” balls and then toasted. The dried couscous, once purchased, is simmered in a liquid to soften. I like to toast the dried couscous in the pan with a little olive oil first, before adding the liquid to simmer, which essentially means the couscous is doubly toasted. This extra step adds a satisfying nutty flavor and golden color to the sturdy little semolina balls.
Though you can call this salad a hearty side dish, it also makes a delicious vegetarian main course. If desired, add crumbled feta or goat cheese to the salad for extra protein. When choosing the carrots, make sure they are of uniform size to ensure similar cooking time. If necessary, cut thicker carrots in half lengthwise.