Couscous Tuna Niçoise

Total Time
39 min
19 min
20 min
The aromatic oils in lemon zest give so much flavor to this salad and enhances the briny zing from the olives and capers. The zest of the lemon is the thin outermost yellow layer of the skin (without any of the bitter white part underneath). To remove the zest, rub the whole lemon against the fine side of a grater until the zest is grated away. You can get 1 to 2 teaspoons of grated lemon zest from 1 lemon. We’ve used goat cheese in this recipe, but you could substitute crumbled feta cheese if you’d like. Its flavor will just be a little more assertive.



2¼ cup(s)

Uncooked Israeli couscous

5 oz

Uncooked red onion(s)

1 medium, diced


12 medium, kalamata, pitted and chopped


½ cup(s), fresh, chopped


2 Tbsp, drained and rinsed

Lemon zest

3 tsp, grated

Fresh lemon juice

2 Tbsp

Olive oil

1 Tbsp, extra-virgin

Dijon mustard

1 tsp

Table salt

¼ tsp

Canned chunk white tuna in water

12 oz, drained

Fresh cherry tomato(es)

1 cup(s), halved

Hard-type goat cheese

2 oz, reduced-fat, crumbled


  1. Bring the water to a boil in a medium saucepan; add the couscous. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, until most of the liquid is absorbed and the couscous is tender, about 15 minutes. Drain; run the couscous under cold running water and drain well. Transfer the couscous to a large bowl.
  2. Add the onion, olives, basil, capers, lemon zest, lemon juice, oil, mustard, and salt to the couscous; toss well to combine.
  3. Break the tuna into large chunks. Add the tuna and tomatoes to the couscous mixture and toss gently to combine. Sprinkle the salad with the goat cheese and serve at once. Yields 1 1/4 cups per serving.


Couscous comes in a variety of sizes—fine, medium, and large pearls that resemble tapioca. The largest size, often referred to as Israeli couscous or Mediterranean couscous, is packaged in boxes of about 5 ounces. If you buy a brand that has a flavor packet inside, don’t use the seasonings to make this recipe. Use orzo or quick-cooking barley if you can’t find Israeli couscous.