Couscous Salad with Shrimp

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This Couscous Salad is made with shrimp and makes a yummy lunch or dinner. Inspired by Paella, a Spanish rice dish!

Warm Paella Couscous Salad with Shrimp

When I was in Sophomore year in college, I moved into an apartment that offered cable. That’s right my friends. 62 channels of pure unadulterated bliss! Growing up with bunny ears and 5 fuzzy channels makes a girl appreciate the good things in life.

So, thus started my addiction to Food Network, HGTV and Bravo. {Which reminds me–don’t forget to tune into Around the World in 80 Plates this Wednesday at 10/9c on BRAVO.}

I couldn’t get enough of Barefoot Contessa, Throwdown with Bobby Flay or Paula’s Party…which explains my low GPA for the term. Oops.

Anyways, whenever the Throwdowns were on, I always cheered for the people going up against Bobby Flay. I don’t know why. I just don’t like Bobbly Flay all that much. Maybe he’s different in person? {Bobby, if you’re reading this, I’m sure you’re super nice and I’d love to meet you. Seriously.} Anyways, one Throwdown, they were making Paella. Ever since then I’ve been intrigued with the cool pans, the ingredients, the flavors, the colors, etc. It’s just all very fascinatingly Spanish to me.

Yes, I realize that last sentence didn’t make sense.

Moving on…..

Well, the time finally has come for me to make Paella. Technically this is a big ol’ spoof off of Paella because I used couscous, called this a ‘warm salad’ and left out the sausage and chicken, but it’s my take on it so you all can just take a breath and deal.

This is the super simple lazy mom version that looks pretty and tastes great. I wish I would have added some sausage to this for even more flavor and more protein {since my daughter literally picked out all the shrimp leaving me NONE}, but other then that this made a great meal 🙂 Here’s how you do it:

Onions in a pan

Start by sauteing some onions and garlic in some butter. Let it be known that I love butter.


After the onions are soft, pour in some Israeli couscous and stir it around.

Couscous with onions

After another minute or two, the couscous should start to brown lightly.

Adding broth

Pour in a little chicken broth,


oregano, saffron, salt and pepper. Bring the mixture to boil and reduce to simmer. Cover and cook 15 minutes or so. I thought saffron was uber expensive, but I got this little jar for $5.99 at Trader Joes. Steal of a deal, I tell ya!

Frozen peas

Once the couscous has soaked up all the liquid, add in some peas.

Warm Paella Couscous Salad

2 minutes later and the peas are warm too. 🙂 I love peas. They’re such happy little fellows…

Adding tomatoes and cilantro to couscous

Add in some tomatoes and parsley and that’s it! Cover and set side to stay warm.

Garlic in a pan with butter

Moving onto my shrimpy friends….smash a few garlic cloves and cook in some butter and olive oil.

Raw shrimp

Find a few of these bad boys and salt and pepper them. Try to find shrimp that are fresh and that smell like the sea….aka no fishy smell whatsoever. I got these little critters at whole foods.

Cooking shrimp

Add the shrimp to the hot pan and cook 3-ish minutes or so until they turn pink and opaque.

Squeezing a lemon

Squeeze in some lemon juice and add in some parsley and that’s it!

Cooked shrimp with lemon slices

I don’t know about you, but give me some baguette and I could eat this whole pan by itself. I heart shrimp.

Warm Paella Couscous Salad with Shrimp

Spoon some paella couscous into a bowl and add your shrimp. Serve it up and dive on in!

We thoroughly enjoyed this dish. Feel free to add in some sausage and/or chicken in too. That would make this totally stellar!

Here’s the printable:

Warm Paella Couscous Salad with Shrimp
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Couscous Salad with Shrimp

This Couscous Salad is made with shrimp and makes a yummy lunch or dinner. Inspired by Paella, a Spanish rice dish!
servings 4 servings
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes


  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup diced onion
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 1/2 cups Israeli Couscous
  • 1 3/4 cup chicken stock
  • 1/4 teaspoon oregano
  • big pinch saffron
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 1 cup fresh tomato diced
  • 2/3 cup frozen peas
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley

for the shrimp-

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic smashed
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 1 lb peeled and deveined shrimp any size
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1/2 tablespoon chopped parsley


  • Melt butter in large pot over medium heat. Saute onions and garlic until softened, 3 minutes. Stir in couscous and cook until it starts to brown lightly.
  • Pour in chicken stock, saffron, oregano, salt and pepper. Bring to boil. Reduce to simmer and cover with lid. Couscous should be cooked completely after 15-20 minutes. Remove from heat and fluff with fork. {All chicken stock should be absorbed.} Stir in peas, diced tomatoes and parsley. Set aside.

For the shrimp-

  • Heat garlic in butter and olive oil in skillet over medium heat until fragrant. Sprinkle shrimp with salt and pepper. Pour shrimp into hot pan and stir for about 3 minutes or until all shrimp are pink and opaque. Remove from heat and pour in lemon juice and parsley.
  • To serve, spoon couscous into a bowl and top with shrimp.


Feel free to add in chicken and sausage to this recipe as well. In traditional Paella, these items are common. I didn't add them in because I didn't have them on hand.


Calories: 548kcal | Carbohydrates: 64g | Protein: 36g | Fat: 15g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Cholesterol: 311mg | Sodium: 1119mg | Potassium: 533mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 968IU | Vitamin C: 27mg | Calcium: 211mg | Iron: 4mg
Course: Salad
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: Couscous Salad

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28 Responses
  1. Diana

    I stumbled across this recipe on Pinterest while searching for Israeli Couscous recipes. I made your recipe tonight and it was EXCELLENT. The saffron made it addicting. Everyone loved it! Thank you!

  2. T.J. Thering

    Awesome idea! I’ve been wanting to make Paella for a long time now, and this looks like a good recipe to start with.

  3. katie

    Ahhh I love you so much–you crack me up. I grew up with cable but when I got to college I had to sacrifice the finer things in life and cable was one of them, so once I had enough money on a monthly basis to afford cable it was back in my life!
    I love your version of the paella couscous. I think I might just be able to get my husband to eat couscous with this dish!

  4. Chung-Ah | Damn Delicious

    What a fun dish. I’ve never had paella before but I’ve always wanted to try it since I saw Bobby Flay make a huge pot on Boy Meets Grill. Will have to try this soon!

  5. marla

    Lauren, this is such an inventive way to use cous cous. I love paella and have not had it in quite some time. Need to change that!

  6. New Series: Kitchen Equations « Little Moments of Happiness

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  7. Katie

    Haha I ALWAYS root against Bobby Flay! It seems, I don’t know, maybe a bit disrespectful that he just waltzes into a restaurant and claims he can make a better version of some mom-and-pop recipe. Anyways, I love that couscous salad! What a perfect summer dish.

  8. Mandy

    Lauren I love your blog! The recipes are delicious and the pictures beautiful!! Can’t wait to try this Shrimp and Couscous Salad!!

  9. Georgia @ The Comfort of Cooking

    I’m so anxious to try paella, but my strictness on myself to do it “the traditional way” is stopping me. Thanks for reminding me that it doesn’t have to be by the book! Your variation looks DELICIOUS! Thanks for sharing, Lauren. Also, I’m having a ChicWrap giveaway today that you should enter!

  10. Julie @ Table for Two

    I love your rendition of paella with couscous 🙂 it’s such a great and versatile grain! Oh, the days of sitting on the couch and watching FN for hours..sigh, I want to do that on a crappy rainy day like today.

  11. Gina @ Running to the Kitchen

    Love this. I spent my junior year abroad in Spain and love paella after that. At first all the shrimp tentacles, the octopus and other weird foodstuffs the Spanish throw in there freaked me out but now that I’m home, I realize I can get all the flavor of paella without the weird stuff (and huge paella specific pan). This is perfect 🙂

  12. Anna @ hiddenponies

    I would LOVE to see you in a throwdown with Bobby Flay…I like him, but when I try to type “Bobby” I always have to go back and correct for “Booby”, and that’s an issue, so I’d definitely be rooting for you 🙂

  13. Robyn Stone | Add a Pinch

    I love paella and this one looks perfect, Lauren. You’ve encouraged me to get out my paella pan and get busy!