It’s time for another Recipe Redux! This month’s theme: Start Smoking in the New Year. I’ll admit I did giggle a little before reading the description of the theme. But no fear– this month’s theme is all about using smoke and spiciness in our foods!

The New Year is heating up with smoke and spiciness. From boldly flavored smoked salts to actual smoking techniques, subtly smoked food is on-trend. The same can be said for spice as we savor heat from harissa, sriracha and smoked paprika. Show us the healthy dish you’re heating up with smoke and/or spiciness.

Israeli Couscous Salad with Smoked Paprika & Salmon 6

My mom has a knack for finding really, really good recipes on the internet. She’s the one who first introduced me to famous foodies such as The Pioneer Woman and Giada De Laurentiis. My recipe today comes from the latter– Giada’s Israeli Couscous Salad with Smoked Paprika. Whenever my mom would make this dish, you could pretty much guarantee that there wouldn’t be any leftovers the next day.

Giada’s version is packed with tomatoes, peppers, spinach, feta cheese, toasted almonds, and a delicious olive oil dressing. The original recipe calls for 1/3 cup of olive oil which = high calorie dressing. I wanted to remake this old favorite with a few lighter substitutions.

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Israeli Couscous Salad with Smoked Paprika & Salmon 1

The first change I made was to reduce the amount of dressing the recipe calls for and scale down the recipe size for four servings. I used 1/8 cup of olive oil and nixed the cherry tomatoes in favor of more roasted red bell peppers. Have I mentioned that I am obsessed with the roasted red bell peppers that come in the jar? I had no idea about these until recently and totally didn’t know how healthy they were– low in sodium and no additives! And I’ve been slaving away roasting my own peppers in the oven for years!

I also switched the cheese to fresh mozzarella for a soft bite and I didn’t toast the almond slivers. A salmon filet adds a tasty source of heart healthy fats and extra protein!

Israeli Couscous Salad with Smoked Paprika & Salmon
Serves 4
Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
45 min
Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
45 min
  1. 1/8 cup extra virgin olive oil
  2. 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  3. 1 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  4. 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  5. 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
  1. 2 small salmon filets
  1. 2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
  2. 1 cup Israeli couscous
  3. 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  4. 2 cups packed baby spinach, chopped
  5. 1 small jar roasted red bell pepper, chopped (about 1 1/4 cups)
  6. 4oz fresh mozzarella, diced
  7. 1/4 cup flat leaf parsley, chopped
  8. 1/4 cup slivered almonds
  9. 1/8 tsp dried mint
  10. kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  1. For the dressing: whisk together the oil, vinegar, paprika, salt and pepper.
  2. For the salmon: Lightly brush a little of the dressing onto the top of the salmon. Place on a foiled baking sheet and broil for 5-7 minutes until the salmon is flaky.
  3. For the couscous: Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the couscous. Cook, stirring frequently, until couscous is golden, about 4 minutes.
  4. Add 1 3/4 cup water and the salt and bring to a boil. Reduce to low and cover/simmer until the couscous is tender and the liquid is absorbed, about 12-13 minutes. Set aside to cool.
  5. In a large bowl, combine together the spinach, cheese, peppers, parsley, almonds and mint. Add the couscous and dressing. Toss until coated.
  6. Serve warm alongside the salmon or refrigerate and serve as a cold pasta salad!
  1. You could flake the salmon and mix into the salad as well!
Adapted from Giada De Laurentiis
Zen & Spice
Be sure to check out the other spicy recipes this month!

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  1. That dressing sounds superb!

    1. It’s really delicious! I love olive oil/paprika/vinegar combos.

  2. Yum! This sounds so light and satisfying. I absolutely love salmon and couscous.

    1. They’re a great combination!

  3. Mmm…that couscous looks delish! I love roasted peppers too and never slave away making them myself – why bother when they’re so good already in the jar?!

    1. Haha yay I’m glad we’re on the same page! :)

  4. Beautiful and the perfect addition to any entree!

    1. Thanks! Glad you stopped by!

  5. This looks great! I like Israeli couscous so much better than the regular kind.

    1. I love both kinds, but love Israeli couscous better for pasta salads! So good!

  6. This salad sounds delicious! Love how vibrant it is. I’ve never actually tried Israeli couscous before so it might be time!

  7. […] recipe originally appeared on Zen & Spice and is owned and used with permission from Emily Hein.  Emily Hein, RDN, LD Hello! […]

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