This Mediterranean vegan couscous salad is super refreshing, easily customizable and takes only 10 minutes to prepare.
This vegan couscous salad recipe makes a great side dish but can also be enjoyed as a light main dish. It's packed with veggies, plant-based protein and fiber.
Why You'll Love This Recipe
- It's a super simple dish that comes together in couple of minutes.
- It includes a big variety of fresh vegetables and healthy fats.
- It's great for meal prep- because couscous doesn't soak up all the dressing as heavily as quinoa.
What is couscous?
Couscous is a popular side dish in Northern African and Middle Eastern Cuisine. It's a small pasta usually made of semolina and durum wheat flour. When it's cooked, it forms little, fluffy balls and can be enjoyed in a great variety of recipes.
There are different types of couscous out there. They mainly vary in size and cooking time:
- Moroccan Couscous: The smallest one. Cooks in minutes and is the one used in this recipe.
- Pearl Couscous (also called Israeli couscous): Is bigger in size and takes longer to cook.
- Lebanese Couscous: Even a little bit bigger in size than peal couscous.
Is couscous vegan?
Yes, couscous is vegan and therefore suited for anyone on a vegan diet.
Ingredients & Substitution Notes
- Couscous: This recipe uses Moroccan couscous (the smallest one) but you can also use pearl couscous. Couscous should be available in most grocery stores. In order to make this recipe gluten-free, sub quinoa or any other gluten-free grain.
- Onion: I prefer red onion in this salad but feel free to use white onion or leave it out completely for an onion-free salad.
- Red Bell Pepper: Adds some nice sweetness and crunchy texture, could be replaced with yellow bell pepper.
- Chickpeas (Garbanzo Beans): They are a good source of protein and make this couscous salad more filling. Could be replaced with other legumes such as white beans.
- Green Onion: Could be replaced by scallion.
- Black Olives: We prefer using kalamata olives but feel free to use green olives instead.
- Vegetable Broth: Store-bought or homemade both work fine.
- Fresh Lemon Juice: Can be replaced with fresh lime juice.
- Maple Syrup: To balance out the tangy lemon flavors
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil
See recipe card for quantities.
How to make vegan couscous salad
STEP 1: Cook couscous. Bring vegetable stock to a simmer. Add dried couscous, stir well and set aside.
Once the couscous is cooked, fluff it with a fork or whisk.
Step 2: Make the salad dressing. Add all of the vinaigrette ingredients to a small bowl or jar with a lid.
Give the dressing a good shake or whisk until well combined.
Step 3: Toss together. Chop all of the veggies into bite-sized pieces. Add cooked couscous and all the veggies to a large bowl.
Add the vinaigrette and give it a good stir. Serve with fresh herbs on top (optional).
- Cucumber: Remove the cucumber seeds. That way the salad will have a crunchier and less watery texture.
- Gluten-Free: There are gluten-free couscous options out there but I would recommend using any gluten-free alternative instead such as quinoa.
- Other Veggies: this salad is super customizable. Feel free to add more veggies of choice such as cherry tomatoes, sweet corn or other.
- Leafy Greens: Add a handful of baby spinach for some more nutrients.
- Feta: Add some vegan feta cheese for some extra flavours.
- Nuts: We like adding a handful of nuts such as walnuts or pine nuts.
- Festive Flavors: We've also served this as a Thanksgiving appetizer by adding a handful of pomegranates and sliced apples.
- Main Dish: This Mediterranian couscous salad makes a scrumptious light dish, especially during the hot summer months. You could
- Side Dish: It also makes a great side dish alongside some lighter main dishes.
Store any leftover salad in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 days.
Meal Prep Options
This couscous salad is meal prep friendly. Make a big batch the evening before and take it with you as a healthy lunch option. Store the dressing in a separate container and add just before serving.
This recipe uses Moroccan couscous (the smallest one) but feel free to use pearl couscous. You can read more about the different types of couscous here.
No, couscous is made from semolina and wheat flour and therefore not gluten-free.
Other types of grains that taste great in salad recipes are quinoa, bulgur, millet or short grain rice.
When using traditional Moroccan couscous (the small type) then it's usually cooked simply by adding boiling water. The couscous will absorb that water and you'll end up with a cooked, fluffy couscous. To add more flavor, the recipe below calls for vegetable broth instead of only hot water.
More salad recipes
Vegan Couscous Salad (10 Minutes)
- ⅓ cup couscous
- ⅓ cup vegetable broth
- 1 red bell pepper
- ½ cucumber
- 1 green onion
- ⅓ red onion
- 1 can (14oz/ 400g) chickpeas
- handful of black olives
- juice of 1 fresh lemon
- 4 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- Italian mixed herbs
- salt to taste
- Add veggie broth to a saucepan and bring to a simmer. Add dried couscous, give it a good stir and set aside.
- Put all of the dressing ingredients into a jar with a lid. Firmly close the lid and give it a good shake or stir with a whisk.
- Give veggies a good wash. Then chop bell pepper and cucumber (seeds removed) into bite-sized pieces.
- Finely chop green onion, red onion and black olives.
- Add all of the ingredients to a big salad bowl. Add the dressing and serve right away.