This fresh and herby vegan couscous salad is packed with summertime flavor from wholesome plant-based ingredients. Adding roasty spiced chickpeas takes the taste to a new level. Whip up a batch for a satisfying and healthy meal or side dish and make those tastebuds dance!
Why I Love This Recipe
This couscous salad recipe is ideal for fueling your summer. It’s refreshing, light, herby, and packed with plenty of filling fiber and protein from plants. This makes it a great fit for vegans and vegetarians, but it’s also filling enough to please omnivores.
You can make this an entree salad for lunch or dinner, but it’s alao a great side dish if it is split into smaller portions. Enjoy it as a make-ahead meal or take it to your next picnic!
This recipe is packed with plant-based goodness from fresh vegetables, herbs, and high-fiber chickpeas. You’ll be pleasantly surprised to know that the couscous also has health benefits!
What is couscous, anyway?
Although it looks like a grain, couscous is actually a form of pasta. It’s made by grinding wheat or barley. Traditionally, this process was done by hand, but the couscous you buy in the store is made by machines.
Despite all the fear-mongering you’ve probably heard about processed grains like pasta, they have nutrition benefits, too! Couscous contains some fiber (especially if you can find a whole grain couscous) and other anti-inflammatory nutrients like selenium.
Couscous is an important dish in North Africa and the Middle East. There are three main types of couscous: Lebanese couscous (largest grains), Israeli couscous (also called pearl couscous, which is what I used in this recipe), and Moroccan couscous (smallest grains).
Any type of couscous would work great in this recipe!
Looking for some authentic couscous recipes? Check these out:
- Moroccan Couscous with Seven Vegetables from Taste of Maroc
- Middle Eastern Couscous Recipe from The Spruce Eats
- Moghrabieh (a delicious Lebanese stew) from Simply Lebanese
For the full recipe with ingredient amounts and detailed steps, be sure to scroll down to the recipe card!
- Canned chickpeas (You can also use dried–see the ‘Recipe Modifications’ section.)
- Olive oil
- Spices (Salt, pepper, and paprika will do!)
- Pearl couscous (You can also use other types of couscous–see the ‘Recipe Modifications’ section.)
- Mixed greens (Spinach, arugula, lettuce… whatever you prefer.)
- Cherry tomatoes
- Fresh herbs (I used mint and parsley.)
- Vegan feta (If you’re a vegetarian or omnivore, you can also use regular feta.)
- Lemon (Essential for any refreshing summer dish!)
You can roast chickpeas using an air fryer or oven! Just coat with a bit of olive oil and spices, then bake until crispy.
Want more roasted chickpea tips? Check out my Crispy Chickpea recipe.
Your package of couscous will most likely come with cooking instructions, but if it doesn’t, here are the basics:
- Bring 1.5 cups of water to a boil
- Stir in 1 cup dry pearl couscous and cover with a lid. Turn the heat to low and simmer for about 8-10 minutes until tender.
- To ensure the couscous doesn’t clump together, you can rinse it before adding it to your salad.
If you’re using a different type of couscous (like Lebanese or Moroccan) these instructions may vary.
Once your chickpeas and couscous are cooked, layer the rest of your ingredients in a large bowl. Use olive oil and lemon as your dressing, and toss to coat!
For some extra pizzazz, reserve a bit of each ingredient to top each plate of salad. (Who wouldn’t mind a few extra crumbled of vegan feta and toasty chickpeas?)
- Not a fan of mint? This recipe tastes lovely with just parsley as well
- Use salad dressing – Instead of lemon and olive oil, you can also use a light vinaigrette or Greek dressing.
- Add a different protein – White beans, tempeh, tofu, grilled chicken, or shredded chicken would all work if you’re not a fan of chickpeas.
- Lower-carb version – Use half the amount of chickpeas and couscous.
- Use dry chickpeas – Substitute in just under 4 cups of dried chickpeas for canned. Here are some dry chickpea prep tips.
- Use a different type of couscous – Moroccan or Lebanese couscous will also work!
- Time-saving version – Use Moroccan couscous and add plain (not roasted) chickpeas dressed with olive oil and spices.
Fresh + Herby Vegan Couscous Salad
- 4 cups canned chickpeas (two 15.5 oz cans)
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp pepper
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1 cup pearl couscous (dry)
- 10 cups mixed greens
- 2 cups cherry tomatoes (sliced lengthwise)
- 1 large cucumber (sliced)
- ½ cup fresh mint (chopped)
- ½ cup fresh parsley (chopped)
- ½ cup vegan feta
- 1 medium lemon (juiced)
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- Preheat an oven or air fryer to 400F. Drain, rinse, and dry chickpeas, then add to a sheet pan or air fryer basket. Drizzle with 1 tsp olive oil, then add salt, pepper, and paprika and toss to coat. Bake or air fry for 15 minutes, shaking every 5 minutes.
- Meanwhile, cook the couscous according to the package instructions. (I would also recommend rinsing your couscous after cooking to cool it and prevent it from clumping.)
- While the chickpeas and couscous are cooking, wash and chop your veggies and herbs if you haven't already.
- Assemble your salad! In a large bowl, add mixed greens, tomatoes, cucumber, fresh mint, fresh parsley, vegan feta, cooked couscous, and spiced chickpeas. Drizzle with 3 tbsp olive oil and lemon juice, then toss and serve.
- Please note that nutrition facts are an estimate and can vary widely based on amounts and specific types used.