Last Updated on March 30, 2022 by Chenée Lewis
This bright vegan couscous salad with chickpeas, charred corn, and lots of fresh veggies! This vegan couscous bowl is one of the best easy vegan couscous recipes! If you like this salad, try my Vegan White Bean Dip with Lemon and Pistachios, my Peanut Noodle Salad, and my Vegan Coconut Cake!
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Vegan Couscous Salad with Chickpeas
Once the weather warms up, it's time for all those fantastic summertime cookouts and picnics! And just as important as the grilled main dishes are the side dishes! So If you're looking for the perfect, easy side dish that everyone at your barbecue will love, look no further! This vegan couscous salad is so easy to make and full of summer veggies and bright flavors. And it's completely vegan, so anyone avoiding dairy, eggs, or meat will love it --but trust me when I say that non-vegans will love it too! It's so good, it might outshine the main dish! And so filling, it could serve as its own main dish!
What is couscous?
Couscous is a very small, rounded pasta made of durum or semolina wheat. Much of the couscous available around the world (and the kind we're using in this vegan couscous bowl) is Moroccan-style couscous, named for where it originated in North Africa hundreds of years ago.
Is couscous good for vegan diets?
So is couscous plant-based food? Yes, it sure is! Because it's a shape of pasta, its ingredients are typically wheat and water. So it's a perfect staple food for all types of diets, including vegans and vegetarians! In this vegan couscous recipe, we're adding lots of fresh veggies and a light vinaigrette to our couscous, so this dish is completely vegan- and vegetarian-friendly!
Vegan Couscous Salad Ingredients
- couscous - you'll need to measure out a cup of uncooked instant couscous to cook before starting this salad. Don't worry -- it cooks in just 5 minutes!
- vegetable broth - adds so much flavor to this vegan couscous salad! If you don't have vegetable broth, you can also just use water.
- extra-virgin olive oil - we'll be using olive oil both to cook our couscous and in our easy chili-lime vinaigrette. I like to use La Tourangelle for this vegan couscous salad because it adds a nice bright flavor.
- lime juice - you'll need the juice of about two limes for this salad. If you like even more bright lime flavor, you can add a bit of lime zest as well.
- dijon mustard - in this vegan couscous salad, dijon mustard adds a boost of tangy flavor, and acts as a natural emulsifier -- that is, it helps to bind the oil and lime juice together when mixed.
- ground cumin - I love the flavor of cumin with lime, and I think it goes so well in this vinaigrette and adds a nice dimension of flavor to the whole salad.
- chili powder - adds a nice bit of spice!
- maple syrup - we'll use maple syrup to add a bit of sweetness to our vinaigrette. If you don't have maple syrup, you can add sugar, but it may take a little more time to dissolve.
- canned chickpeas - be sure to rinse and drain your chickpeas well before adding them to this vegan couscous salad.
- fresh sweet corn - I definitely recommend using fresh ears of sweet corn, but if you can't find any fresh corn, then frozen kernels of sweet corn work too.
- seedless cucumber - I chopped 3 seedless baby cucumber, but you can use part of a larger seedless cucumber too.
- red bell pepper - adds a great crunch and so much flavor!
- tomatoes - you'll want to use either grape or small cherry tomatoes for this vegan couscous salad recipe. I used a medley of both.
- red onion - I love the bold flavor red onion adds to salads!
- green onion - a must! It may seem excessive to use two types of onions, but green onions offer a more mellow flavor that is so great in this salad!
- cilantro - adds the perfect element of flavor and freshness to this vegan couscous salad. If you're as big a fan of cilantro as I am, feel free to add a bit extra!
Since this vegan couscous salad is mostly just chopping ingredients and adding them, you won't need any special tools. You may want a whisk to whip up your chili-lime vinaigrette, a covered saucepan to make your couscous, and utensils to toss it all together. I also recommend a cast-iron skillet or a grill to char your sweet corn.
Tips and F.A.Q.
This vegan couscous salad serves 6, which means that you'll need about 3 tablespoons of dry couscous per person, for a total of one dry cup.
Couscous is a staple with a fairly neutral flavor, so any of your favorite veggies work well with it! As a traditionally mediterranean food, it's often found with tomatoes, olives, onions, garlic, citrus, and herbs. In this vegan couscous salad, we're adding charred corn, which adds a smoky sweetness to balance out its acidic flavors.
According to Web MD, couscous is a good source of fiber, which can help lower cholesterol and reduce your risk of heart disease. If you're interested in couscous as part of a heart-healthy diet, be sure to check with your health care provider see how it can fit in.
You can add a kick to this vegan couscous salad with a pinch or two of red pepper flakes, or you can increase the amount of chili powder included in the recipe.
This salad lasts for up to 4 days in the refrigerator. If needed, add a bit more lime juice and olive oil before serving if your couscous salad has dried out a bit.
If you try this recipe, I would love it if you could leave a rating and comment below! It’s so wonderful hearing your feedback! And don’t forget to share your creations with me by tagging @chenee_today on Instagram!
More Vegan Recipes You'll Love
- Vegan Pineapple Upside Down Cake
- Sweet Potato Patties with Chickpeas and Creamy Avocado Sauce
- Vegan Olive Oil Cake with Lemon and Pistachio
- Almond Lemon Cookies
Equipment you may need
- 3-quart saucepan with lid
- 1 cup (173 g) uncooked couscous - standard variety
- 1 ⅓ cup (313 g) vegetable broth - or vegetable stock
- 5 tablespoon (74 ml) extra-virgin olive oil - divided
- 3 ears fresh sweet corn
- ¼ cup (61 g) lime juice - freshly squeezed
- 1 tablespoon (15 ml) dijon mustard
- ½ teaspoon (2 ml) ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon (2 ml) chili powder
- 1 tablespoon (15 ml) maple syrup
- ⅔ cup (109 g) canned chickpeas - drained
- ½ cup (67 g) chopped seedless cucumbers
- ½ cup (75 g) chopped red bell pepper
- 1 cup (149 g) grape tomatoes - halved
- ⅓ cup (53 g) chopped red onion
- ⅓ cup (33 g) chopped green onion
- 3 tablespoon (44 ml) chopped cilantro leaves
- salt and pepper - to taste
- Heat vegetable broth and one tablespoon of olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil.1 ⅓ cup vegetable broth, 5 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- Once broth is boiling, remove from heat and stir in couscous. Cover and let sit for 5 minutes, then remove cover and fluff couscous. Set aside.1 cup uncooked couscous
- Heat a cast-iron skillet or sauté pan over high heat. Once hot, add corn kernels cut off the cob and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly charred. Remove corn from pan and let cool.3 ears fresh sweet corn
- In a large bowl, whisk together lime juice, remaining ¼ cup of olive oil, dijon mustard, maple syrup, cumin, and chili powder.5 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, ¼ cup lime juice, 1 tablespoon dijon mustard, ½ teaspoon ground cumin, 1 tablespoon maple syrup, ½ teaspoon chili powder
- Add charred corn, couscous, and all remaining ingredients to bowl and toss to coat with the vinaigrette. Season to taste with salt and peppper. Serve immediately or store in refrigerator up to 4 hours.⅔ cup canned chickpeas, ½ cup chopped seedless cucumbers, ½ cup chopped red bell pepper, ⅓ cup chopped red onion, ⅓ cup chopped green onion, 3 tablespoon chopped cilantro leaves, 1 cup grape tomatoes
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