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This light and refreshing salad is made of chewy couscous, roasted squashes, and colorful fresh vegetables tossed in tangy balsamic vinaigrette dressing. You can enjoy this fiber-rich and vitamin-loaded salad as a light meal or served alongside grilled or fried mains. It is easy to make ahead for meal prepping and is also ready in just 30 minutes!

completed Couscous Salad with Fresh Vegetables against a white background

Couscous is made of semolina wheat steamed and rolled into tiny granules. It is chewy yet firm when cooked and has a fairly neutral flavor. This makes it the perfect salad base because you can build up the flavors by adding veggies, herbs, spices, and dressings. It is rich in fiber, and minerals and is also a great source of plant protein.

This couscous salad recipe is made with pearl couscous, a handful of garden vegetables, and bold and zesty dressing. You can also use other vegetables that you have in your chiller or bulk it up with more proteins like tofu, air-fired chickpeas, or baked beans.

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A Simple and Flavorful Salad

This salad is simple enough to make and enjoy with your daily meal but will also make you proud in any special gathering! We just love the combination of fluffy couscous, crisp bell peppers and cucumber and roasted zucchini, and summer squash. For the dressing, we used Avocado Oil Classic Balsamic Vinaigrette by BRIANNAS Fine Salad Dressings and it was an absolute winner!

Their classic vinaigrette is made of 100% avocado oil mixed with balsamic vinegar of Modena, herbs, and spices. The impeccable mix of tangy and herby was exactly what this salad needed! It is also vegan, gluten-free, and keto-friendly with low sodium and sugar content. Perfect for salads or marinades!

Ingredients You’ll Need and Substitutions

A quick trip to your local farmer’s market or backyard garden will get you everything you need to make this delicious salad!

ingredients for Couscous Salad with Fresh Vegetables measured out against a white surface
  • Olive oil
  • Couscous – You can use either regular or whole wheat pearl for this salad recipe.
  • Vegetable broth – This infuses a lot of flavor to the couscous so we prefer it versus boiling it in plain water. Use a low-sodium brand if preferred. You can also use vegetable bouillon powder/cubes dissolved in water.
  • Vegetables – You will be needing zucchini, summer squash, red bell pepper, cucumber, red onion, and cherry tomatoes. Other vegetables that you can use are olives, eggplants, chickpeas, beans, corn, asparagus, snow peas, etc.
  • Avocado Oil Classic Balsamic Vinaigrette – This is available in supermarkets like Target, Walmart, and Whole Foods. Use Brianna’s store locator to find the nearest one in your location.
  • Lemon – Soaking the onions in fresh lemon juice intensifies its flavor. This also adds a zesty taste to the salad.
  • Fresh parsley – Used to garnish the salad. You can also use mint, basil, spring onion, or oregano if you like.
  • Lemon wedges – This is optional, but I add a wedge before serving for those who prefer a tad more tanginess to their salad.
  • Crushed red pepper – A sprinkling of this adds a mild spicy kick to the dish.

Possible Add-ons

  • Sprinkle the salad with a bit of grated vegan parmesan, nutritional yeast, or crumbled vegan feta to give it a ‘cheesy’ and savory taste.
  • Add more crunch to your salad with almonds, pine nuts, or sunflower seeds.
  • Love garlic? You can add mashed roasted garlic or granulated garlic to the couscous to satisfy your cravings!  

How To Make Couscous Salad with Fresh Vegetables

  • 1) In a medium pot over medium-high heat, add one tablespoon of oil and the couscous. Cook for 2 minutes, constantly stirring to avoid burning. Add the vegetable broth, bring to a boil, cover, turn off the heat and let it sit undisturbed for 10 minutes.
  • 2) Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
  • 3) In a large bowl, add the red onion and juice of half a lemon. Mix well and set aside for 5 minutes. 
  • 4) Add the zucchini and summer squash to a sheet pan, drizzle some oil and season with salt and pepper to taste. Mix them on the sheet pan and then spread them.
  • 5) Roast them for 10 to 15 minutes.
  • 6) To the bowl with the onion, add the bell pepper, cucumber, cherry tomatoes, and parsley. Add ¼ cup of Brianna’s Balsamic Vinaigrette and mix well. Set aside while the squashes are in the oven. 
  • 7) Once the squashes are ready, carefully remove them from the oven and let them cool down. In the meantime, add the couscous to the bowl with the fresh veggies. Mix well and then add the squashes. Genly mix so the squashes don’t get crushed. 
  • 8) Serve cold or warm. Sprinkle more parsley, lemon wedges and more Brianna’s Balsamic Vinaigrette dressing on the side.  
close up of salad dressing with completed Couscous Salad with Fresh Vegetables in background

Tips when Making Couscous Salad with Fresh Vegetables

  • When toasting the couscous, cook only until it turns into a nice golden color, and make sure to stir frequently. This enhances the natural flavor of the couscous with a nice smoky touch.
  • Follow the package instructions when cooking the couscous. Different brands have different water-to-couscous ratios.
  • Do not fluff the couscous right away after cooking. Let it sit undisturbed until all the liquid has been absorbed and the grains look fluffy and soft.
  • When adding the roasted squashes to the rest of the salad, toss lightly so they do not fall apart.  
  • You can omit the crushed red pepper to make it kid-friendly.
  • You can serve the salad warm or cold depending on your preference.
completed Couscous Salad with Fresh Vegetables in two bowls against a white background

Make-ahead and Storing Notes

You can make this salad a few days in advance and place portions into a lidded container. Place them in the fridge and consume within 3 to 4 days. The salad actually tastes better after a day! If you want to store them longer, you can hold off on the dressing and just add it when you are ready to eat.

More Couscous Recipes:

Photos by Alfonso Revilla

completed Couscous Salad with Fresh Vegetables against a white background

Couscous Salad with Fresh Veggies

5 from 30 votes
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 20 minutes
Total: 30 minutes
Servings: 4 – 6
This light and refreshing salad is made of chewy couscous, roasted squashes, and colorfulfresh vegetables tossed in tangy balsamic vinaigrette dressing.

Ingredients 

  • 3 tablespoons of olive oil, divided
  • 2 cups of uncooked pearl/Israeli couscous
  • 2 cups of vegetable broth
  • 2 zucchini, halved lengthwise and sliced
  • 2 summer squash, halved lengthwise and sliced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 cucumber, diced
  • 1 small red onion, diced
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 pint of cherry tomatoes, halved
  • ½ cup of fresh parsley, chopped
  • Lemon wedges garnish
  • Crushed red pepper garnish
  • Avocado Oil Classic Balsamic Vinaigrette

Instructions 

  • In a medium pot over medium-high heat, add one tablespoon of oil and the couscous. Cook for 2 minutes, constantly stirring to avoid burning. Add the vegetable broth, bring to a boil, cover, turn off the heat and let it sit undisturbed for 10 minutes.
    3 tablespoons of olive oil,, 2 cups of uncooked pearl/Israeli couscous, 2 cups of vegetable broth
  • Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
  • In a large bowl, add the red onion and juice of half a lemon. Mix well and set aside for 5 minutes.
    1 small red onion,, 1 lemon
  • Add the zucchini and summer squash to a sheet pan, drizzle some oil and season with salt and pepper to taste. Mix them on the sheet pan and then spread them.
    2 zucchini,, 2 summer squash,, 3 tablespoons of olive oil,
  • Roast them for 10 to 15 minutes.
  • To the bowl with the onion, add the bell pepper, cucumber, cherry tomatoes, and parsley. Add ¼ cup of Brianna’s Balsamic Vinaigrette and mix well. Set aside while the squashes are in the oven.
    1 red bell pepper,, 1 cucumber,, 1 pint of cherry tomatoes,, ½ cup of fresh parsley,, Avocado Oil Classic Balsamic Vinaigrette
  • Once the squashes are ready, carefully remove them from the oven and let them cool down. In the meantime, add the couscous to the bowl with the fresh veggies. Mix well and then add the squashes. Genly mix so the squashes don't get crushed.
  • Serve cold or warm. Sprinkle more parsley, lemon wedges and more Brianna’s Balsamic Vinaigrette dressing on the side.
    Lemon wedges, Crushed red pepper, ½ cup of fresh parsley,

Notes

  • When toasting the couscous, cook only until it turns into a nice golden color, and make sure to stir frequently. This enhances the natural flavor of the couscous with a nice smoky touch.
  • Follow the package instructions when cooking the couscous. Different brands have different water-to-couscous ratios.
  • Do not fluff the couscous right away after cooking. Let it sit undisturbed until all the liquid has been absorbed and the grains look fluffy and soft.
  • When adding the roasted squashes to the rest of the salad, toss lightly so they do not fall apart.  

Nutrition

Calories: 346kcalCarbohydrates: 60gProtein: 11gFat: 8gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 5gSodium: 340mgPotassium: 807mgFiber: 7gSugar: 9gVitamin A: 1898IUVitamin C: 88mgCalcium: 69mgIron: 2mg

Disclaimer: Although plantbasedonabudget.com attempts to provide accurate nutritional information, kindly note that these are only estimates. Nutritional information may be affected based on the product type, the brand that was purchased, and in other unforeseeable ways. Plantbasedonabudget.com will not be held liable for any loss or damage resulting for your reliance on nutritional information. If you need to follow a specific caloric regimen, please consult your doctor first.

Additional Info

Author: Toni Okamoto
Course: Dinner, Lunch, Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Method: Stovetop
Diet: Vegan
Tried this recipe?Please tag us at @PlantBasedOnABudget! 🙂
About

Toni Okamoto

“They say you are what you eat, so I strive to be healthy.
My goal in life is not to be rich or wealthy,
‘Cause true wealth comes from good health and wise ways…
we got to start taking better care of ourselves ” – Dead Prez

More about Toni Okamoto

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Comments

  1. 5 stars
    We loved this salad. I’m a great fan of couscous and the veggies flavored the salad which maked it really delicious and healthy.

  2. 5 stars
    Great end-of-summer salad. The zucchini are still multiplying by the hour and so are the cherry tomatoes. They were perfect with the cucumbers and couscous.