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Embrace fall with this easy roasted pumpkin couscous salad with mixed roasted veggies, pepitas, & dried cranberries! A satisfying dairy-free, vegan fall salad!

completed Roasted Pumpkin Couscous Salad [Hot or Cold] on a plate
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Satisfying Fall Roasted Pumpkin Couscous Salad

Where our Mediterranean couscous salad helps you enjoy the taste of summer all year, this roasted pumpkin couscous salad is all about fall and perfect for enjoying all season long for mid-week meals, potlucks, dinner parties, and the holidays!

It combines seasonal pumpkin (or butternut squash) with other mixed veggies, roasted in a warm, herby pumpkin spice seasoning, and tossed into a bowl of tender giant couscous with optional fall favorites like pumpkin seeds and dried cranberries.

The resulting couscous salad with pumpkin is vibrant, loaded with flavor, texture, and nutrients (including plenty of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants), and easy to prepare with inexpensive and versatile ingredients.

You can even cut down on time/effort by using pre-chopped veg and meal prep it to enjoy throughout the week, warm or chilled. Have any leftover pumpkin? Roast it at the same time, ready to use in leafy green pumpkin salad, pumpkin curry, pumpkin chili, and more.

The Ingredients and Substitutes

ingredients for Roasted Pumpkin Couscous Salad [Hot or Cold] on a white surface

The Roasted Vegetables

  • Pumpkin: Use a small culinary pumpkin (like sugar pumpkin or Cinderella pumpkin) or save some time and effort with pre-chopped pumpkin. Don’t use pumpkins designed for carving, though – they aren’t very tasty.

When you can’t find pumpkin, Kabocha, butternut squash, or sweet potato also work.

  • Vegetables: This fall couscous salad uses a combination of:
    • Red onion
    • Red or green bell pepper
    • Broccoli
    • Carrots
  • Chickpeas (garbanzo beans): You can use canned or home-cooked chickpeas (or lentils/white beans) to add plenty of plant-based protein to the vegan pumpkin salad.
  • Olive oil: Or another neutral cooking oil, like avocado oil.
  • Seasonings: Combine warm and herby flavors in this roast pumpkin salad with:
    • Italian seasoning
    • Pumpkin spice
    • Sea salt & black pepper

The Couscous and Other Ingredients

  • Couscous: We love using giant couscous (aka pearl couscous/Israeli couscous) for this recipe, though regular couscous works, too (following the package instructions).
  • Vegetable broth: Use homemade or store-bought liquid vegetable stock or vegetable bouillon powder/cubes + water, regular or reduced sodium.
  • Salt & black pepper: Use sea salt/kosher salt and season to taste.
  • Plantbased milk: Perhaps a surprising addition to the roast pumpkin salad, use any unsweetened dairy-free milk (e.g., soy milk, oat milk, cashew milk, coconut milk).
  • Fresh herbs: We love fresh parsley, though green onion or cilantro could work.  
  • Dried cranberries: (Optional) For bursts of sweetness throughout the couscous and pumpkin salad. You can also use raisins instead.
  • Pumpkin seeds: (Optional) Raw/lightly toasted pumpkin seeds add fiber, crunch, and heart-healthy fats. Alternatively, walnuts, pecans, sunflower seeds, or maple-roasted nuts/seeds would work for added sweetness.

What Could I Add to Pumpkin Couscous Salad?

  • Other seasonings: There are several ways to adapt or boost roasted vegetable flavors.
    • Chili powder/ cayenne pepper (for spice)
    • Garlic powder (to increase the savory, aromatic flavor)
    • Ground cumin (Earthy, savory flavor)
    • Smoked paprika (for a smoky flavor)
  • Vegan feta: Pumpkin feta couscous salad is a classic pairing and adds a salty, sharp creaminess to balance the sweetness of the pumpkin.
  • Lemon juice: To add when serving, to brighten the flavor. Alternatively, omit vegan milk and make a lemon maple vinaigrette (1:1:2 tbsp lemon juice/ orange, olive oil, + maple syrup – then adjust to taste).
  • Pomegranate: For a pop of color and a burst of sweetness.
  • Apple/pear: Finely diced and added when serving.
  • Other vegetables: You can use fresh or roasted/grilled veggies (and clear out your crisper drawer) with this fall pearl couscous pumpkin salad recipe.
    • Brussel sprouts
    • Beets
    • Cauliflower
    • Corn kernels (charred)
    • Spinach/kale (finely chopped. Massage kale with oil to tenderize it)

How to Make Roasted Pumpkin Couscous Salad

  • 1) First, preheat the oven to 450F/230C and line a baking tray with parchment paper/a silicone mat. Then, prepare the vegetables by peeling and chopping the pumpkin into around ¾-inch pieces, chopping the broccoli into small florets, the bell pepper into ¾-inch strips, the onion into ½-inch wedges, and slicing the carrots about ⅛ inch thick. Also, drain and rinse the chickpeas.

Optionally save the pumpkin seeds for roasting or pumpkin seed pesto.

  • 2) Then, transfer the prepared vegetables to a large mixing bowl (or the prepared baking sheet), drizzle with the oil, add all the seasonings (just 2 teaspoons of pumpkin spice), and toss to thoroughly coat.
  • 3) Roast the veggies in the oven for 20-30 minutes until tender and lightly caramelized.

First, check them at 18 minutes, shake/ flip them, and add time accordingly.

  • 4) Meanwhile, add a tablespoon of oil to a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the couscous and sauté for about 2 minutes until toasty.
  • 5) Then add the broth, a teaspoon of pumpkin spice, salt, and pepper. Stir.
  • 6) Bring the mixture to a boil, cover it with a lid, then turn off the heat and leave the couscous undisturbed for 10 minutes to soak up the broth and become tender.
cooked couscous in a pot
  • 7) Once the vegetables and couscous are ready, combine them in a large salad bowl with the plant-based milk, stir well, and then optionally garnish/stir in some pumpkin seeds, cranberries, and parsley. Enjoy warm or chilled!

Recipe Pro Tips

  • Don’t skip the toasting: Lightly toasting the couscous until fragrant brings out and enhances its nutty flavor.
  • To save time: Buy pre-chopped vegetables and/or use kitchen tools like a mandoline to speed up the veg prep.
  • Slice the veggies evenly: While the different veggies require being cut down into different sizes and shapes, it’s important to make each one as even as possible so that vegetables roast at the same rate.
  • Try other grains: The combination of ingredients in this salad with roast pumpkin will work with cooked quinoa, orzo, farro, or barley.
  • To cool couscous quickly: For a chilled pumpkin and couscous salad, spread the cooked couscous across a wide tray and transfer to the fridge for fast cooling.
  • Have fun with addins: This roast pumpkin couscous salad is adaptable to what you have in your pantry, fridge, and what’s in season.
completed Roasted Pumpkin Couscous Salad [Hot or Cold] on a plate

Storage Information

Once assembled, allow the pearl couscous pumpkin salad to cool. Then store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

You can also freeze the pumpkin couscous (minus any non-roasted veggies, if used, and the garnishes) for up to 3 months spread flat in a Ziplock/Stasher bag, though both the couscous and veggies soften upon thawing (in the refrigerator overnight).

To reheat the couscous with pumpkin and mixed veg, microwave it in 30-second increments, stirring between. Or on the stovetop with an extra splash of water, broth, or dairy-free milk.  

More Hearty Vegan Salad Recipes

Or browse through our entire list of budget-friendly vegan salad recipes!

Photos by Alfonso Revilla

completed Roasted Pumpkin Couscous Salad [Hot or Cold] on a plate

Roasted Pumpkin Couscous Salad [Hot or Cold]

5 from 34 votes
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 3 hours
Total: 3 hours 15 minutes
Servings: 4 -6
Embrace fall with this easy roasted pumpkin couscous salad with mixed roasted veggies, pepitas, & dried cranberries! A satisfying dairy-free, vegan fall salad!

Ingredients 

  • 1 tablespoon of Italian seasoning
  • 3 teaspoons of pumpkin spice, divided
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 3 tablespoons of olive oil, divided
  • 4 cups of pumpkin, peeled and cubed
  • 1 large red onion, cut into wedges
  • 1 cup of broccoli florets
  • 1 cup of sliced carrots
  • 1 (15-ounce) can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 2 cups of uncooked pearl/Israeli couscous
  • 2 cups of vegetable broth
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • ¼ cup of plant-based milk
  • ¼ cup of toasted or raw pumpkin seeds (optional)
  • ¼ cup of dry cranberries (optional)
  • ¼ cup roughly chopped parsley (optional)

Instructions 

  • Preheat the oven at 450 degrees F. and prepare a large baking tray with a silicone mat or parchment paper.
  • In a large bowl, add the Italian seasoning, 2 teaspoons of pumpkin spice, salt, pepper, and 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Mix well and add the pumpkin, onion, bell pepper, broccoli florets, carrots, and chickpeas. Toss well until all veggies and chickpeas are coated with the spice oil mixture.
  • Place the veggies on the tray and roast for 20 to 30 minutes. Check the veggies at the 20 minute mark and add more time accordingly.
  • In a medium pot over medium-high heat, add 1 tablespoon of oil, and the couscous. Cook for 2 minutes, constantly stirring to avoid burning. Add the vegetable broth, 1 teaspoon of pumpkin spice, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil, cover, turn off the heat and let it sit undisturbed for 10 minutes while you roast the veggies.
  • Once the veggies are ready, in a large salad bowl, add the couscous, roasted veggies, and plant-based milk. Mix well and then top with optional pumpkin seeds, cranberries, and chopped parsley.

Notes

  • Don’t skip the toasting: Lightly toasting the couscous until fragrant brings out and enhances its nutty flavor.
  • To save time: Buy pre-chopped vegetables and/or use kitchen tools like a mandoline to speed up the veg prep.
  • Slice the veggies evenly: While the different veggies require being cut down into different sizes and shapes, it’s important to make each one as even as possible so that vegetables roast at the same rate.

Nutrition

Calories: 720kcalCarbohydrates: 126gProtein: 25gFat: 15gSaturated Fat: 2gPolyunsaturated Fat: 3gMonounsaturated Fat: 9gSodium: 570mgPotassium: 1194mgFiber: 22gSugar: 17gVitamin A: 43917IUVitamin C: 36mgCalcium: 213mgIron: 9mg

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: Lunch
Cuisine: American
Method: Oven, Stove
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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  1. 5 stars
    I love roast pumpkins and this couscous salad with all it’s veggies and spices was perfect. I certainly going to prepare it more often!