This curried couscous salad is the best, most flavorful couscous salad I have ever made. It’s loaded with chickpeas and fresh vegetables, vegan, healthy, and utterly delicious.
A flavorful, delicious curried couscous salad recipe is perfect for so many occasions. You can make it for lunch or dinner, pack it into your lunch box, or take it to a picnic. You can take it to a potluck and be sure that although the recipe is vegan, all the meat eaters will also love it. Another bonus is that you can make it in about 20 minutes.
It is genuinely the best couscous salad I have ever tasted; we all love it so much that I am rarely tempted to change anything about it; although the recipe is versatile, there are lots of things you could add to it.
- Contrary to the popular belief that couscous is a type of grain or seed, it is actually tiny pasta made by moistening and crushing semolina until it forms small balls.
- It originates in North Africa; it’s super easy to cook and versatile.
- There are two main types of couscous: the smaller, quick-cooking Moroccan couscous that only needs to be soaked before serving or the larger Israeli or Lebanese Couscous that needs to be cooked.
- Check out our Chicken Israeli Couscous with Zucchini if you have a bag of this type of couscous in your pantry.
- Ensure you use good-quality, flavorful, and not overly salty stock. Stock made from a cube is actually the best choice for this recipe; it’s stronger flavored than homemade vegetable stock.
- I use an organic brand in the form of a stiff paste, the best I’ve ever had. It contains no chemicals, keeps for a long time, and tastes better than any other vegetable stock brand I have ever tried.
- It helps make the best-curried couscous salad ever! I mostly use green curry paste, but yellow curry paste is also delicious.
- Red curry paste is an option too, but as I find it too hot, I rarely use it. If you use red curry paste, start with less and add more according to your heat tolerance.
Vegetables and pulses:
- Chickpeas (garbanzo beans): One can of drained chickpeas or the same amount of cooked chickpeas (about 7 oz/ 200 g).
- Fresh vegetables: Yellow or red bell peppers and green onions.
- Fresh herbs like parsley, cilantro, basil, or dill.
Ingredients for the dressing: Tomato paste, soy sauce, red wine vinegar (or apple cider vinegar), extra virgin olive oil, ground cumin, fine sea salt, and ground black pepper. And a pinch of red chili flakes or cayenne pepper to taste.
Add-ins and substitutions
- Substitute red wine vinegar with apple cider, white wine, or balsamic.
- Sub the veggies or add chopped cherry tomatoes, cucumber, black or green olives, rocket (arugula), red onions, green peas, tiny roasted cauliflower florets (or raw), or avocado.
- Regular or golden raisins, dried cranberries, or apricots are also delicious. Chop them finely and add them to the curried couscous salad.
- You could also add feta cheese or grilled chicken pieces if you don’t care about making a vegan couscous salad.
How to make curry couscous salad?
- Soak the couscous in a large bowl in a mixture of hot vegetable stock and green curry paste. Fluff couscous with a fork before adding the rest of the ingredients.
- Mix the salad dressing ingredients in a small bowl, add it to the couscous salad, and salt and pepper to taste.
- Add drained chickpeas, chopped vegetables, and herbs.
- Adjust the taste with salt, pepper, and red chili flakes.
- The secret to enjoying couscous is to soak it properly; at least, that was where I always failed years ago when trying to cook something tasty with couscous.
- Couscous has little taste on its own; it needs the help of good, flavorful stock and lots of other spices.
- Don't be tempted to add too much stock when soaking it or to guess the amount of liquid you need.
- If you add too little liquid, the couscous will still have a grainy touch, but if you add too much liquid, it will be watery. And that is the worst when it comes to couscous – watery couscous. So ensure you read the package directions concerning the amount of liquid you need for the couscous and measure correctly.
Refrigerate in an airtight container for 2-3 days. If making the salad with avocado or tomatoes, you shouldn’t keep it for more than 1 day, as the avocado will turn brown, and the tomatoes will get soggy.
The salad is not suitable for freezing.
Soak the couscous one day ahead and keep it refrigerated.
Mix the dressing ingredients in a small jar to have them ready.
Add the vegetables a few hours or shortly before serving.
How to serve the vegan couscous salad
- The curried couscous salad with chickpeas makes a great light main dish on its own. It's best served at room temperature.
- Great for the lunch box, for a picnic, or to take to a potluck.
- A flavorful side dish for a Tunisian Tagine, Fried Lamb Chops in the Cast-Iron Skillet, Easy Veal Roast, Juicy Pan-Fried Chicken Breast, Roasted Half Chicken, or Chicken Breast Patties.
- Or you can add it to a Chicken Shawarma Plate.
More delicious and filling salads
Vegan Curried Couscous Salad (with Chickpeas)
- Small bowl
- 1 ¼ cup couscous 250 g/ 9 oz
- 1 ¼ cup good vegetable stock hot, 300 ml/ 10 fl.oz, Note 1
- 1 teaspoon green curry paste
- 1 tablespoon concentrated tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 can chickpeas 400 g/ 14 oz, Note 2
- 2 bell peppers red and/or yellow, chopped, Note 3
- 3 green onions finely sliced
- a pinch of chili flakes optional
- fine sea salt and black pepper
- fresh parsley Note 4
- Soaking time: Read the couscous package instructions to determine the amount of liquid you need for soaking the couscous; this may vary from brand to brand.
- Soak couscous: Place the couscous into a large bowl. Whisk the green curry paste into the hot vegetable stock and pour the mixture over the couscous. Let stand for 10 minutes or according to the packet's instructions. Fluff with a fork.
- Dressing: In a small bowl, whisk 1 tablespoon tomato paste, 1 tablespoon soy sauce, 1 tablespoon vinegar, 2 tablespoons olive oil, and 1 teaspoon ground cumin. Add the mixture to the couscous and stir well. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Add vegetables: 1 can of drained chickpeas, 2 chopped bell peppers, and 3 finely sliced green onions.
- Taste again and add more seasoning as needed. Adjust the taste with more vinegar, chili flakes, and salt and pepper if necessary.
- Sprinkle with finely chopped parsley (Note 5).
- Vegetable stock made with boiling water and a vegetable stock cube, powder, or paste.
- Chickpeas: Or the same amount of cooked chickpeas, about 7 oz/ 200 g.
- Additions: Add chopped cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, black or green olives, rocket, or avocado. Non-vegan additions: feta cheese or grilled chicken breast pieces.
- Sub with other fresh herbs like cilantro, basil, or dill
- Store: The curried couscous salad can be refrigerated in an airtight container for 3-4 days. If using avocado or tomatoes, try to consume the salad within 24 hours; the avocado will turn brown, and chopped tomatoes tend to get soggy.