Southwestern Couscous Salad

Southwestern Couscous Salad

Southwestern Couscous Salad was born out the the necessity to create a vegan salad to take to work for lunch.  I realize that traditional southwestern cuisine doesn’t contain couscous, but I made use of what I had on hand.  I had wanted to make a more traditional couscous salad that contained garbanzo beans, and a lemon dressing, but the only recipe that I knew contained feta cheese which is definitely not a vegan food option.  I considered what I could use as a vegan substitute for the cheese, but I couldn’t find anything in the house that would be an acceptable substitute. 

Instead, I decided to create my couscous salad buy combining the things that I already had on hand.  Since I had planned to make a vegan chili with TVP beef chunks later in the week, I had all of the flavors on hand to create a salad with Southwestern inspired flavors.  I asked myself why I couldn’t make a Southwestern Couscous Salad.  The hardest part of this recipe is chopping all of the vegetables and draining all of the cans, but that happens while the couscous is cooking and cooling.  Don’t you think that the color of all the mixed vegetables is pretty?  Southwestern Couscous Salad

After much chopping and mixing and tossing, my salad was ready for tasting.  Sue chef commented “That’s good.”  Baker’s Man opined “That’s got a lot of flavor.  I’m surprised.”    Food Critic and Bus Boy were elsewhere while the taste testing was going on, so they had no thoughts to share.Southwestern Couscous Salad

The consensus:  This salad was delicious, and we will definitely be making it again.  (It’s a good thing I will be making it again because NONE of the photos of the finished product were in focus.  How does that even happen?)

Give our recipe for Southwestern Couscous Salad a try and let us know what you think by leaving a comment below.

Thanks for visiting Patty Cake’s Pantry.

5.0 from 7 reviews
Southwestern Couscous Salad
Recipe type: Salad
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6
This simple salad requires some chopping, but this can be done while the couscous if cooking, and then cooling down. This is perfect for a light vegan lunch, and it's a great side dish. The total cost of the recipe is $5.28 or about 88 cents per serving.
  • ⅔ cup whole wheat couscous ($0.34)
  • ¾ cup vegetable broth, or water ($0.28)
  • 1 (15 oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed well. ($0.67)
  • 1 (15 oz) can whole kernel corn, drained and rinsed ($0.58)
  • 1 medium orange bell pepper, chopped (use whatever color you have on hand) ($0.40)
  • 1 large Roma tomato, chopped ($0.33)
  • 1 bunch green onions, chopped (6 - 7 green onions) ($0.34)
  • ⅓ cup chopped fresh cilantro ($0.25)
  • 1 avocado, diced ($1.00)
  • 2 small to medium limes, zested and juiced (This gave me about 1 teaspoon lime zest and ¼ cup lime juice) ($0.20)
  • 1 teaspoon dried cumin ($0.04)
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano ($0.08)
  • 2 cloves garlic minced ($0.16)
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper ($0.04)
  • ½ teaspoon kosher, or coarse sea, salt ($0.01)
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil ($0.56)
  1. Measure dry couscous into a 2 cup container.
  2. Bring vegetable broth to a boil.
  3. Pour broth over couscous in bowl, mix well, then cover bowl with a plate and set timer for 5 minutes.
  4. After 5 minutes, fluff couscous with a fork, then allow it to cool for 10 to 15 minutes.
  5. While couscous is cooking, and cooling, prepare the vegetables, and place them in a very large bowl along with the cilantro.
  6. Remove 1 teaspoon lime zest from the limes and place in the bottom of a 2 cup capacity bowl or jar.
  7. Juice the limes and add the juice to the bowl along with the lime zest.
  8. Add cumin, dried oregano, minced garlic, black pepper, and salt to the bowl with the lime juice.
  9. Add olive oil and mix well to combine.
  10. Pour the lime dressing over the vegetables in the bowl and mix well to combine.
  11. Add the cooked, and cooled, couscous to the bowl along with the diced avocado and toss to combine.

Southwestern Couscous Salad is a light and refreshing combination of flavors that makes a great light lunch or the perfect accompaniment to a meal.

Nutrition Information is for a  sixth of the recipe (approximately a 1 cup serving) of Southwestern Couscous Salad prepared with vegetable broth and according to the recipe above.

Nutrition Facts
Amount Per Serving
Calories 334
% Daily Value
Total Fat 17g
Saturated Fat 2.8g
Trans Fat 0.0g
Cholesterol 0mg
Sodium 728mg
Total Carbohydrates 41.5g
Dietary Fiber 8.3g
Sugars 5.1g
Protein 7.5g
Vitamin D 0%
Potassium 11%
Calcium 4%
Iron 16%

23 thoughts on “Southwestern Couscous Salad

  1. I made couscous for dinner for the first time in ages last night but it looked nowhere near as delicous as this. I’ll be sure to bookmark your recipe and try it out!

    1. Amy, I’m glad that you like this couscous recipe. Couscous really is a blank slate and you can do anything you want with it. I don’t know why I don’t make it more often.

  2. These flavours look spectacular. Some of the best recipes are created by raiding your pantry and using just the things you already have on hand. I love using things like couscous and quinoa for salads, and I know I would love this one!

    1. Nicole, I hope you give this one a try. It was very good and everyone who tasted it really enjoyed it. I plan to do some more experiments with couscous for salads. I love how fast it is to prepare, and this summer, when it’s over 100 degrees, these types of salads will be a life saver for us.

  3. This sounds like the perfect summer lunch and I love the combination of oregano and cumin to add some more flavour to the salad.I think you mean 1/4 cup of olive oil, though – not 14 , right?

    1. It is the perfect summer lunch, and I agree about the combination of oregano and cumin. Thanks for the catch on the amount of olive oil. Baker’s Man is behind in his editing. LOL. I’ve fixed it. No wonder the recipe analyzer originally said there were over 800 calories per serving. OOPS!

  4. What a perfect spring / summer salad. Love the couscous .. so much more creative than using pasta .. and the veggie combination is so colorful and packed with flavor. Love!

  5. Being a “borderlands” girl (California, New Mexico, Texas), I turn everything into a southwest-inspired dish, and I’ve definitely combined these ingredients with couscous. Good instinct on combining ingredients in a tasty and colorful way!

  6. What a healthy and versatile salad, I’m thinking I could easily substitute the couscous with quinoa or millet for a gluten-free version.

    1. Michelle, you’re absolutely right. Quinoa or millet would be great swaps to make this gluten free. I wondered if amaranth might be a good choice, too.

    1. Claire, I hope you do try this. The best part about this recipe is how many different variations you can create by simply switching up the vegetables.

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