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Vegan Couscous Salad

This Vegan Couscous Salad is truly warm weather on a plate. It is bursting with fresh green veggies and has a slight sweetness from the peas and sweet basil. The rice vinegar in the sauce gives a lightness that traditional pesto sauce is often lacking this is really something you will make on repeat for a cool dish on hotter days. This post may contain affiliate links, to learn more read our disclaimer.

What is in Vegan Couscous Salad?

All the goodness of late-Spring/early-Summertime! In fact that is how this dish came about. My crisper drawer was literally overflowing, so it was time to go green for a fresh new salad dish. This one consists of:

  • Arugula
  • Fresh, sweet basil
  • rice vinegar
  • olive oil
  • Pearl Couscous
  • Vegetable Broth
  • Asparagus
  • Peas
  • Yellow onions
  • Zucchini
  • Artichoke Hearts

Add some Salt and Pepper and that’s it. A totally sketch free meal that tastes amazing.

How to Make Vegan Couscous Salad

Begin by making the sauce:

In a blender or small food processor, combine the arugula, basil, olive oil, rice vinegar and a few grinds of pepper and salt.

Next begin the couscous:

Bring the vegetable broth to a boil in a large pot. When it is boiling, add the pearl couscous, the asparagus, and the peas. Cover and reduce the heat to low. Allow to cook for 10 minutes until most or all of the broth has been absorbed. Drain any remaining broth.

Sauté the vegetables:

Heat the remaining olive oil in a large skillet. Cook the onions, zucchini and artichokes for a few minutes until softening and beginning to brown.

Put it all together:

Toss the couscous with the sauce and fully combine. Fold in the sautéed vegetables and add salt and pepper to taste. The couscous can be served immediately, but I prefer the dish chilled. Leftovers will keep well for several days in the fridge or make a big batch to have for lunches all week.

What to serve with vegan couscous salad?

I like this dish as it can be a light meal on its own. For some other options you might consider:

  • Make it a sandwich. Serve the couscous salad in a pita, tortilla or lettuce wrap.
  • Continue to celebrate the season with a fresh fruit salad: Kiwi, mango, cherries, pineapple, banana, grapes, watermelon, cantaloupe, really, in summer the sky is the limit for the fresh fruits you can usually find. Pick a few of your favorites to make a sweet treat to serve alongside the salad and still have a super-healthy meal.
  • Add a soup. Cold Cucumber Soup or Gazpacho would be great with this salad.
  • Dessert. As the salad itself is so light and veggie packed, live it up for a night and enjoy bit of your favorite dessert along with the salad.

Vegan Couscous Salad

Vegan Couscous Salad

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes


For the Sauce

  • 3/8 cup rice vinegar
  • 3/8 cup olive oil
  • 3 cups arugula
  • 1 cup basil
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • salt and pepper to taste

For the Couscous

  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 1/2 cups pearl couscous
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1 cup asparagus chopped in 1 " pieces

For the Sautéed Vegetables

  • 1 cup zucchini quartered and sliced
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 cup artichoke hearts rinsed, drained and chopped
  • 1/2 yellow onion halved and sliced
  • salt and pepper to taste


For the sauce

  • Combine the olive oil, rice vinegar, arugula, basil and garlic powder in a small food processor or blender. Fully combine. Adjust salt and pepper to taste and set aside.

For the couscous

  • Bring the vegetable broth to boil in a large pot. When boiling, add the pearled couscous, the asparagus and the peas (no need to thaw). Close the lid and reduce heat to low. Cook until the water is mostly absorbed, about 10 minutes. Drain any remaining water.

For the sautéed vegetables

  • While the couscous is cooking, heat the olive oil in a skillet. When warm, add the onion, zucchini and artichokes and cook, stirring, until beginning to soften and brown, 5-7 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

To assemble

  • Put the couscous in a large bowl. Pour the sauce over the top and stir to fully combine. Fold in the sautéed vegetables.
  • Can be served warm or cold and will keep well for several days in the refrigerator.

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