Curried Chickpea Couscous Salad | Ambitious Kitchen

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by Sil Pancho

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05.24.2024


You may have noticed that I’ve been on couscous kick over the last few years. Pearl couscous, to be specific, because it’s so versatile, easy to cook with, and is the perfect grain to use if you’re craving both pasta and quinoa or rice.

So far I’ve added this gnocchi-like grain to my famous chicken soup, plus cozy one pot meals, and even my latest meatball bowl recipe. This beautiful curried chickpea couscous salad is my first cold salad recipe using it, and OMG I am in love.

If you remember this Moroccan-Inspired Chickpea Quinoa Salad that I first shared back in 2018 (the OG AK readers know), this couscous salad has a similar flavor profile that, in my opinion, gets even more delicious with the addition of couscous. Each bite is bursting with sweet and savory flavors you’ll crave. Meal prep it for your week or share it as a fun, unique side dish at your next BBQ!

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curried chickpea couscous salad in a bowlcurried chickpea couscous salad in a bowl

Everything you’ll need to make this curry couscous salad

This beautiful curried chickpea couscous salad has a delicious variety of flavors and textures thanks to a handful of fun mix-ins and the best dressing. Here’s what you’ll need to make it:

  • Pearl couscous: I love using pearl couscous as the base for tons of my recipes because the little gnocchi-like pearls get nice and tender. You’ll cook it in water with a little salt.
  • Chickpeas: a can of chickpeas (aka garbanzo beans) adds a lovely boost of plant-based protein to the salad.
  • Veggies & herbs: we’re tossing in red bell pepper, shredded carrot, red onion, and fresh parsley and cilantro.
  • Mix-ins: add a little sweetness from Medjool dates or dried tart cherries, plus a delicious crunch from your fav mixture of nuts! I love adding toasted sliced almonds, roasted cashews, and roasted pistachios.
  • Dressing: we’re using my famous curry tahini dressing, which is the perfect blend of sweet and savory.

unmixed vegan curry couscous salad with vegetables in a bowlunmixed vegan curry couscous salad with vegetables in a bowl

Can I make this salad gluten-free?

Yes, it’s so easy! Simply swap the pearl couscous for 8 ounces of gluten-free orzo or quinoa. Both will be delicious.

pouring dressing into a bowl with curried couscous saladpouring dressing into a bowl with curried couscous salad

Make this curried chickpea couscous salad your way

There are a few easy swaps I can recommend to customize this salad to your taste preferences:

  • Keep it nut free. Simply omit the nut mixture, or toss in a seed mixture like sunflower seeds.
  • Pick your dried fruit. If you don’t have any dates or dried cherries on hand, feel free to use dried cranberries, raisins, or golden raisins!
  • Boost the veggies. Feel free to get creative here! I think fresh finely chopped roasted cauliflower or a few cups of finely chopped raw broccoli would be perfect.
  • Add extra protein. Serve this salad with my Baked or Grilled Honey Mustard Chicken or my Honey Lemon Garlic Salmon for a full meal.

curry chickpea couscous salad in a salad bowl and a serving bowlcurry chickpea couscous salad in a salad bowl and a serving bowl

More dressing options

Trust me when I say the curry tahini dressing is UNREAL and so delicious in this salad. But, if you’re not a fan of curry flavors, you could try my Thai-Inspired Peanut Dressing or my Sesame Ginger Dressing.

vegan curry couscous salad on a blue platevegan curry couscous salad on a blue plate

Vegan curried couscous salad in 3 simple steps

  1. Cook the couscous. Start by cooking the couscous with water and salt in a similar way you would with rice. Once it’s cooked, transfer it to a large sieve and rinse it with cold water to cool it. Add it to a large bowl.
  2. Add the mix-ins. Add the chickpeas, plus the vegetables, herbs, dried fruit, and nuts to the bowl with the couscous.
  3. Toss in the dressing. Pour the dressing all over the salad and toss until everything is well coated. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed, then enjoy!

curried chickpea couscous salad on a blue platecurried chickpea couscous salad on a blue plate

Store it for later

This vegan curry chickpea couscous salad is perfect for meal prep because it will stay good in an airtight glass container in the fridge for up to 5 days. You could even store it in mason jars for quick on-the-go lunches!

More salad recipes you’ll love

Get all of my salad recipes here!

I hope you love this curried chickpea couscous salad! If you make it be sure to leave a comment and a rating so I know how you liked it. Enjoy, xo!

cover of the ambitious kitchen cookbookcover of the ambitious kitchen cookbook

The
Ambitious Kitchen
Cookbook

125 Ridiculously Good For You, Sometimes Indulgent, and Absolutely Never Boring Recipes for Every Meal of the Day

Curried Chickpea Couscous Salad

curried chickpea couscous salad in a bowlcurried chickpea couscous salad in a bowl

Prep Time 10 minutes

Cook Time 10 minutes

Total Time 20 minutes

Serves4 servings

Flavorful curried chickpea couscous salad filled with fresh herbs, crunchy nuts, and a little sweetness from dried fruit. Toss it all in the BEST creamy curry tahini dressing and enjoy the perfect plant-based lunch or side dish that stays good for days! Options to make it a fuller meal with grilled chicken or salmon.

Ingredients

  • Couscous:
  • 1 ½ cups water
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup pearl couscous*
  • For the salad:
  • 1 (15 ounce) can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 large carrot, shredded
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • cup chopped fresh parsley
  • cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • ¼ cup finely diced red onion
  • ½ cup chopped Medjool dates or dried tart cherries
  • cup mix of toasted sliced almonds, roasted cashews and roasted pistachios (whatever mix of these nuts you have on hand is great!)
  • Dressing:
  • 1 batch curry tahini dressing
  • Extra fresh ground salt and pepper, to taste

Instructions

  • Prepare the couscous: In a medium pot, add the water and salt and bring to a boil. Immediately stir in the couscous and return to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and cook for 8 to 10 minutes until all of the liquid is absorbed. Transfer to a large sieve and rinse the couscous with cold water for about 1 minute, until couscous has cooled. Transfer to a large bowl.

  • In the large bowl with the couscous, add in the chickpeas, shredded carrot, bell pepper, parsley, cilantro, onion, dates or cherries and mix of nuts.

  • Prepare the dressing, then pour over salad and use tongs or a large spoon to toss the salad with the dressing until well coated. Taste and add extra salt and pepper, as necessary.

  • To store: Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.

Recipe Notes

Boost the veggies: This would be delicious with fresh finely chopped roasted cauliflower or even a few cups of finely chopped raw broccoli florets.
I suggest serving this with my honey mustard chicken or my honey lemon salmon for a full meal.
*To make gluten free: sub in 8 ounces of gluten free orzo for the pearl couscous. Quinoa would also be delicious!

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving (based on 4)Calories: 417calProtein: 14.5gFat: 24.5gSaturated Fat: 2.4gFiber: 11.8gSugar: 16.8g



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