This spiced vegan couscous salad with pine nuts is well seasoned and includes colorful diced vegetables and herbs in a fresh lemon dressing. It can serve as a main dish or side dish.
This website receives a commission/fee for each purchase bought through the affiliate links on this website
😋Why You’ll Love This Recipe
- Using the flavors inspired by my son’s Palestinian Grandma’s traditional maftoul stew
- Very straightforward to prepare using a range of fresh vegetables and herbs
- Satiating enough to enjoy as a main or have it as a side
- Dietary friendly - vegan, dairy free, soy free and corn free
✔️Ingredients You’ll Need
Notes on some of the ingredients, the full list of ingredients and their measurements can be found in the recipe card below.
Maftoul aka small couscous can be bought at your local supermarket or you can purchase this online here (affiliate link). You might also be interested in reading about is couscous vegan?
Carrot is shredded and adds a mild fresh sweetness and juiciness.
Red capsicum (bell pepper) is finely diced and adds some fresh sweetness.
Red or white onion which will be diced.
Pine nuts are high in protein and will be dry toasted to bring out their natural oils and enhance their flavor, making them nuttier, more aromatic and crunchier. These can be swapped out for dry toasted pistachio which are then roughly chopped.
Fresh parsley leaves and mint leaves which will be finely chopped
Sultanas or raisins or currants or cranberries add some sweetness.
Vegetable bouillon in boiling water to cook and hydrate the couscous. Otherwise hot vegetable stock or broth can be used. Bouillon (affiliate link) does not normally require additional salt as it is quite salty.
Spiced Vegan Couscous Salad Dressing
Extra virgin olive oil, if you are on an oil free diet, simply leave this out, however do note that couscous is very dry without it. I have only used a spoonful.
Fresh lemon juice for sour and build flavor in this salad.
Fresh chili add this ingredient to suit your liking
All spice, cinnamon and carraway will be used in small amounts to give this salad a mild spiced flavoring.
Salt to taste.
🔪 How to Make Vegan Couscous Salad
Step 1 - In a bowl whisk together vegetable bouillon, boiling water, oil and spices. Pour couscous on top of the vegetable stock and gently mix together, ensuring all grains are well coated with spices and oil. Set aside for 5 minutes.
Step 2 - Add pine nuts to a non-stick pan over medium heat and dry toast until golden. Remove from pan and place them into a bowl. Set aside.
Step 3 - Fluff the couscous using a fork, which should easily comb through, there should be no clumps. Then spread it out on a tray to cool it down to room temperature.
Step 4 - Combine diced vegetables, sultanas, pinenuts, lemon juice and chopped fresh herbs in a bowl. Add the cooled couscous and combine with a fork. Season to taste. Serve alone, as a side or in lettuce cups
Tip: pine nuts can burn quickly once they have turned golden, and will continue to toast if left on the pan whilst the burner is turned off, so transfer them to a bowl to stop them from cooking further.
This vegan couscous salad can accommodate additional ingredients, here are a few to consider
- Wild rocket
Enjoy this maftoul salad with vegan shish tawook tofu skewers.
Or serve this salad in lettuce cups.
Maftoul is the Arabic word for couscous, commonly found in Palestine.
It is pronounced "mahf-tool" and is written as مفتول or additionally in English as maftool or maftul.
Couscous, originally, is a type of North African pasta made from semolina wheat flour, usually served with vegetables and/or meat.
Typically hand-rolled into small, medium or large balls, maftoul has a chewy texture and is now a staple food in Middle Eastern cuisine. It is often steamed or soaked in water and has a light, fluffy texture.
No. As maftoul is made from wheat, it contains gluten.
The best way to easily cook couscous is the ratio of 1:1⅓ that is 1 cup couscous to 1⅓ cup liquid.
Stir through 1-2 tablespoons of oil to hot vegetable stock and then add in the couscous, allowing it to sit for about 5 minutes until it can be fluffed up using a fork. It can be served warm or cold.
Couscous can become clumpy for several reasons:
Over-absorption of liquid - If too much liquid is added to the couscous, it can become soggy and clump together. This unfortunately can't be undone.
Insufficient fluffing - If the couscous is not fluffed and separated after cooking, it can clump together. Use a fork to fluff.
Overcooking - If the couscous is overcooked, it can become mushy and clump together.
Other vegan couscous recipe to try is this Lebanese pearl couscous recipe called Moghrabieh.
Or for another substantial salad, try my vegan brown rice salad
Or for something a little different, my Purslane Pockets (Lebanese Bakleh) always go down a treat.
Heres another yummy (non couscous) salad to try; Thai Cabbage Salad
Try this spiced vegan cous cous salad by My Good Food World.
Spiced Vegan Couscous Salad (Maftoul Salad)
- 1 cup Couscous
- 1⅓ cup Boiling water
- 1 cube Vegetable bouillon
- 1 tablespoon Olive oil
- 1 teaspoon All spice ground
- ¼ teaspoon Cinnamon ground
- ½ teaspoon Caraway ground
- ½ cup Red capsicum (bell pepper) finely diced, measurement after chopping
- ½ sml Red onion finely diced
- ¼ cup Flat parsley leaves chopped
- ½ cup Carrots grated, measurement after grating
- ¼ cup Pine nuts
- ¼ cup Cranberries
- ¼ cup Fresh mint leaves chopped
- ½ small Green chili to taste
- ¼ cup Lemon juice freshly squeezed
- In a large bowl whisk together hot vegetable stock, oil, and spices. Pour couscous on top of the vegetable stock and gently mix together. Set aside for 5 minutes1 cup Couscous, 1⅓ cup Boiling water, 1 cube Vegetable bouillon, 1 tablespoon Olive oil, 1 teaspoon All spice, ¼ teaspoon Cinnamon, ½ teaspoon Caraway
- Add pine nuts to a non-stick pan over medium heat and dry toast until golden. Remove from pan and place them into a bowl. Set aside.¼ cup Pine nuts
- Fluff the couscous using a fork, which should easily comb through, there should be no clumps. Then spread it out on a tray to cool it down to room temperature
- Combine diced vegetables, sultanas, pinenuts, lemon juice and chopped fresh herbs in a bowl. Add the cooled couscous and combine with a fork. Season to taste. Serve alone, as a side or in lettuce cups½ cup Red capsicum, ½ sml Red onion, ¼ cup Flat parsley leaves, ½ cup Carrots, ¼ cup Cranberries, ¼ cup Fresh mint leaves, ½ small Green chili, ¼ cup Lemon juice
N.B., nutrition info is an estimate based on an online nutrition calculator. This will vary based on the specific ingredients you use.
Simply delicious! I love how fresh this tastes and the different flavours from the toasted pine nuts and sultanas are just perfect. Everyone loved it, thank you for sharing it.
I love the idea of serving this in lettuce cups! It looks so beautiful, and the flavours in this sound so delicious.
So glad that this is a vegan salad, another option for my plant based needs.
I tried this recipe and it was so, so good. My whole family loved it!
We are always looking for new ways to use cous cous and this looks delcious.