This Mediterranean inspired roasted vegetable couscous salad is packed with crunchy roasted vegetables, a light and citrusy dressing and then topped with a hit of salty feta and olives. It's a winning salad at any BBQ or picnic, as it doesn't feel like you are having a salad.
Couscous is such an underrated and underused ingredient, but there is so much that you can do with it. Just a simple dressing and some added vegetables really brings it to life. A fresh and light side salad that would be great for entertaining friends, or storing in the fridge as part of your weekly food prep.
Why you will love it
- An easy store cupboard staple meal
- Easy to adapt
- Veggie packed
- A great picnic and BBQ side
- Couscous - We used giant (pearl/Israeli) couscous as we love the texture and it stands out more in this salad with all the chunky vegetables. However, you could use regular couscous instead.
- Tomatoes - Cherry tomatoes can be kept whole when roasting, and they add a nice burst of flavour when you bite in to them. You could chop up larger tomatoes to roast if you prefer.
- Courgette - Also known as zucchini, you can use green or yellow.
- Aubergine - You might know this as an eggplant, but it is delicious when roasted and it adds some nice darker colours to this roasted vegetable salad.
- Bell pepper - We used orange and red bell pepper, but yellow and green would work well. Roasting them really brings out the sweet flavour.
- Onion - Red onion adds lots of extra colour to this salad. However, you could swap it for halved shallots if you prefer.
- Feta - Feta makes everything better, right? It adds a lovely creaminess that pairs beautifully with the roasted vegetables. You could swap it for grilled halloumi.
- Olives - You can use any olives you like. Try stuffed chilli olives for some extra flavour.
- Sun-dried tomatoes - We diced up some to mix in to the salad. To add some extra flavour, add a drizzle of oil from the jar too.
A full ingredients list with measurements is in the recipe card below.
Step by step
One: Put the vegetables in a baking tray and add the oil and stir. Put in a preheated oven at 190°C/375°F/Gas 5 for 35 minutes.
Two: Add the couscous to a pan of boiling water and simmer for 8-10 minutes and then drain.
Three: In a large bowl, add the couscous and vegetables. In a separate bowl, mix together the dressing and pour over the couscous and vegetables and mix well.
Four: Put in to a serving bowl and add the olives, feta and sun-dried tomatoes.
What is couscous?
You might think that couscous is a grain, but it actually isn't. It is small, steamed balls of crushed durum wheat semolina. However, unlike regular couscous, Israeli couscous (that we have used here) is toasted, rather than dried, after the granules are formed.
It is therefore nuttier in flavour and has a chewier texture. It is originally from North West Africa, but it is now a staple dish across northern Africa and in Israel.
If you didn't have couscous, then you could use another grain like rice or barley, or even orzo, pasta or lentils.
What vegetables to use
Roasted veggies are the only way to go when it comes to this easy couscous salad. It really brings out the flavour and sweetness of them, and makes them nice and crispy which just adds to the texture of it all. We roasted up some bell peppers, red onion, cherry tomato, courgette and aubergine.
The options really are unlimited when it comes to the vegetables. Just roast up whatever you have - carrots, broccoli, butternut squash, beetroot, parsnips, radish, swede. If you can roast it, then throw it in. This is such a great recipe for using up whatever you have.
You could add some greens to this salad just before serving by mixing in some rocket lettuce (arugula), which would also give it a nice peppery flavour as well as some extra colour.
Sun-dried tomato dressing
The dressing is what really brings this whole dish together. It's citrusy, tomatoey and so simple to make. Instead of using olive oil, we used the oil from the sun-dried tomato jar and then mixed it with some lemon juice, salt and pepper, a little honey and dijon mustard and then some fresh dill to lighten it all up.
If you are short on time, you could use a store bought lemon or tomato vinaigrette.
What to serve it with
We served this up at a BBQ, so it went well with all the usual BBQ foods like burgers and sausages. However we then served the leftovers with grilled chicken and salmon and it was a lovely light lunch.
We also like to serve is as a side to Vegetable and Halloumi Skewers, Greek Lamb Souvlaki, Veggie Packed Lamb Koftas, Greek Chicken Skewers.
You can use any couscous, but we love using giant couscous (also called Israeli couscous or pearl couscous) as it has so much more texture to it and really makes the dish nice and chunky and hearty. You could also swap couscous for bulgar wheat or pearl barley to change things up a bit.
This is a really delicious, flavour packed vegetarian meal and it really doesn't miss the meat. However, if you are someone that prefers to have meat with your meals, then you can easily mix some leftover chicken in to it, or even grill a chicken breast fresh. Why not try leftovers from our Slow Cooker Whole Chicken.
Yes, this can definitely be made in advance. That's what makes it perfect for a BBQ side dish, as it can be made and then kept in the fridge until you are ready to serve. Just give it a really good stir before serving and try to add the feta just before.
We wouldn't recommend freezing this dish, so only make as much as you need or you can store the leftovers in the fridge for 2-3 days. You can also make this in advance and store it in the fridge overnight - just make sure you give everything a really good stir before serving.
• You could use olive oil, but we recommend using the oil from the jar of sun-dried tomatoes, as it's added flavour and there is no need to waste it.
• You could add some extra protein to this dish by stirring in a can of chickpeas or butter beans.
• It really is worth making the dressing yourself, as it is easy and so full of flavour. But if you are short on time, you could use a store bought lemon vinaigrette.
• If you can't find Israeli couscous then you can swap it for orzo or other small pasta shape or even regular couscous.
• Add some colour by mixing through some rocket lettuce just before serving.
More salad recipes
If you’ve tried this couscous salad recipe, let us know how you got on in the comments below.
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Roasted Vegetable Couscous Salad
- 250 g (1.5 cups) Giant (Israeli) couscous
- 10 (1 cups) Cherry tomatoes
- 1 Courgette (zucchini) - diced
- 0.5 Aubergine (eggplant) - diced
- 2 Bell peppers - diced
- 1 Red onion - small; diced
- 1 tablespoon Olive oil
- 1 pinch Sea salt and black pepper
- 60 g (0.5 cups) Feta - crumbled
- 80 g (0.66 cups) Olives - halved
- 10 (0.25 cups) Sun-dried tomatoes - chopped
- 4 tablespoon Sun-dried tomato oil - (or olive oil)
- 0.5 Lemon - (juice only)
- 1 tablespoon Honey
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1 Pinch Sea salt and black pepper
- Preheat your oven to 190°C/170°C(fan)/375°F/Gas 5.
- Put 10 Cherry tomatoes, 1 Courgette (zucchini), 0.5 Aubergine (eggplant), 2 Bell peppers and 1 Red onion onto a baking tray and add 1 tablespoon Olive oil and 1 pinch Sea salt and black pepper and stir well. Put into the oven for 35 minutes.
- Add 250 g Giant (Israeli) couscous to a pan of boiling water and simmer for 8-10 minutes and then drain.
- In a large bowl, add the couscous and vegetables.
- In a separate bowl, mix together 4 tablespoon Sun-dried tomato oil juice of 0.5 Lemon, 1 tablespoon Honey, 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard and 1 Pinch Sea salt and black pepper. Pour over the couscous and vegetables and mix well.
- Put into a serving bowl and add 80 g Olives, 10 Sun-dried tomatoes and 60 g Feta.
- You could use olive oil, but we recommend using the oil from the jar of sun-dried tomatoes, as it's added flavour and there is no need to waste it.
- You could add some extra protein to this dish by stirring in a can of chickpeas or butter beans.
- It really is worth making the dressing yourself, as it is easy and so full of flavour. But if you are short on time, you could use a store bought lemon vinaigrette.
- If you can't find Israeli couscous then you can swap it for orzo or other small pasta shape or even regular couscous.
- Add some colour by mixing through some rocket lettuce just before serving.
I love how easy this is to make!! Really amazing!
Bintu | Recipes From A Pantry
We've been leaning more towards stodgy comfort food recently since being stuck in but I am keen to get making some healthier dishes again that the kids will enjoy - I am definitely going to be giving this a try and hopefully the weather will be nice enough soon to have dinner in the garden!
Pearl couscous is my favorite kind of couscous and I agree, it's completely underrated as a side dish. I can't wait to try this recipe.
This couscous salad is so delicious. I would love to try it soon.
Just the recipe needed to break all the unhealthy binge eating! :)