This warm couscous salad is loaded with roasted veggies, seasoned with a classic Moroccan spice blend, and comes together in just 30 minutes! It’s the perfect side dish to serve with any protein year round. Plus, the combination of zucchini, bell peppers, and onion can easily be swapped out with any of your family’s favorite roasted vegetables.

a bowl of warm couscous salad

Why We Love Couscous Salads

Couscous is a pretty magical form of cracked pasta (usually made from semolina), that’s extremely popular in Moroccan recipes.

It’s commonly served as a base for tagines and lamb dishes.

This recipe takes oven roasted vegetables seasoned with a warming Moroccan spice rub, ras el hanout, and tosses them with perfectly cooked, fluffy couscous. The result is a side dish that’s packed with flavor and easy to pair with lamb, chicken, fish, and so much more.

If you enjoy the flavors in this recipe, be sure to check out this Authentic Moroccan Couscous and these Ras el Hanout Chicken Thighs.

bowls of couscous, spices, oil, and more

Ingredients

Here’s a grocery list for making this Moroccan couscous salad:

See recipe card for quantities.

Step by Step Instructions

Hint: You can also add a teaspoon of ras el hanout to the couscous water before adding the couscous, to infuse with even more flavor.

a bowl of warm couscous salad

What to Eat it With

This warm couscous salad is the perfect side to many different proteins.

Here are some classic Moroccan pairings:

kefta on a plate of couscous salad

Tips for Cooking Perfectly Fluffy Couscous

I recommend following the directions and ratios on the packaging of your couscous. That said, there a few universal tips that will help achieve perfectly fluffy couscous:

  • Pick a high quality Moroccan couscous – This kind of couscous is usually larger in size and yields a fluffier end result compared to instant couscous.
  • Use the right amount of liquid – As mentioned before, make sure to follow the ratio of water to couscous precisely. Measure with measuring cups so that the end result isn’t mushy or dry.
  • Remove couscous from heat – Most package instructions will include this step, but it really helps to remove the couscous from the stovetop as soon as you add it and give everything a stir before covering. This helps the couscous to cook evenly and allows the liquid to distribute evenly.
  • Fluff with a fork – Again, most package instructions include this, but always fluff your couscous before serving (or mixing with roasted veggies). This step helps in creating those perfectly cooked, light and fluffy individual pieces of couscous.
  • Don’t overcook – This goes along with following the directions, but be sure to fluff your couscous as soon as it’s rested covered for the recommended time. This helps to prevent it from sticking together or overcooking and becoming mushy.

You can also add a dash of ras el hanout to the water, to infuse the couscous with even more flavor.

a hand holding a bowl of couscous salad

Substitutions

Here are some simple substitutions in case you don’t have everything required to make this recipe:

Add In Variations

As mentioned above, the veggies in this warm couscous salad are easily customizable. Here are some easy variations you can try:

  • Chickpeas – Feel free to add in some crispy baked chickpeas or raw chickpeas to the end result to amp up the protein and make this a complete meal.
  • Root Veggies – Get inspired by seasonal produce! My dad used to make a version of this recipe using roasted rainbow carrots and turnips. He would also add a touch of brown sugar into the spice blend to bring out the sweetness in the veggies.
  • Cold Vegetables – You’ve likely seen more cold couscous salads than warm ones. They usually incorporate veggies like cucumbers, tomatoes, and sometimes kalamata olives (for a more Greek salad inspired dish). If you want the salad to be cold, be sure to let the couscous cool before mixing in the veggies.
  • Raisins & Almonds – To honor some popular Moroccan flavors, you can try adding raisins (either classic or golden) and some shaved almonds. This adds a sweet and salty, crunchy element to the salad.

Also be sure to check out this more traditional Moroccan couscous recipe!

a bowl of warm couscous salad

Storage

This salad keeps well when stored in the fridge in an air tight container. It should keep for up to 5 days. Reheat in the microwave or stovetop.

I do not recommend freezing as the cooked couscous gets mushy when thawed.

Top Tip

My top tip for ensuring this recipe comes together perfectly is to work on the couscous once the vegetables are roasting in the oven.

Once the veggies are done, you can toss them with the couscous and put everything back into the pot where the couscous was cooked, and cover it to keep things warm.

This helps to result in warm veggies and couscous in the end result.

a bowl of warm couscous salad

More Salads We Love

Enjoy,

the name Salima
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a bowl of warm couscous salad

30-Minute Warm Couscous Salad

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  • Author: Salima Benkhalti
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x
  • Category: Side Dish
  • Method: Roasted
  • Cuisine: Moroccan, American
  • Diet: Vegan

Description

This warm couscous salad is loaded with roasted veggies, seasoned with a classic Moroccan spice blend, and comes together in just 30 minutes! It’s the perfect side dish to serve with any protein year round. Plus, the combination of zucchini, bell peppers, and onion can easily be swapped out with any of your family’s favorite roasted vegetables.


Ingredients

Units Scale

Instructions

  1.  Dice the veggies. Chop the vegetables into consistent bite sized pieces.
  2. Roast the veggies. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit / 205 degrees Celcius. Toss the veggies with olive oil and ras el hanout to coat evenly. Spread out on a parchment lined sheet pan and roast for 15-20 minutes, or until the onions begin to caramelize. 
  3. Cook the couscous. While the veggies roast, cook 1 cup of the couscous according to package instructions. Fluff with a fork, cover, and set aside.
  4. Combine veggies & couscous. In a large bowl toss the veggies with the cooked couscous. Optional: top with crumbled feta cheese & minced herbs. Serve & enjoy!

Notes

Hint: You can also add a teaspoon of ras el hanout to the couscous water before adding the couscous, to infuse the couscous with even more flavor.