Black Bean Couscous Salad

GFGluten FreeNFNut FreeSFRefined Sugar FreeVVegan
5 from 1 vote
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This Black Bean Couscous Salad is packed with hearty couscous, black beans, fresh vegetables, and a delicious chipotle lime dressing. Enjoy it for meal prep or as a side dish at the vegan cookout. Vegan, Gluten-Free, Oil-Free Option.

This Black Bean Couscous Salad tosses hearty couscous, protein-packed black beans, and refreshing vegetables in the most delicious chipotle lime dressing. Ready to eat in less than 30 minutes, it’s the perfect last-minute side dish for a vegan cookout or a Tex-Mex-inspired lunch!

Table of Contents
  1. An Easy Way to Eat The Rainbow
  2. Ingredients for Black Bean and Couscous Salad
  3. How to Make This Black Bean Couscous Salad
  4. Serving Suggestions
  5. How to Store Couscous Salad
  6. Substitutions and Variations
  7. Recipe FAQs
  8. Black Bean Couscous Salad with Chipotle Lime Dressing Recipe
black bean couscous salad served in a wide bowl with a spoon dug in

An Easy Way to Eat The Rainbow

This Black Bean Couscous Salad with Chipotle Lime Dressing is like a mash-up of this Southwest Quinoa Salad and this Tex-Mex Black Bean Salad, but features an unlikely ingredient: couscous!

I’m all about using quinoa, macaroni, rice, or farro in veggie salads, but switching up the usual players for bouncy, chewy, and light couscous makes this Tex-Mex salad feel extra special. Plus it’s ready to eat after only 7 minutes of soaking time! 

The couscous is tossed with canned black beans, fresh and juicy vegetables, and a smoky-zesty dressing, loading every bite with plant-based protein and delicious flavors. Enjoy it for meal prep or bring it with you to a cookout, picnic, or BBQ.

Ingredients for Black Bean and Couscous Salad

This easy Tex-Mex salad requires a handful of pantry staples and fresh vegetables. Here’s what you’ll need:

ingredients for black bean couscous salad laid out on a marble kitchen countertop
  • Couscous: While classic Tex-Mex salads are made with white rice or quinoa, I opted for couscous because it’s easy to cook and tastes super light and fluffy. Opt for small (Moroccan), medium, or large (pearl or Israeli) couscous, depending on whether you like a lighter or heartier bite.
  • Black beans: You’ll need two cans of canned black beans or 3/4 cup of dried black beans cooked fresh.
  • Tomatoes: Feel free to use sliced Roma, cherry, or grape tomatoes.
  • Bell peppers: Any color of bell pepper will do! I like using red or orange bell peppers, but yellow and green bell peppers work just as well.
  • Red onion: It adds a pop of onion-y sweetness. If raw red onion is too strong for you, soak the pieces in cold water for about 10 minutes before squeezing out the excess water and adding them to the salad.
  • Chipotle pepper in adobo: It’s a must-have for the smoky, tangy, and somewhat spicy flavors in the dressing. You can find canned chipotle peppers in adobo sauce in the international aisle of most grocery stores or in Latin markets. Save the leftover peppers and sauce for a batch of this Chipotle Black Bean Chili or this versatile Vegan Chipotle Mayo.
  • Lime juice: Pick up a couple of limes and juice them yourself for a bright pop of citrusy flavor. Feel free to zest one or both of the limes to make the dressing extra zesty.
  • Agave: Just a drizzle will help balance the bold flavors in the chipotle lime dressing. You can use maple syrup as a substitute, but the dressing will taste slightly different.

How to Make This Black Bean Couscous Salad

side-by-side images of black bean couscous salad showcasing the preparation process described below
  1. Add the couscous, garlic powder, and a pinch of salt to a large bowl. Pour boiling water over top, stir well, and cover with a lid. Fluff the cooked couscous after a few minutes, then set aside.
  2. Add the oil, chipotle pepper, lime juice, agave, and salt to a small jar. Seal with a lid and shake the jar to emulsify the dressing. Set aside.
  3. Add the black beans, tomatoes, bell pepper, cilantro, and red onion to the bowl with the couscous. Drizzle the dressing over top and toss to coat.
  4. Serve the salad right away or refrigerate until chilled.

Caitlin’s Cooking Tips

  • How to cook perfect couscous: Unlike pasta or whole grains, couscous is best when it’s steamed rather than boiled in water. Either pour boiling water over the couscous in a bowl or add the couscous to a pot of boiling water on the stove (immediately taking it off the heat). You’ll know the couscous is cooked perfectly when all of the water is absorbed and it’s super fluffy. 
  • Make the elements ahead of time: You can save a bunch of time here by making the dressing 4 days in advance, cooking the couscous up to 2 days in advance, and chopping the veggies 1 or 2 days in advance. Store everything in separate containers in the fridge, then toss them together right before serving!
  • Let it chill: If you have a couple of hours to spare, I highly recommend letting the salad chill in the fridge. This gives the flavors from the veggies and dressing time to soak into the beans and couscous, making every bite over-the-top delicious.
black bean couscous salad in a large bowl with two spoons mixing the salad

Serving Suggestions

Black bean and couscous salad is perfect for meal prep, not only because it’s easy to make ahead of time but also because it will keep you full all afternoon. Enjoy it as a balanced and light lunch throughout the week, either on its own or paired with tortilla chips for scooping or a few of these Oven Baked Refried Bean Taquitos.

Hosting a summer cookout? Make sure this salad is on the menu! Its smoky and zesty flavors make it a delicious side dish to pair with this Vegan Macaroni Salad, these Mushroom Veggie Burgers, and this Crunchy Broccoli Salad.

If you’re looking for more vegan Tex-Mex recipes, you’ll also love this Vegan Taco Casserole, this Vegan Taco Pasta Salad, and this Creamy Green Enchilada Casserole!

How to Store Couscous Salad

Transfer the leftover couscous salad to an airtight container and store it in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Enjoy it straight out of the fridge or allow it to come to room temperature before serving.

Freezing is not recommended.

Substitutions and Variations

  • Couscous Substitution: Use cooked orzo, ditalini pasta, or quinoa instead of couscous.
  • Black Bean Substitution: I like using black beans or pinto beans for a Tex-Mex feel. If you don’t have either, you can use chickpeas or any other canned bean you have at home.
  • Oil-Free Option: Use my Creamy Cilantro Dressing instead of the chipotle lime dressing. 
  • More Mix-In Ideas: Add avocado for healthy fats, stir a dollop of vegan mayonnaise or yogurt into the dressing to make it creamy, or add extra vegetables, like corn kernels, pickled jalapenos, chopped baby spinach, or diced cucumbers.
black bean couscous salad served in a wide bowl with a spoon dug in

Recipe FAQs

What is couscous?

Couscous is a very small North African pasta made from semolina flour.

Can I use dry black beans instead?

Yes! After soaking 3/4 cup of dry black beans in water overnight, add them to a pot the next day and cover them with fresh water. Heat to a boil and simmer the beans until tender.

Should black bean couscous salad be served warm or cold?

I recommend serving the salad either chilled or at room temperature to experience the refreshing and zesty flavors in all their glory.

Enjoy! If you make this recipe and decide to share it on Facebook or Instagram, don’t forget to tag me @FromMyBowl + #FromMyBowl! I would also love it if you could leave a comment below with a recipe rating! Thank you for the support 😊

Black Bean Couscous Salad with Chipotle Lime Dressing

5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 20 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 4 servings
This Black Bean Couscous Salad is packed with hearty couscous, black beans, fresh vegetables, and a delicious chipotle lime dressing. Enjoy it for meal prep or as a side dish at the vegan cookout. Vegan, Gluten-Free, Oil-Free Option.


For the Salad:

  • 1 cup Couscous
  • 1 ¼ cups water
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • Kosher salt to taste
  • 2 15 ounce cans black beans drained and rinsed
  • 10 ounces diced tomatoes roma, cherry, or grape
  • 1 red or orange bell pepper diced
  • 1/2 bunch cilantro finely chopped
  • 1/2 red onion fine dice

For the Dressing:


  • Cook the Couscous: Bring the water to a boil on the stovetop or in an electric kettle. Add the couscous and garlic powder to a large bowl with a pinch of salt and pour the boiling water over it; mix well, then cover with a plate or lid and let sit for 7 minutes. Fluff with a fork and set aside. (Note: if you are warming the water on the stovetop, you can remove it from the heat and add the couscous directly to the pot)
  • Make the Dressing: Add the oil to a small jar along with the chipotle pepper, lime juice, agave, and salt. Seal the jar and shake well until emulsified; set aside.
  • Combine: Add the black beans, tomatoes, bell pepper, cilantro, and red onion to the bowl with the couscous. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss well until everything is combined.
  • Serve & Store: Enjoy immediately; if making for meal prep, transfer the salad into individual mason jars and store in the refrigerator. Leftovers will keep in the fridge for up to 5 days.


Calories: 493kcalCarbohydrates: 75gProtein: 18gFat: 15gSaturated Fat: 2gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 10gSodium: 311mgPotassium: 769mgFiber: 16gSugar: 6gVitamin A: 1056IUVitamin C: 56mgCalcium: 85mgIron: 4mg
Keyword: black bean couscous salad, black bean salad recipes, couscous salad, pasta salad, vegan salad recipes
Course: Salad
Method: No-Bake
Cuisine: Mexican
Diet: Gluten Free, Vegan, Vegetarian

About the Author

Hey there, I’m Caitlin! I make easy-to-follow, wholesome, and budget-friendly vegan recipes that are mostly gluten-free and refined sugar-free. I’m also an avid yogi, love the great outdoors, am chocolate-obsessed, and enjoy eating almond butter straight off of the spoon.

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  1. 5 stars
    Ok, your Instagram has influenced me again, ha! I made this recipe after seeing it on IG a week ago and I wasn’t disappointed, it’s delicious and the perfect easy meal. I will say I substituted quinoa for the couscous as I can’t eat gluten, so I used that suggestion and it worked really well. I’ll have leftovers for lunches for the next few days. Thanks again for such great recipes!