White Bean Carrot Couscous Salad

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This Moroccan-inspired White Bean Carrot Couscous Salad is an easy lunch made with exciting North African flavors, hearty beans, and fluffy couscous. Vegan. Gluten-Free and Nut-Free Options.

This White Bean and Carrot Couscous Salad features soft and creamy white beans, carrots, nuts, and fluffy couscous tossed in a vibrant Moroccan-inspired dressing. It’s an exciting lunch or side dish that’s ready in 20 minutes!

Table of Contents
  1. Couscous Salad with North African-Inspired Flavors
  2. Ingredients for White Bean Carrot Couscous Salad
  3. How to Make a Moroccan-Inspired Couscous Salad
  4. Serving Suggestions
  5. How to Store Couscous Salad
  6. Recipe FAQs
  7. White Bean Carrot Couscous Salad Recipe
bean carrot couscous salad served on an oval plate topped with fresh parsley

Couscous Salad with North African-Inspired Flavors

As much as I love whipping up a classic quinoa salad for summer meals, getting creative in the kitchen with more flavor-forward combinations is so much more fun. So, after quickly falling for couscous in my Curry Couscous Chickpea Salad recipe, I knew this hearty pasta would be the perfect base for more of my summer salads, like this White Bean Carrot Couscous Salad.

There’s no shortage of exciting, North African-inspired flavors in this nourishing couscous salad. Spicy-ish harissa paste, fresh lemon juice, and smoked paprika transform the dressing into a flavor-packed powerhouse, while couscous, a staple in Moroccan cooking, is a light and fluffy base. And the carrots, white beans, and pine nuts? They bring fun textures to every bite!

What’s better is that this salad does not get soggy or dry out in the fridge, so it’s perfect for a quick, healthy, and easy make-ahead lunch to enjoy throughout the week.

Ingredients for White Bean Carrot Couscous Salad

Pantry staples and a handful of fresh vegetables, herbs, and spices come together in this easy salad.

ingredients for white bean carrot couscous salad served in bowls in different sizes on a light burgundy kitchen counter
  • Couscous: This quick-cooking small pasta feels light and fluffy in this bean and vegetable salad. It’s also a staple in North African cooking, which helps it fit right in with the other vibrant flavors and ingredients!
  • Carrots: Either shred the carrots yourself or buy pre-shredded carrots to save time.
  • Cannellini beans: Canned cannellini beans are soft, creamy, and loaded with plant-based protein. If you can’t find cannellini beans, you can use Great Northern beans, Navy beans, black-eyed peas, or lima beans instead.
  • Pine nuts: Super buttery and nutty, pine nuts make this salad feel very elegant! The only downfall is their price tag, so feel free to use slivered almonds as a more budget-friendly alternative.
  • Parsley: It adds a lovely fresh flavor and a pop of green to the salad. Try to stick with fresh flat-leaf parsley for the most refreshing flavor.
  • Lemon juice and zest: Opt for freshly squeezed lemon juice for the freshest, tangiest flavor.
  • Harissa paste: Harissa is a Moroccan hot chili pepper paste with a spicy, smoky flavor. Feel free to substitute this with sambal oelek, sriracha, or gochujang paste for a similar flavor.
  • Smoked paprika: It adds a smoky depth that can’t be beat! You can use regular paprika if you can’t find smoked paprika.

How to Make a Moroccan-Inspired Couscous Salad

side-by-side images with the image in the left showing the ingredients placed on a wide bowl and the image on the right showing the salad served on an oval plate
  1. Boil the water, then pour it over top of the couscous in a large bowl. Stir well, cover the bowl with a lid, and let it sit. Fluff the couscous when it has absorbed the water.
  2. Shred the carrots in a food processor until finely chopped. 
  3. Add the dressing ingredients to a glass jar, seal with a lid, and shake to combine.
  4. Add the beans, shredded carrots, red onion, parsley, and pine nuts to the bowl with the couscous. Pour the dressing over top and toss to coat.
  5. Serve the salad right away or store it in the fridge for later.

Caitlin’s Cooking Tips

  • Measure the water carefully: The best couscous is light, airy, and fluffy. To achieve this perfect texture, you must measure the water carefully and use the exact amount listed on the recipe card (1 ¼ cups).
  • Toast the pine nuts: By toasting the pine nuts in a dry skillet over medium heat until golden brown, you’ll draw out their natural oils to make them 10 times as fragrant and flavorful! 
  • Finely shred the carrots: I highly recommend shredding the carrots in a food processor instead of by hand. Use the S-blade attachment, then process until the carrots are finely chopped (it’ll only take about 30 to 45 seconds). Be careful not to overprocess them into a pulp.

Serving Suggestions

The bouncy couscous, protein-rich beans, fresh veggies, and toasted nuts in this couscous salad make it a healthy and filling meal prep option. Feel free to pair it with this Crispy Tofu to satisfy heartier appetites. 

Or, serve it as a protein-dense side dish next to these Rainbow Veggie Hummus Sandwiches or this Vegan Eggplant Reuben Sandwich for a well-balanced lunch or light dinner.

If you’re looking for more bean salad recipes, you’ll also love this Dilly White Bean and Cucumber Salad and this Easy Tex Mex Black Bean Salad!

white bean couscous salad served in a wide bowl with spoons dug in to stir the salad

How to Store Couscous Salad

Store any leftover salad in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. I recommend keeping the individual servings in separate containers or jars if you plan on enjoying them for lunches during the week.

I personally love this salad when it’s served at room temperature, but it’s just as tasty after it’s been chilling in the fridge.

Substitutions and Variations

  • Gluten-Free Option: Replace the couscous with quinoa to make this salad gluten-free. Cook the quinoa according to package directions.
  • Nut-Free Option: Pumpkin seeds are a great substitute for the pine nuts here.
  • Add Dried Fruit: Feel free to stir in a handful of raisins, currants, and/or dried apricots for a tangy pop of flavor that goes well with the other Moroccan flavors.
bean carrot couscous salad served on an oval plate topped with fresh parsley

Recipe FAQs

What kind of couscous should I use?

I like using fine-textured couscous in salads because it doesn’t take long to soak. You can opt for larger couscous shapes instead (like pearl or Israeli couscous), but they will take longer to cook (always follow the package instructions).

Can I use dried beans instead of canned beans?

Yes, but you’ll need to soak the white beans overnight and boil them in fresh water until they’re soft the next day.

Is couscous gluten-free?

No, couscous is a type of pasta made from semolina flour, so it is not inherently gluten-free. Quinoa or gluten-free couscous will work well as a substitute here.

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 😊

White Bean Carrot Couscous Salad

Prep Time 20 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 4 servings
This Moroccan-inspired White Bean Carrot Couscous Salad is an easy lunch made with exciting North African flavors, hearty beans, and fluffy couscous. Vegan. Gluten-Free and Nut-Free Options.

Ingredients
 
 

  • 1 cup dry couscous
  • 1 1/4 cups water
  • kosher salt to taste
  • 4-5 carrots
  • 30 ounces cannellini beans drained and rinsed (2 cans)
  • 1/2 bunch flat leaf parsley roughly chopped
  • 1/4 red onion fine dice
  • 1/2 cup toasted pine nuts*

For the Dressing:

Instructions

  • Cook the Couscous: Bring the water to a boil on the stovetop or in an electric kettle. Add the couscous 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)
  • Vegetable Prep: Peel the carrots and trim the ends. Chop the carrots into 2-3” pieces and add to a food processor with an S-blade attachment. Process until finely chopped, 30 to 45 seconds. (Note: You can opt to finely dice the carrots as well, but this method is faster)
  • Make the Dressing: Add the oil to a small jar along with the lemon zest, lemon juice, harissa, garlic, smoked paprika, and salt. Seal the jar and shake well until emulsified; set aside.
  • Combine: Add the beans, carrot, red onion, parsley, and pine nuts 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.

Recipe Notes

  • Gluten-Free: Couscous is not gluten-free, but you can make this salad with cooked quinoa instead! Cook 1 cup of dry quinoa according to package directions and proceed with the rest of the recipe as written.
  • Toasted Pine Nuts: Warm a pan over medium heat and add the pine nuts; stir frequently until they are fragrant and golden brown, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside. You can also swap the pine nuts for slivered almonds, or use pumpkin seeds if you have a nut allergy!
  • Harissa: Harissa is a Moroccan hot chili pepper paste with a spicy, smoky flavor. If you cannot find harissa you can substitute it with Sambal Olek or Sriracha, or Gochujang for a similar flavor.

Nutrition

Calories: 581kcalCarbohydrates: 75gProtein: 20gFat: 26gSaturated Fat: 3gPolyunsaturated Fat: 7gMonounsaturated Fat: 13gSodium: 833mgPotassium: 397mgFiber: 15gSugar: 4gVitamin A: 10346IUVitamin C: 5mgCalcium: 167mgIron: 6mg
Keyword: carrot couscous salad, carrot salad, couscous salad, summer salad recipes, vegan salad recipes
Course: Salad
Method: Stovetop
Cuisine: Mediterranean
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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