This spiced vegan cous cous recipe is wholesome, packed full of flavors and so versatile that it can be your breakfast, lunch or dinner. It tastes good warm or cold and therefore a good option for a make ahead meal. The best part? It comes together in 20 minutes!
This Moroccan vegetable couscous recipe works well for me on days when I have do not have time for elaborate cooking. What make me happier is that my girls love it too! My older teen said to me the other day "I can see myself making this when I am off to university" As a parent, this was music to my ears 🙂
Ingredients for vegan cous cous recipe
The spices that I have used in this recipe might make this dish seem like a curry couscous salad to you! These spices are commonly used in Moroccan couscous and they come together so beautifully!
See the recipe card for quantities.
- Couscous - use the precooked, instant variety couscous that is found in most stores.
- Hot Stock - Use fresh stock if you have. I however use stock cube dissolved in hot water.
- Kidney Beans - I use the canned variety. If you do not have kidney beans, go ahead and use whatever canned beans you have - chickpeas, rosecoco, black eyed or lima - choice is yours. The idea is to have a good ratio of protein in this dish.
- Pantry staple vegetables - red onion (or any other), carrot and bell pepper (capsicum. Use any colored peppers I like to use contrasting colors!
- Oil - I strongly recommend using extra virgin olive oil. If not available, use any other good quality oil that has good fats.
- Spices - ground turmeric, ground coriander, ground cumin, paprika, ground cinnamon (of course!) and salt. Simple spices that bring great taste and health benefits!
- Ginger - Garlic Paste - I could grate/mince ginger and garlic, but the paste of ginger and garlic makes it a lot easier. We are in a rush, remember!
- Fresh cilantro - I use the leaves and stems. Since I add it early on in the recipe, The stem soften and lend a lot of character to the dish.
I just love the smell of anything with cinnamon in it and use it generously in my cooking - both whole and as a ground spice.
Although the sweet, woody flavor of cinnamon is generally associated with baking, sweets and pancakes (as I have in eggless pancakes), this spice works equally well in savory dishes too! In this aromatic and mild pulav rice, I have used whole cinnamon stick while in this zucchini Indian recipe, it is in the garam masala.
Did you know that couscous is a staple in regions like Morocco and North Africa?
How do you cook couscous?
The pre cooked, instant variety that we find in supermarkets do not require cooking.
Follow these tips to get the perfect texture:
- Soak the couscous in hot stock (or water) in the ratio 1:1. That is, if you take 1 cup of couscous, you will need to soak it in 1 cup of hot stock/ water. It is important to bear in mind that the stock/water must be just boiled.
- Cover the bowl with a lid and let it sit for 10 minutes.
- Remove the lid and fluff the couscous up with a fork. The couscous is now ready to be added to the dish.
Couscous by itself is bland and therefore can soak up any flavor.
Lets make this easy, healthy couscous recipe, shall we?
See the recipe card for detailed instructions, notes and video.
- Make the stock: Dissolve the stock cube in hot water and keep aside.
- Soak the couscous: Pour this hot stock over the couscous in a bowl. Cover and keep aside for 10 minutes.
3. Chop the vegetables and herbs into small pieces.
4. Measure and keep ready the rest of the ingredients.
4. Add oil to a pan on medium high heat. Add the chopped onion, carrot and bell pepper. Stir. Add the salt, ginger garlic paste and cilantro. Stir fry for 2 minutes.
5. Turn the heat down and ass the salt and other spices. Add 1-2 tablespoons of water if the pan seems too dry and the spices look like they are burning.
6. Check the couscous: It would have soaked up all the hot stock. Fluff it up with a fork. Keep aside.
7. Finish the dish: Now coming back to the dish, the vegetables should have cooked with still some crunch left in them. If you like the vegetables softer, let them cook for another 2-3 minutes.
8. Now add the beans and the couscous. Mix well. Turn off the heat. Cover and rest for 2 minutes.
Serve warm or cold with a side of your choice.
Tips and notes
For best results and texture, do not cook the couscous for too long after you add it to the pan. 2-3 minutes is enough (read the section above on how to prepare the couscous)
You can add other spices and herbs to this dish as per you choice and liking. For example, you can replace cilantro with fresh mint and add chopped green chillies if you like spice.
Couscous: Instead of the small grain, instant variety couscous, you can use pearl couscous. Cook it as per pack instructions and add it to the recipe.
Sour: I have not added any sour ingredient to this as this is. You can, if you wish add 1 to 2 teaspoons of vinegar or chopped up sun dried tomatoes to add some tanginess. I would, however, not add balsamic vinegar to this recipe just because it will overpower the taste.
Stock: You fresh stock if you have or for those of you who are ok with it, use any other stock such as fish or chicken stock.
Yes, couscous, a grain, is suitable for vegans. However, not all recipes made with couscous are vegan friendly. Do ask/ check the ingredients list to make sure it is vegan friendly.
Making couscous is so quick and easy. Just add hot water (or stock) in the ration 1:1 to the couscous. Cover and let it rest for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, uncover and fluff it up with a fork. The couscous is ready to serve!
Couscous by itself is bland and therefore can soak up any flavor. You can flavour it by adding simple spices such as ground cinnamon, coriander and cumin. Add a dash of fresh juice of lime, vinegar or sun dried tomatoes.
Yes, treat it like you would leftover rice. You can either bring it to room temperature by keeping it out on the counter, re heat it in the microwave or use it cold, straight from the refrigerator.
Couscous is a staple food in the region of Morocco. It is made with durum wheat. So one can say that couscous is the tiniest form of pasta!
I hope that you enjoy making this quick and easy vegan cous cous recipe as much as I have enjoyed sharing it with you. If you have made it, please take a moment to leave a comment and /or a rating below. This will make me super happy and motivate me to create more good content for you! xx Padma
Spiced vegan cous cous salad
- 1 bowl (for soaking couscous)
- 1 wok / frying pan
- 1 spatula
- 1 jug (to make the stock)
For the cous cous
- ½ cup couscous (use the pre cooked, instant variety)
- ½ stock cube (5 grams, approximately)
- ½ cup hot water (just boiled)
Vegetables and beans
- 1 small onion (75-100 grams)
- 1 small carrot (75-100 grams)
- 1 small bell pepper (capsicum) (75-100 grams)
- 1 large stalk fresh cilantro (leaves + stem)
- ¼ can kidney beans (or any other beans) (100 grams, approximately)
Spices and flavorings
- ½ teaspoon salt (adjust as per taste)
- ¼ teaspoon turmeric
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon, ground
- ½ teaspoon ground coriander
- ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon ground red chili or paprika
- 2 teaspoons ginger garlic paste
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
Make the stock
- Pour the hot water in a jug and add the stock cube (crumble with your fingers). Mix well till it dissolves. The stock is ready. Keep aside.
Prep the couscous
- Place the couscous in a bowl. Add the hot stock, Cover and let it sit for 10 minutes.
Prep the vegetables
- While the couscous is soaking, cut the onion, carrot and capsicum into small cubes. Chop the fresh coriander – leaves and stem.Chopping vegetables into small pieces will cook them fast.
Make the salad
- Add olive oil to a frying pan/ wok on medium high heat. Add the chopped onion, carrot and bell pepper. Stir. Fry for 2 minutes. Add the salt, ginger garlic paste and cilantro. Stir and fry for a minute.
- Turn the heat down. Add the spices and flavourings and stir well. Add a splash (1 - 2 tablespoons) of water if required. Fry the spices for 2 minutes.
Check the couscous
- By this time the couscous would have soaked up all the hot stock. Fluff it up with a fork. Keep aside.
Finish the dish
- The vegetables should have cooked with still some crunch left in them. If you like the vegetables softer, let them cook for another 2-3 minutes.
- Now add the beans and the couscous. Mix well. Turn off the heat. Cover and rest for 2 minutes.
- Serve warm with plain yogurt or any other side of your choice. I like serving it with this simple cucumber raita
Note: The nutrition information is based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.