Couscous salad is a classic BBQ side dish or light lunch that's perfect in summer. Fresh asparagus, green peas and broad beans make the most of summer veggies while pine nuts add a delicious flavour boost and crunch. This vegan couscous salad is made even better with a lemon dressing and the addition of plenty of fresh herbs. Just delicious.
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I absolutely love the time of year when summer vegetables are in season. You just can’t beat the taste of fresh asparagus, broad beans and peas.
Ok, new potatoes, homegrown tomatoes and baby courgettes are pretty good too.
But there’s something about the combination of asparagus and broad beans that is really special.
I’ve combined them with peas and couscous in this summer salad recipe. A vegetarian version of this salad would probably contain feta cheese. Rather than using a vegan cheese alternative here I’ve used pine nuts, which are one of my favourite ways to add an extra flavour boost to vegan dishes.
This salad also contains plenty of olive oil, lemon juice and salt and pepper.
Easy to make
One of the best things about this summer couscous salad is how easy it is to make. No-one wants to spend a lot of time slaving over a hot stove on a warm summer’s day. And there’s very little actual cooking involved with this recipe.
- The couscous simply soaks in boiling water and absorbs it.
- I like to double pod my broad beans which involves blanching them - cooking in hot water then plunging into ice cold water - about 2-3 minutes cooking time.
- The asparagus and peas need to be cooked for just a few minutes
- And finally the pine nuts are best when toasted.
All in all that’s less than ten minutes cooking and you can do most of it at the same time, meaning that it's even less.
How do you prepare broad beans?
As mentioned above I like to double pod my broad beans (also known as fava beans).
When you remove the outer casing you are left with large beans with a grey-ish casing. You can cook them and eat them with this outer skin on but they are a beautiful colour and taste much nicer if you remove it.
The easiest way to do this is to blanch them - cook in boiling water for 2-3 minutes, then drain and place in a bowl of iced water. Once cool enough to touch you can squeeze the delicate green inner broad bean through the outer skin.
Read more about how to double pod broad beans.
Is couscous difficult to prepare?
Couscous is easy to make. It doesn’t require any active cooking time - after all it’s being rehydrated rather than cooked (most couscous available to us here in the UK is pre-cooked).
Simply place your couscous in a heatproof bowl - here I use 240g.
Pour over 300ml boiling water and cover with a lid.
Remove the lid after five minutes and fluff up with a fork. Add olive oil and salt and pepper or use your couscous in the recipe below.
For full recipe including ingredients list, quantities and method please see the recipe card at the bottom of the page.
- 240g couscous
- 300ml boiling water
- 200g asparagus
- 130g double podded broad beans, approx 8-10 pods
- 150g peas
- Small handful pine nuts,
- Small handful fresh mint or basil leaves
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- Salt and pepper, to taste
This couscous salad is suitable for vegetarians and vegans.
Couscous is made from wheat so it isn't suitable for anyone following a gluten free diet. However, you could substitute quinoa in its place if you need it to be gluten free.
This salad is also nut free. Despite the name, pine nuts are actually a seed. Pine nut allergies are rare but check with the person you're cooking for if you're not sure.
More salads you might like
- Colourful shredded cabbage salad with sumac dressing
- Fennel and orange salad
- Rainbow salad
- Roasted cauliflower and pomegranate salad
- Asparagus, watercress and radish salad
- Pea and asparagus salad
Or if you love asparagus take a look at these 12 vegan asparagus recipes.
How to make summer couscous, broad bean and asparagus salad
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Broad bean and couscous salad
- 240 g couscous
- 300 ml boiling water
- 200 g asparagus cut into thirds and woody stems discarded
- 130 g double podded broad beans see notes below approx 8-10 pods
- 150 g peas frozen or podded, cooked
- Small handful pine nuts toasted
- Small handful fresh mint or basil leaves torn up
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Place 240g couscous in a bowl and cover with 300ml boiling water. Leave for five minutes to absorb the water and then fluff up with a fork.
- While the couscous is soaking, chop your asparagus into thirds and place in a frying pan with a tablespoon of water. Heat up then reduce the heat to low, cover with a lid and cook for 2-3 minutes until just staring to soften. Set aside and allow to cool.
- If you haven’t already double podded your broad beans* (see note below) and cooked your peas do so now.
- Toast a small handful of pine nuts in a dry frying pan and leave to cool.
- Add the asparagus, broad beans and peas, pine nuts and herbs to the couscous. Mix well then add 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1 tablespoon lemon juice. Mix again.
- Season to taste with salt and pepper, adding more olive and lemon juice if needed.
- I prefer to double pod my broad beans. This means you get the vibrant green coloured inner beans and you don’t have to eat the grey-ish outer skin. Find out more about how to double pod broad beans.
- Nutritional information is approximate and is intended as a guide only.
Find out more about how to cook asparagus.
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