This Caribbean Couscous Salad Recipe is a perfect taste of summer! My Cold Couscous Salad is filled with island-inspired sweet mango, creamy avocado, hearty black beans, crisp red peppers, red onion, cilantro, and finished with a bright lime-based vinaigrette dressing. This is a light, healthy and vegan meal or side dish that will have everyone asking for seconds.
Couscous Salad Recipe
Summer is winding down but before I'm ready to let go, I have one last delicious tropical recipe to share with you... my Caribbean Couscous Salad Recipe! This simple recipe is perfect for a summer cookout OR anytime over the next 9 months, you need a taste of something island-inspired. My Summer Couscous Salad has juicy mangos, crisp red peppers, hearty black beans, and creamy avocados making this salad exactly what you need to think warm thoughts.
This vegan and dairy-free cold salad had hearty black beans making it a great well-rounded vegan or vegetarian meal on its own OR also would be fabulous as a side dish to your favorite summer meals like shrimp or veggie burgers. It's great for a party because you can serve it at room temperature or cold. It's also great as leftovers!Caribbean Couscous Salad for Summer Cookouts! Click To Tweet
Summer Couscous Salad Recipe
There are so many ways to make and enjoy a good couscous salad recipe, but this one is perfect for summer or anytime you need a summer take of mind. Most Couscous Salads feature the lemony Mediterranean or Israeli flavors but mine has sweet mango, black beans, and creamy avocado. It's finished with a bright LIME-based citrus dressing with handfuls of cilantro that is totally different and unexpected.
The flavors really POP and the mango gives you a taste of good ole summer on an island.
What is couscous?
Couscous is a totally underrated pantry-staple that is a lovely alternative to rice, quinoa, or noodles. It's a staple in Morocco and Northern Africa. It's actually not really a grain and is a type of pasty with crushed durum wheat semolina that's formed in small spheres. It has a slightly nutty flavor but it's generally neutral and easily absorbed flavors making it a great base for a salad like this.
It's a great option because it cooks fast in just a few minutes and stores in the pantry.
Is couscous healthy?
Yes! Couscous has a similar calorie content to other pasta but is lower than rice. The whole-grain version is a great source of carbohydrates. It's also a wonderful source of selenium a mineral with powerful antioxidants. If eaten in moderation it's a wonderful addition to a well-balanced diet.
If you are eating a low-carb or gluten-free diet it might not be for you because it does contain both of those.
Here's what you'll need to make this Cold Couscous Salad.
For the Salad:
- Couscous: You'll need an unseasoned package or couscous for this recipe. I made my version with traditional smaller couscous but you could also use pearl or Israeli couscous. I like to keep a container like this in my pantry to make easy couscous salad recipes.
- Mango: Look for a mango that's still firm but has a little bit of give when you hold it... similar to picking a peach. If you need help peeling the mango check out my video on the easiest way to peel a mango.
- Black Beans: A basic can of black beans works great in this recipe. To reduce the sodium levels use reduced-sodium beans and rinse and drain them well before using them in the recipe.
- Bell Pepper: You can use any color of bell pepper in this salad but I like the color the red bell pepper ads to the dish.
- Red Onion: A fresh red onion adds the perfect flavor to this dish.
- Cilantro: A generous handful of cilantro adds tons of flavor to this dish while keeping it healthy.
- Avocado: Pick an avocado that's not too ripe so it will maintain its shape when tossed into the salad. You'll want to add the avocado right before serving this so it doesn't turn brown and mushy.
For the Dressing:
- Avocado Oil: This Avocado Oil works great with the flavors in this salad. You can also use any other neutral-flavored oil.
- White Wine Vinegar: A clean and bright White Wine Vinegar brings this dressing together.
- Lime: Using lime instead of lemon really brings out the Caribbean flavors.
- Honey: I like adding just a touch of honey to this dressing to bring out the sweetness of the dish.
- Salt and Pepper to Taste
- Cook the couscous according to the package instructions and allow it to cool.
- While it's cooking and cooling chop up your mango, bell pepper, onion, and cilantro.
- In the bottom of a large bowl whisk together the couscous salad dressing.
- Add the couscous, mango, bell pepper, onion, and cilantro to the bowl and toss.
- When you are ready to serve it cut the avocado and carefully fold it into the couscous salad recipe.
- Make it Greek: Mix chickpeas, tomato, cucumber, olives, and feta with couscous.
- Make it Lemon Herb: Mix cucumber, tomato, fresh basil, oregano, and lemon together.
- Make it Morrocan: Add chickpeas, cucumber, and mint.
Can I make this Couscous Salad recipe ahead of time?
Yes, this dish is fabulous to make ahead of time. Just be sure to add the avocado right before stirring it so it doesn't turn brown.
Can I freeze this recipe?
This Couscous Salad recipe would not be great for freezing and would not maintain its texture.
Can I substitute anything for the couscous?
YES! This salad would be great with any grain or pasta! Feel free to use quinoa, pasta, or even rice.
Make it a Meal
I actually love this Cold Couscous Salad Recipe on its own as a light vegan or vegetarian meal BUT it's also a lovely side dish. If you are not vegetarian or vegan, round out the meal add some simple grilled shrimp or chicken.
If you serve it as a side dish, here are some more delicious and healthy recipes to have as your main course.
- Grilled Honey Lime Shrimp Skewers
- Homemade Black Bean Burgers
- Healthy Shrimp Quesadilla
- Blueberry Pineapple Salsa
- Blackened Shrimp Lettuce Tacos
- Mexican Stuffed Peppers
Caribbean Couscous Salad for Summer Cookouts! Click To Tweet
More Healthy Salads to Love:
- Rainbow Chickpea Salad
- Asian Edamame Quinoa Salad
- Balsamic Honey Grilled Vegetable Quinoa Salad
- Mediterranean Chickpea Salad with Feta
- Cucumber, Avocado, and Feta Quinoa Salad
Caribbean Couscous Salad Recipe
For the Couscous Salad Recipe:
- 1 cup couscous
- 1 14.5 ounce canned black beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 red bell pepper, diced
- 1 mango, diced
- ½ red onion, diced
- 1 avocado, diced
- ½ cup cilantro, chopped
For the Couscous Salad Dressing:
- 1 tablespoon avocado oil
- 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
- 1 lime, juiced
- 1 tablespoon honey
- salt and pepper to taste
- Cook the couscous according to package instructions. Fluff and allow to cool.
- In the bottom of a large mixing bowl whisk together avocado oil, white wine vinegar, lime juice, honey and salt and pepper.
- Put the couscous, black beans, red bell pepper, mango, red onion and cilantro in the bowl. Toss until the couscous salad recipe is well coated.
- When you are ready to serve the salad carefully fold in the diced avocado.
- Serve room temperature or chilled with an extra garnish or cilantro.
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