Couscous Pomegranate Salad

Author: Sarah Cobacho

Published: April 26, 2024

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Freshly tossed couscous pomegranate salad in a wooden bowl from a front view, ready to add the dressing and serve.

You’re going to love the vibrant colors and flavors of this Couscous Pomegranate Salad! Packed with a variety of nourishing plants, it’s perfect for a quick lunch or a festive side dish. Enjoy vibrant turmeric-spiced pearl couscous, crispy harissa chickpeas, sweet butternut squash, and refreshing cucumber and mint. It’s all brought together with a tangy tahini yogurt sauce with roasted garlic and sprinkled with beautiful pomegranate seeds. Now that’s what I have in mind when I say I want a salad! A big bowl of fresh vegetables with lots of different textures and bold flavors will keep you full and satisfied for hours. Long gone are the days of sad green side salads!

Each serving contains 24 g of protein, 25 mg of vitamin C, and a whopping 11 mg of iron, which is combined with vitamin C-rich ingredients for maximum absorption. Not only is this salad gorgeous and delicious, but it will also make you feel amazing!

It’s sure to brighten your table and your day!

Why This Recipe Works

  • Rich in nutrients: Packed with vitamins and minerals to support overall health.
  • Rich in fiber and protein: Keeps you full and satisfied.
  • Quick and easy: Simple ingredients, minimal prep, and cooking time.
  • Vibrant flavors: A delightful combination of sweet, spicy, and tangy elements.
  • Perfect for any occasion: Ideal for a nutritious lunch or a light dinner.
Overhead shot of a wooden bowl filled with a colorful couscous pomegranate salad on a white table.

Ingredient Notes

  • Chickpeas: A great source of protein and fiber. Can substitute with butter beans or lentils if preferred.
  • Butternut Squash: High in vitamins A and E, great for skin and eye health. Sweet potatoes make a suitable substitute.
  • Pomegranate: Adds a pop of color and is rich in vitamin C, which helps absorb iron from the rest of the recipe.
  • Tahini: Provides a creamy texture and is a good source of calcium.
  • Harissa Paste: Adds a unique spice; adjust the amount based on your heat preference or substitute with another chili paste.
Ingredients for couscous pomegranate salad neatly organized and labeled on a white background.

How to make this recipe (summary)

Start by preheating your oven to 360°F/180°C. Coat the chickpeas in harissa paste and toss the butternut squash with olive oil, smoked paprika, and cumin. Roast both on a tray until the chickpeas are crispy and the squash is tender. Prepare the couscous with turmeric, then cool it under cold water. Blend the tahini, yogurt, roasted garlic, and lemon for the sauce. Mix all ingredients in a large bowl and top with pistachios and pomegranate before serving. View recipe card below for detailed instructions.

Prep bowls of vibrant ingredients for couscous pomegranate salad on a bright white surface.

Variations and Tips

  • Switch the greens: Use arugula or spinach instead of mesclun for a different flavor profile.
  • Add nuts: Walnuts or almonds can replace pistachios for added crunch.
  • Protein boost: Replace the chickpeas with chunks of grilled tofu or tempeh to make it even more filling.
  • Storage tip: Best enjoyed fresh, but can be stored in the fridge for up to two days.

Why You’ll Love This Couscous Pomegranate Salad

  • Nutritious
  • Colorful
  • Filling
  • Flavorful
  • Wholesome
Overhead shot of a wooden bowl filled with a colorful couscous pomegranate salad on a white table.

Couscous Pomegranate Salad

4.8 from 5 votes
A nourishing salad combining fiber and iron-rich ingredients with a tangy tahini yogurt sauce. Perfect for a nutritious meal with bold flavors.
Sarah Cobacho (plantbaes.com)
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time25 minutes
Cooling Time 15 minutes
Total Time40 minutes

Video

Servings 2

Ingredients

  • 1.5 cups cooked chickpeas
  • 2 tsp harissa paste
  • 2 cups diced butternut squash
  • ½ tsp cumin
  • ½ tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • cup dry wholemeal pearl couscous
  • ¼ tsp turmeric
  • 1 dash freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1 dash sea salt
  • 2 cups mesclun
  • 1 Lebanese cucumber (finely diced)
  • 2 tbsp raisins
  • ¼ cup mint (finely chopped)
  • ¼ cup pomegranate
  • 2 tbsp chopped pistachios

Tahini Yogurt Sauce

  • 1 tbsp hulled tahini
  • 3 garlic cloves (skin on)
  • 1 lemon
  • ½ cup dairy-free yogurt (I used soy)
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup (optional – see notes)

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 360 °F.
  • Coat the chickpeas with the harissa paste. Combine the butternut squash with the olive oil, smoked paprika, and cumin. Spread both on a baking tray and bake on the upper rack for 20 to 25 minutes until the chickpeas are crispy.
  • Cut the bottom hard part of the garlic cloves while keeping the skin on (this will prevent them from burning), and chop the lemon in half. Add the garlic and lemons (face down) to a baking tray. Cook on the middle rack of the oven for 15 minutes. Allow it to cool down slightly, then remove the garlic peel (it should peel off easily with your hands). Then, squeeze out the lemon juice and flesh.
  • In the meantime, prepare the couscous: In a small saucepan, combine the pearl couscous, turmeric, black pepper, and salt. Cook according to the couscous packet instructions. Once cooked, rinse under cold water to prevent sticking.
  • Prepare the whipped tahini sauce: in a small blender attachment, add the tahini, yogurt, garlic, and roasted lemon juice and flesh. Blend until smooth. Taste and adjust with maple syrup if using. Alternatively, if you do not have a blender, smash the garlic with a fork and whisk in the tahini, lemon juice, and yogurt.
  • In a large salad bowl, combine the mesclun, cucumber, raisins, roasted butternut squash, and chickpeas. Top with pomegranate, pistachios, and mint, and drizzle the tahini dressing. Adjust salt to taste and enjoy!

Notes

Maple syrup: The sweetness of yogurt varies significantly depending on the brand, as does the bitterness of tahini. After blending, taste the mixture. If you wish, you can add a bit of maple syrup to sweeten the sauce. Keep in mind that the salad itself has some sweet components due to the raisins and butternut squash.

Per Serving

Calories 638kcalCarbohydrates 100gProtein 24gFat 20gSodium 178mgFiber 25gVitamin A 1428IUVitamin C 54mgCalcium 342mgIron 11mg
COURSE Salad
CUISINE Mediterranean-Inspired
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FAQ

Can I make this salad gluten-free?

Yes, simply use quinoa or another gluten-free grain instead of couscous.

Is this recipe suitable for meal prep?

Absolutely, it holds up well in the fridge for a couple of days.

How can I make this salad more kid-friendly?

Reduce the harissa paste for less spice, and add more raisins for sweetness.

What are the best occasions to serve this salad?

It’s perfect for picnics, potlucks, or as a vibrant side dish at dinner parties.

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3 Comments

  1. You’re going to love this easy and beautiful grilled broccolini and pomegranate salad, packed with fiber, protein, and fresh flavors! Make sure to rate it 5 stars if you enjoyed it!5 stars

4.80 from 5 votes (3 ratings without comment)

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