Lemon Couscous Salad with Chickpeas

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This refreshing lemon couscous salad with chickpeas is super easy to prepare and makes a light yet delicious vegan meal or side dish, also perfect for potlucks and BBQs. And it’s ready in not time!

Essentially, it’s just the kind of meal I’m craving during this hot summer weather. It’s light, full of juicy tomatoes, cucumber, chickpeas and brighten up by a flavorsome lemon dressing.

lemon couscous salad with cherry tomatoes and cucumber on a brown plate.

Firstly, the average cooking time for couscous is about 5 minutes, as easy as making a cup of tea. In those 5 minutes, you can cut your cherry tomatoes, cucumber, and open a can of chickpeas. Pour over the dressing, lemon zest, toss, and taste. You’re done.

Fresh, tasty, and convenient, this lemon couscous salad tastes delicious, it keeps for days and you can customize it as much as you want!

What ingredients you need

  • Couscous
  • Tomatoes
  • Cucumber
  • Chickpeas
  • Olive oil
  • Garlic
  • Lemon & fresh parsley
  • Salt & pepper
The ingredients for this lemon couscous salad are arranged over a white marble surface.

How to make this couscous salad

(Note: this is a quick description with step-by-step photos, the full recipe is at the bottom of the page)

  • Place the couscous in a large salad bowl.
  • Pour over boiling water or broth.
  • Cover with a lid and let it stand for 5 minutes.
  • Fluff with a fork and let it cool completely.
  • Add chickpeas, vegetables, and parsley.
A fork is fluffing the cooked couscous in a large salad bowl, then vegetables, chickpeas and parsley are added to the bowl.
  • Make the lemon dressing.
  • Pour over the salad.
  • Add lemon zest, toss until well combine, done!
The lemon couscous salad with cherry tomatoes and cucumber in a large brown salad bowl.

Recipe notes & tips

What’s couscous?

Although it looks like a grain, couscous is made with semolina flour so it’s basically pasta, tiny pasta that cooks quickly and goes so well mostly with any kind of vegetables.
When possible, look for wholewheat couscous. This makes the healthiest option, it’s rich in nutrients and fiber, and it will keep you fuller for longer.

What to serve with a lemon couscous salad?

With the fresh zesty flavors, this couscous salad pairs well with just about anything, from garlic chicken to a simple baked frittata. But for me, I think it tastes so good also on its own, when it’s filled with crunchy vegetables, protein, and served in a bowl.

Couscous salad variations

Added bonus? It’s so versatile, and you can mix it up with veggies or protein of your choice. These ingredients go so well with couscous and bulk it out a bit more:

  • Avocado, grilled vegetables, sweet corn, roasted peppers
  • Beans, chickpeas, lentils, feta
  • Grilled chicken, shrimp, salmon

How long does this lemon couscous salad last?

Store in an airtight container in the fridge. It keeps very well for up to three days, and it’s brilliant because you can meal prep this and mix and match with other ingredients of your choice.

If you look for more easy vegan salads:

If you make this recipe, let me know! Leave a comment, rate it, or tag a photo #theclevermeal on Instagram. I would love to hear from you!


This crispy and colorful lemon couscous salad is super easy to prepare, refreshing, and packed with nutrients. It makes a delicious no-cook meal, vegan, perfect for a pot luck or as a side dish.
Prep Time5 minutes
Cook Time5 minutes
Cooling time30 minutes
Total Time40 minutes
Course: Salad
Cuisine: Mediterranean
Keyword: lemon couscous salad
Servings: 6 servings
Calories: 286kcal
Author: Katia


  • 1½ cup (240 grams) instant couscous, uncooked
  • 1½ cup (360ml) boiling water or vegetable broth (see notes)*
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 can (15oz/425 grams) chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup (200 grams) cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 medium-sized cucumber, deseeded and chopped
  • ⅓ cup parsley, chopped


  • 3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large lemon, juice and zest
  • 1 garlic clove, pressed or minced
  • ½ scant tsp fine salt, plus more to taste
  • tsp black pepper, plus more to taste


  • Bring the water with the salt to a boil. Skip the salt if you use salty broth.
  • Place the couscous into a large heatproof salad bowl (metal or glass container are fine) and pour over the boiling water or broth. Cover with a lid, leave for 5 minutes until fluffy and the liquid has been absorbed.
  • Uncover and run a fork through the couscous to fluff it up and separate the grains. Let it cool for about 30 minutes before adding the rest of the ingredients.
  • Add the chickpeas, the tomatoes, the cucumber, and the fresh parsley to the bowl.

Lemon dressing

  • Place all the ingredients for the dressing in a jar with a lid and give a good shake. Alternatively, place them in a bowl and whisk vigorously.
  • Pour over the salad and toss well to combine. Taste and adjust the seasoning according to your taste.
  • It's ready to serve immediately, or you can put it in the fridge until you're ready to enjoy it. It can be served cold or at room temperature.


  • Couscous: usually the couscous to water ration is 1:1, howeverdifferent brands might vary on the proportion of liquid. Make sure you read the package instructions and adjust the recipe accordingly.
  • Storage: It keeps well in the fridge up to 3 days in an airtight container, but check again the flavor before serving, you might want to add extra lemon juice or olive oil.
  • *if you use larger tomatoes (eg. Roma tomatoes), just make sure to remove seeds and excess liquid, otherwise, they will seep water as the couscous is stored.
  • Note: the nutritional values are only estimates for 1 serving. They are provided by an online nutrition calculator and they should not be considered as a substitute for a nutritionist’s advice.


Calories: 286kcal | Carbohydrates: 45g | Protein: 10g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 209mg | Potassium: 246mg | Fiber: 7g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 210IU | Vitamin C: 9mg | Calcium: 50mg | Iron: 3mg

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