Easy Moroccan Inspired Vegan Couscous Salad

Still think salads are boring? Think again! This North African inspired vegan couscous salad is far from boring. It is packed with flavour and has loads of texture. The spices are what truly makes this salad shine. We use two (North) African spice blends to create a salad full of flavour. On top of it being a delicious salad, it’s also super easy to make and really good for you. So, what are you waiting for? Gather your ingredients , it’s about time to get this salad party started! If you are really starting to catch our vibe, make sure you play some cheerful (North) African music in the background ;).

two white bowls filled with couscous salad and a jar of almonds at the top right.

So, what spices do we use exactly to create this Moroccan Inspired Vegan Couscous Salad? Trust me when I tell you, they are both heavy hitters. In other words, they’re big on flavour. Firstly, let’s talk about Ras El Hanout. This is one of the most complex spice blends out there. Ras El Hanout literally means ”head of the shop”, or you can say ”give me the best spices you have”. So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the composition of Ras El Hanout is not always the same, because it should consist of the best spices that a shop has to offer. That basically means the ingredients can change daily. However, unsurprisingly there are some common spices in Ras El Hanout that are usually in there, such as cardamom, cumin, clove, cinnamon, ginger, paprika and turmeric.

The other spice mix we use in this couscous salad is a harissa spice mix. This adds a little bit of a kick to the recipe. Traditionally, harissa is a sort of chili paste. So it might be a little more difficult to find as a spice blend. If you can’t get your hands on any harissa spices, you can use the more traditional harissa paste without any problems or alterations to the instructions. Just add the harissa paste instead of the spices and you are good to go.

A hand holds a teaspoon with olive oil dressing on it. Under the spoon is a bowl with more dressing.

What makes a GOOD salad GREAT? Yep, you guessed it. The dressing! As mentioned earlier we use two North African spice blends in this recipe, but we felt it could still do with a little extra spice. We take your ordinary olive oil dressing to the next level with Pul Biber. Say what? Pul biber? No worries! We also weren’t all that familiar with it until recently. But after trying it once, you will be glad you did. At least I know we are.

All of the ingredients

The ingredients for the recipe on a wooden table.
  • Cauliflower and pumpkin – are roasted in the oven together with the spices to bring out a delicious flavour.
  • Raisins – are often used in North African cooking and add a lovely natural sweetness to the couscous salad when you bite into them.
  • Lentils – add a bit of bite and body to the salad.
  • Roasted Almonds – add a wonderful nutty flavour and a delicious crunch.
  • Lemon and parsley – make for a tangy and fresh finishing touch.

Nutritional information

This vegan couscous salad is packed with all of the good stuff. It obviously has loads of veggies which provide you with a wide array of vitamins and minerals. They also provide your body with a nice amount of dietary fiber, which is going to help you to keep your gut happy. Whole wheat couscous is also a source of dietary fiber. Roasted almonds and extra virgin olive oil are good sources of unsaturated fat, which is the type of fat that is actually good for our bodies. Last but not least, brown lentils are a wonder of nutrition. They are a great source of dietary fiber and plant-based protein and also contain various B vitamins, iron, zinc, potassium and phosphorus among other things! So if you aren’t regularly eating lentils, this is your sign to start including them into your diet.

Roasted cauliflower and pumpkin on a baking tray.

Substitutions and Variations

  • Brown lentils can be subbed with other lentils such as Puy (French) lentils or Beluga/black lentils.
  • Cauliflower can be subbed with broccoli.
  • Couscous can be subbed with pearl couscous or bulgur wheat.
  • Pul biber can be subbed with any type of pepper flakes, just make sure you adjust the amount accordingly as they may vary in how spicy they are. Pul biber is a mild and fruity type of pepper which means you can be quite generous when using it. If you are not a fan of spicy food, you can omit the pepper altogether.
  • Butternut squash can be subbed with any other type of pumpkin. You can even use sweet potato instead but this will change the nutritional profile of the dish as sweet potatoes are higher in carbohydrates and calories compared to pumpkin.


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two white bowls filled with couscous salad and a jar of almonds at the top right.

Easy and flavorful North African Inspired Vegan Couscous Salad

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  • Author: Xanne Hendriks
  • Total Time: 40
  • Yield: 4 1x
  • Diet: Vegan


A delicious, healthy and easy to make salad with the wonderful flavours of North African cuisine. 


  • 1 small head of cauliflower, cut in to bite-sized chunks
  • 1 small butternut squash, peeled and cubed
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp ras el hanout
  • 1 tsp harissa spice
  • 1 1/2 cups (250 grams) whole wheat couscous
  • 1/4 cup (40 grams) raisins
  • 1/2 cucumber, diced
  • 14 OZ (400 grams) canned lentils, rinsed and drained 
  • 1/3 cup (40 grams) roasted almonds, roughly chopped
  • 1/12 cup (5 grams) fresh parsley

For the dressing:

  • 8 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp pul biber
  • 1/2 tsp cracked black pepper 


  1. Preheat the oven 200 degrees celsius (392 fahrenheit) and line a baking tray with parchment paper.
  2. Add cauliflower and butternut squash to a large mixing bowl.
  3. Toss the vegetables in the olive oil. 
  4. Add the spices to the vegetables and toss again until evenly distributed. 
  5. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes. 
  6. Add couscous and raisins to a large bowl and pour over boiling water until covered in water. Close with a lid or a plate and let it sit so the couscous can soak up all of that liquid. Let it sit for about 10 minutes. 
  7. Drain and rinse the canned lentils.
  8. Gently stir the couscous with a fork. Add diced cucumber, lentils, roasted almonds and fresh parsley. Stir to combine. 
  9. Make the dressing by combining all of the ingredients. 
  10. When the roasted vegetables are ready, add them to the couscous salad and mix well. 
  11. Pour over some of that delicious dressing and enjoy!


If you want to make this ahead of time, do not add the roasted almonds and the dressing until you are ready to serve. 

Nutritional facts are estimates. If you want to be sure about the nutritional facts, be sure to check your product labels.

  • Prep Time: 10
  • Cook Time: 30


  • Serving Size: 1
  • Calories: 748kcal
  • Sugar: 18g
  • Sodium: 0,7g
  • Fat: 31g
  • Saturated Fat: 4g
  • Carbohydrates: 80g
  • Fiber: 20,7g
  • Protein: 25,6g

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