A colourful couscous salad with beetroot and carrots is the perfect thing to kick off autumn. This couscous salad recipe is packed with good-for-you ingredients including oven-roasted beetroot and carrots, butter beans, fresh herbs, pumpkin seeds, goat’s cheese and arugula. It’s simple, fresh and flavourful!
What I especially love about this couscous salad recipe is that it is full of plant-based goodness thanks to a colourful assortment of vegetables and herbs — orange, red and green — plus some plant-based protein to boot! And is a great choice for meal-planning as leftovers hold up well. Plus it is easy to adapt!
Couscous salad ingredients
Here are a few quick notes about the ingredients you will need for this couscous salad recipe:
Couscous: use either standard or whole wheat couscous. It can be cooked on the stovetop with water and a hint of sea salt for three minutes, then left to stand for five minutes before fluffing. Or simply add boiling water, cover and let stand 5-10 minutes, until the water is absorbed. It’s that simple.
Vegetables: I like to use a combination of beetroot and carrots and roast them in the oven to bring out their natural sweetness. But you could also swap them out for sweet potato, pumpkin or use a mix of your favourite root vegetables.
Beans: creamy white butter beans have a terrific texture and mild flavour which adds extra plant-based protein to this dish.
Herbs: you can be generous with the fresh herbs! I like using a mix of fresh flat-leaf parsley and chives, but fresh dill would also be great alternative.
Arugula: look for young arugula for a subtle peppery tone, or try spinach if you prefer something more subtle.
Seeds: toasted pumpkin seeds add a little nutty crunch. Try toasted pine nuts or slivered almonds for a delicious alternative.
Cheese: crumbled Chèvre goat’s cheese is mild, tangy and creamy and pairs well with carrots and beetroot. Alternatively, try Greek feta cheese.
Vinaigrette: everything is brought together with a simple dressing made with lemon, red wine vinegar, olive oil, some finely chopped shallot, salt and pepper. For a little extra pep, serve with extra wedges of lemon or give the salad a sprinkle of ground sumac.
How to adapt this couscous salad with beetroot and carrots
The fantastic thing about preparing salads is that they are incredibly easy to adapt to fit to your own taste. Here are a few ideas on how to make this salad your very own:
Trade out the couscous: use an equal amount of quinoa, orzo (or other small pasta shape), millet, pearl barley, etc. in place of the couscous, cooked according to package instructions.
Use a different cheese: use feta cheese in place of the goat’s cheese.
Choose a different protein: trade out butter beans for chickpeas, or try another type of white bean. Or skip it all together and serve this couscous salad alongside grilled chicken or fish.
Rotate in some other vegetables: try roasting a mix of root vegetables, or trade them out for hokkaido pumpkin or sweet potatoes.
Add some different greens: try a mix of your favourite soft herbs (such as parley, basil, dill, mint and chives). Trade out arugula for mixed greens (Mesclun) or baby spinach. Or skip them all together and add extra herbs.
Looking for more simple salad recipes?
If you like this couscous salad with red beets and carrots, you might also like:
- Quinoa Salad with Roasted Mushrooms and Soy-Sesame Dressing
- Einkorn Salad with Roasted Vegetables
- Quinoa Salad with Roasted Eggplant and Cherry Tomatoes
- Warm Roasted Vegetable Salad
Couscous Salad with Beet and Carrot
For the couscous salad:
- 400 g beets (3-4 small to medium beetroot), cut into 2,5 cm thick wedges
- 3 medium carrots, cut into chunks
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Sea salt
- 1 cup couscous (200 g)
- 1 x 400 g can white butter beans, rinsed and drained
- 2 tablespoons fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
- 2 tablespoons fresh chives, chopped
- 2 tablespoons pumpkin seeds, lightly toasted
- 100 g goat’s cheese (Chèvre), crumbled
- 2 generous handfuls young arugula leaves
For the dressing:
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice, plus more, to taste
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1 shallot, finely chopped
- 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- Sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
Preheat oven to 425°F / 220°C (200°C fan-assisted) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Transfer the carrots and beetroot to the prepared baking sheet. Drizzle with oil and toss to coat. Season with salt and spread out in an even layer without crowding. Transfer to the preheated oven and bake for 25-30 minutes or until tender and golden brown in spots, with slightly crispy edges, flipping halfway through.
Meanwhile, prepare couscous according to package instructions. Place couscous in a medium pot, pour boiling water over it, then cover and let stand for 5 minutes, or until all the liquid has been absorbed. Transfer to a large serving bowl and fluff with a fork. Set aside to cool.
In a small bowl, mix together the dressing ingredients (lemon, vinegar, shallot, olive oil, salt and pepper) until well combined.
Transfer the roasted vegetables to the bowl with the couscous, along with the white beans. Pout over the dressing and toss gently to combine. Add the fresh herbs, pumpkin seeds, crumbled cheese, and arugula, and toss again to incorporate.
Taste and season with more salt and pepper, and an extra squeeze of lemon, if desired. Serve slightly warm or at room temperature. Enjoy!
- If you can find it, look for whole wheat couscous as a healthier option. Couscous can also be replaced with quinoa, millet, orzo (risoni) or any other small pasta shape.
- I used a mix of red beetroot, yellow beetroot and Chioggia heirloom beets. Feel free to use whichever color you prefer.
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