Lemon Chickpea Couscous Salad in 15 minutes

Bursting with vibrant colours and zesty flavours, this salad makes the perfect addition to any summer meal. It is cheap, wholesome and easy to prepare, making it a perfect vegan accompaniment to your BBQs, main meals or as a light lunch option.


small bowl of lemon chickpea couscous

Are you looking for a refreshing and healthy dish that is packed with flavour? Then look no further than this delightful Lemon Chickpea Couscous Salad. The combination of tangy lemon, hearty chickpeas, fluffy couscous, and fresh crunchy vegetables is the perfect mix.

Whether you’re a vegetarian or simply looking to incorporate more plant-based options into your diet, this Lemon Chickpea Couscous Salad is sure to become your new favourite summer go-to recipe. However this salad is not gluten free like many of my recipes, but make sure to check out my suggestions to make this gluten free below.


closeup of summer couscous salad

Why this Chickpea Couscous salad is so good

This couscous salad truly is a great, wholesome side dish for many reasons. Not only does it taste amazing but it is just a great combination of flavours and textures. The light, slightly nutty cous cous is complimented with the earthy chopped parsley, juicy tomatoes, crunchy cucumber, and soft chickpeas, which is then all covered in a refreshingly zesty lemon dressing.

It’s a salad that I often make as it’s incredibly versatile and just seems to go so beautifully with meat, fish or vegetarian alternatives. It’s a great summer salad to serve or take to a BBQ or picnic and any leftovers are wonderful the next day with a leafy green salad and a little feta cheese.

This couscous salad with chickpeas also doesn’t require any cooking and can be ready and on the table within 15 minutes. All of the ingredients are relatively cheap which means that there is plenty of this quick and nutritious salad to go around at a fraction of the cost.

This couscous salad isn’t particularly high in carbs either thanks to all the extra wholesome goodies added to the couscous. The chickpeas really bulk out the dish so not only is there more to go around, but it helps to reduce the overall carb count.

Adding lots of carb count free ingredients to your meals and dishes is another great diabetes management tool as the:

Lower the Total Carbs = Less Insulin Given = Lower the Error Rate

We have found this to be a really helpful tool for our daughter’s type 1 diabetes management, particularly at dinner time. But if you would like to read more about other things in our DIabetes toolkit then make sure to read the article below:

picture of friends supporting each other

Our Diabetes Management Toolkit

Living with and/or caring for a person with type 1 diabetes is demanding, which is why it’s so important to create a diabetes management toolkit that can help you every day.


What is Couscous?

a pile of couscous with a heart drawn in it

Many (myself included) may mistake couscous for a whole grain. Well, in fact, it’s not! Couscous is made from semolina flour and it is actually a type of pasta, so it is not gluten-free.

In this recipe, I use a wholewheat version of couscous. A wholewheat couscous is made from Durum wholewheat semolina instead. The difference to its semolina counterpart is that it hasn’t been refined, stripping it of its nutritious germ and fibrous bran.

We have found couscous to be a great carb option to help with diabetes management and enjoy with our meal as it has a GI rating similar to brown rice. We have found that this is slower to release glucose and therefore requires less insulin up front.

I buy our wholewheat couscous from Sainsbury’s or Waitrose


Gluten Free and Carb count Free Options for this salad

If you want to make this salad gluten-free you can swap the couscous for a gluten free grain such as:

Quinoa

Brown Rice

Buckwheat

And if you want to make this salad, gluten free and Carb count free then replace the couscous with:

Cauliflower rice

Blitzed broccoli in a food processor

Cooked or packet lentils


Ingredients for lemon chickpea couscous salad

Vegetable stock

  • Adds extra flavour to the couscous
  • I like the Knorr stock pots as I think they give a great extra favour

Wholewheat couscous

  • A great source of fibre and protein
  • wholewheat is best for extra nutrients but you could also use a refined couscous

Chickpeas

  • A nutritional superstar, rich in plant-based protein, full of fibre and nutrients
  • Give a nutty taste and a nice grainy texture to the salad

Cucumber

  • My favourite veg that I eat every day
  • Has a high water content and is loaded with vitamin K
  • I love the watery crunch it gives in a salad

Cherry tomatoes

  • Naturally sweet and a brilliant source of the antioxidant lycopene, which has many health benefits
  • Also a great source of vitamin C and K

Lemons

  • Adds a wonderful zesty zing to the salad
  • Plus adds an extra dose of vitamin C

Extra Virgin Olive oil

  • My favourite heart healthy oil
  • Tasty and rich in healthy monounsaturated fats

Flat-leaf parsley

  • One of my favourite herbs as it’s just so versatile
  • It compliments the other flavours in this dish beautifully

Capers

  • A store cupboard staple
  • They are the unripened flower buds of the caper bush and are often stored in vinegar
  • Adds a wonderful salty sour tang

unmixed bowl of lemon chickpea couscous with all the ingredients in sections

How to make the lemon chickpea couscous salad

This is a very easy salad to make with limited coking needed as the couscous will happily soak away in your hot vegetable stock whilst you chop up your other ingredients.

First, make up the hot vegetable stock in a measuring jug. Empty the couscous into a large bowl and cover with the hot stock. Place a clean tea towel over it and leave for 5 minutes.

Whilst the couscous is cooking chop your cucumber, tomato and parsley.

After 5 minutes your couscous should be light and fluffy. If it is not simply add a little extra hot water. Now add all the chopped vegetables and parsley, drained chickpeas and capers.

Now add the zest and juice of the lemons with the olive oil to your bowl. Season well with salt and pepper. Mix all the ingredients well until the salad is perfectly combined.


big bowl of lemon couscous with chickpeas

Serving suggestions for this summer couscous salad

Here are some ideas of how you can enjoy this tasty and nutritious couscous salad:


Recipe variations

As this is a couscous salad it is not gluten free. However, if you wanted to make this a gluten free salad then read my suggestions above

This lemon chickpea couscous salad can also take other flavours being added to it. Some additions I like to make are adding:

  • Crumbled Feta or Goats cheese
  • Different fresh herbs – Mint, Oregano, Dill
  • Extra crunchy vegetables – chopped peppers, celery, red cabbage, carrots
  • Top with crunch seeds, like pumpkin and sunflower
large bowl of lemon chickpea couscous salad

How long is couscous salad good for in the fridge?

If you are lucky enough to have any leftovers then cous cous will keep in the fridge for 3-4 days. Make sure to cover or transfer to an airtight container before storing in the fridge.


Diabetes Note

This salad isn’t particularly high in carbs thanks to all the extra wholesome goodies added to the couscous. The chickpeas really bulk out the dish along with the vegetables, so not only is there more to go around, but it helps to reduce the overall carb count.

Carb Counting

The overall carb count for this lemon chickpea couscous salad based on the ingredients we would count for was calculated as follows:

  • Uncooked wholewheat couscous = 216g of carbs

To work out the carb count amount by weight you need to know the overall weight of the salad (minus the dish) with all ingredients added. You can then use the following formula:

infographic of the diabetic carb counting formula

As an example – The total weight of the salad I made was 1900g

Therefore a 100g portion would be: (216 / 1900) * 100 = 11.3g of carbs

An average portion is approx 200g = 11.3 * 2 = 23g of carbs

Please note this carb count amount per portion is based on the standard ingredients listed above and may differ depending on what you use and how much you choose to eat.

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Lemon Chickpea Couscous Salad

Lemon Chickpea Couscous Salad

Recipe by Michelle

A refreshingly light lemon chickpea couscous salad, full of soft textures and zesty flavours that is cheap, wholesome and easy to prepare.

Course: SaladsCuisine: BritishDifficulty: Very Easy
4.7 from 3 votes
Servings

8

servings
Prep time

10

minutes
Cooking time

5

minutes
Total time

15

minutes
Cook Mode

Keep the screen of your device on

Ingredients

  • 400 ml 400 hot vegetable stock

  • 300 g 300 wholewheat couscous

  • 2 tins 2 chickpeas, drained

  • 1 whole 1 cucumber, diced

  • 300 g 300 cherry tomatoes, diced

  • 30 g 30 flat-leaf parsley, chopped

  • 50 g 50 capers

  • 4 tbsp 4 olive oil

  • 2 medium 2 lemons, juice and zest

Directions

  • Make up the hot vegetable stock in a measuring jug. Empty the couscous into a large bowl and cover with the hot stock.
    Place a clean tea towel over it and leave for 5 minutes.
  • Whilst the couscous is cooking chop your cucumber, tomato and parsley.
  • After 5 minutes your couscous should be light and fluffy. If it is not simply add a little extra hot water. Now add your chopped ingredients, drained chickpeas and capers.
  • Now add the zest and juice of the lemons with the olive oil to your bowl. Season well with salt and pepper. Mix all the ingredients well until the salad is perfectly combined.
  • Sprinkle over the seeds (if using) and enjoy!

Tips and Notes

  • Diabetes Note – This salad isn’t particularly high in carbs thanks to all the extra wholesome goodies added to the couscous. See above for information and carb counting
Michelle Rorke avatar

AUTHOR

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