Celebrate fall with this delicious Pumpkin Couscous Salad! This easy recipe features a delightful combination of fresh, delicious ingredients and warm, Moroccan-inspired flavors that will keep you coming back for seconds!
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I especially like using it in savory dishes, where it feels unexpected, works with many different seasonings, and most importantly, tastes totally delish. Like this Roasted Pumpkin Couscous, which has become one of my favorite fall recipes!
You are going to love this unique salad, too. It is positively loaded with flavorful ingredients, like tender roasted veggies, fresh herbs, tasty pistachios, and chunks of creamy feta. With its vibrant colors and interesting textures, this salad is a total show stopper. And it's just as delicious as it is gorgeous!
This pretty salad is also super versatile. Serve it as a main course or side dish, bring it to a potluck or holiday meal (you'll be sure to impress your family and friends), or make it on Sunday, then enjoy it for lunch all week long.
Have I tempted you try this gorgeous autumn dish for yourself? Then keep reading for all the details!
This flavorful recipe uses basic ingredients and elevates them to create a super-satisfying salad. Here's what you'll need:
- Pumpkin - You'll use one sugar / pie pumpkin for this recipe. These small pumpkins are much better for cooking than larger jack o' lantern-style pumpkins, which have a tendency to be stringy. Look for them in the produce section of your store, starting in late September / early October.
- Onion - A red onion gets roasted along with the pumpkin, adding flavor and color.
- Spices - This recipe calls for a combination of warm, Moroccan inspired spices (cumin, cinnamon, and ginger), which you'll use to roast the veggies.
- Couscous - Quick cooking couscous, which is made from semolina flour and water, forms the base of this recipe. Look for it near the rice / grains in your grocery store.
- Pistachios - Tasty pistachios add a wonderful texture and flavor to the salad. Feel free to substitute other nuts, if you wish.
- Herbs - A generous amount of fresh mint and parsley brightens up the finished dish.
- Feta - Crumbled feta cheese is another ingredient that adds tons of flavor to salad.
- Vinaigrette - My favorite easy Lemon Salad Dressing (made with lemons, olive oil, salt, and pepper) brings all the flavors together. When preparing the vinaigrette, make sure to zest the lemon before juicing it ... you'll need the zest when assembling the salad.
This recipe is naturally vegetarian. To make it vegan, just skip the feta.
You'll Also Need
You'll need a sheet pan to roast the pumpkin (these sturdy baking sheets are my favorite), a medium-sized pot with a lid to cook the couscous, a small jar or bowl to make the salad dressing (a mason jar works great for this), and a large bowl to mix everything together. A microplane zester will also come in handy for zesting the lemon.
How to Make Pumpkin Couscous Salad
This Couscous Pumpkin Salad has a few different components that you'll need to prepare, but it's very easy to make. You'll find a detailed recipe card below, but here's an overview of the steps:
- Roast pumpkin and onion. Start by peeling your pumpkin, then remove the seeds and cut it into cubes. You should have about six cups total. Then mix it with a chopped onion, olive oil, cumin, cinnamon, and ginger on a baking sheet. Bake until the veggies are lightly browned and tender, flipping about halfway through.
- Cook couscous. Bring a couple cups of broth to a boil in a medium pot. Remove the pot from the heat, then stir in the couscous and a little oil. Cover the pot and let the couscous steam for five minutes, then use a fork to fluff it and separate the grains.
- Make the dressing. To make the dressing, combine lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper in a mason jar (or small bowl). Shake to combine (or whisk together).
- Mix everything together. Transfer the roasted veggies and couscous to a large bowl, then add the mint, parsley, pistachios, lemon zest, feta, and dressing. Mix well to combine.
- Season and serve. Before serving, taste the salad, then season to taste with additional salt and pepper, if needed. Serve warm or cold.
Good news ... your beautiful Pumpkin Couscous recipe is ready to eat! Doesn't it look delicious?
Tip: For the fastest results, start the pumpkin first. Then while the veggies roast, cook the couscous and make the dressing. When the pumpkin and couscous are ready, combine it with the other ingredients
Feel like experimenting? This recipe is fairly flexible ... here are some ideas to inspire you:
- Squash - This recipe can be made with other types of winter squash (such as acorn, butternut, or kabocha), so don't save it just for fall!
- Veggies - Clean out your fridge by roasting some extra vegetables, such as cauliflower, carrots, sweet potatoes, and more. Just keep in mind that the veggies may take different times to cook ... check out my Roasted Vegetables recipe for tips.
- Israeli Couscous - You can make this recipe with pearl / Israeli couscous, too. Follow the package directions to cook it.
- Nuts - Feel free to substitute different nuts (like almonds, pecans, or walnuts) for the pistachios. If you have a nut allergy, you can leave them out altogether.
- Dried Fruit - Give your salad a sweet-savory twist and enhance the Mediterranean flavors by adding dried fruit, such as golden raisins, apricots, or figs.
- Pomegranate - Add a pop of pretty color and fresh flavor to your salad by mixing in fresh pomegranate seeds. This would look especially lovely on your Thanksgiving or holiday table!
- Chickpeas - Stir in a can of chickpeas for some added protein.
- Orange Zest - Swap out the lemon zest for orange zest to add another layer of bright, citrusy flavor.
- Vegan - To make this recipe vegan, just skip the feta cheese.
This Pumpkin Feta Couscous Salad is hearty enough to serve as a main course, but it works great as a side dish, too. It would be wonderful paired with my Moroccan Cabbage Rolls, or you could serve it during the holidays (it's perfect for Thanksgiving!) paired with an impressive main dish, like this Mushroom Wellington or this Vegetable Tart.
Don't save it just for special occasions though ... this salad is great any day of the week! Because it can be eaten cold, it even makes a great lunch or meal prep recipe.
Store any leftovers in an airtight container in your refrigerator. It will stay fresh for up to four days. You can eat the leftovers cold or rewarm them gently in your microwave.
Looking for more savory pumpkin recipes? Try one of these seasonal faves next:
- Pumpkin Lentil Curry
- Pumpkin Coconut Curry
- Pumpkin Pizza
- Roasted Pumpkin Soup
- Vegan Pumpkin Chili
- Roasted Pumpkin Salad
- Pumpkin Risotto
If it's couscous you're craving, you'll love my Pomegranate Couscous Salad, Couscous Casserole, and Roasted Veggie Kabobs with Spiced Couscous, too ... you could also serve these kabobs over this salad!
Pumpkin Couscous Salad
- 1 pie pumpkin
- ½ large red onion, chopped
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- kosher salt
- 2 cups vegetable broth
- 2 cups couscous
- 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
For Lemon Dressing:
- 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 10 grinds pepper
- 1 cup crumbled feta cheese
- ½ cup pistachios, roughly chopped
- ½ cup chopped mint
- ½ cup chopped flat leaf parsley
- zest from 1 lemon
- Medium Pot with Lid
- Large Bowl
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
- Peel pumpkin, then remove seeds and chop into cubes. (You should have about 6 cups cubed pumpkin.)
- Place pumpkin and onion on a large baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with cumin, cinnamon, ginger, and salt and pepper to taste. Mix well.
- Roast veggies for 20 minutes. Flip, then continue cooking until tender and lightly browned (about 15 to 20 minutes).
- Taste veggies and season with addtional salt to taste, if desired.
- While pumpkin roasts, add broth to a medium pot. Bring to a boil over high heat.
- Remove pot from heat, then stir in couscous and olive oil. Stir well, cover pot, then let sit for 5 minutes.
- Use a fork to fluff couscous, then cover pot and set aside.
Prepare Lemon Dressing:
- Add olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper to a small jar or bowl. (Make sure to zest the lemon, too. You'll need it when assembling the salad.)
- Cover jar and shake vigorously until ingredients are combined (or whisk together if using a bowl). Season to taste with additional salt and pepper, if needed. Set aside.
- Transfer pumpkin and couscous to a large bowl. Add feta, pistachios, mint, parsley, and lemon zest. Pour dressing over top, then gently toss everything together. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Serve salad warm or cold. Enjoy!