This pesto couscous salad is too easy and delicious not to make. It only takes a handful of ingredients to whip up, and it’s a perfect healthy work lunch meal-prep recipe!

Chickpea and pesto couscous salad in meal prep jars.

Whether you’re looking for a side dish for your barbecue or a healthy packed lunch, this chickpea couscous salad is the answer. The freshness from the sundried tomatoes, cucumber, and pesto combined with hearty chickpeas and couscous creates such a great balance of flavors, textures, and nourishment, and it’s incredibly satiating! I’m confident that you’re going to love it!

Here’s why you’ll love this Pesto Couscous Salad:

  • You only need 6 ingredients!
  • It’s fresh yet comforting and satisfying.
  • It’s a great meal prep lunch.
  • It’s easy and healthy!
  • It’s vegetarian and easily made vegan.
  • Customizable – add your favorite vegetables or some feta!
  • It’s pretty to look at and fun to make.
  • It’s good for your soul and your body.

A Healthy Meal Prep Lunch:

I especially love this pesto couscous salad because of how great it is to meal prep for the week so that a healthy lunch is already prepared for you! I have a sneaky trick up my sleeve – that I’m going to share with you – so that the salad doesn’t go soggy in the fridge! I thought it was pretty genius (if I do say so myself), and I hope you think so too.

If you’ve ever made couscous before, you know that it’s a magical ingredient because of how easy it is to prepare. If you haven’t made couscous before, let me fill you in: you simply add boiling water to dry couscous, leave it to soak for 5 minutes, and it’s ready! MAGICAL!

Chickpea couscous salad meal prep.

So, my secret hack for this salad: layer all the ingredients (with the dry couscous at the bottom), then when you’re ready to serve – just add boiling water to your jars or container, leave for 5 minutes, and you have a fresh, warm salad! This is perfect for those of you wanting to take a healthy lunch to work or school but don’t have a microwave; you can simply add hot water – like a pot noodle – but healthier!

The other method to making this chickpea couscous is to prepare the couscous as normal, toss your salad ingredients together and pack it into containers like a “normal” human. But it’s just a little bit less fun and impressive…

Ingredients Needed:

You are only six simple ingredients away from having a delicious, healthy salad! Let’s talk about them:

Couscous: Fluffy and light, couscous serves as the perfect base for this vibrant salad. With its quick cooking time and ability to absorb flavors, couscous provides a delightful texture to the dish. Its neutral taste allows the other ingredients to shine, creating a harmonious blend of flavors and textures in every bite.

Chickpeas: Chickpeas contribute substance to the dish, making it not only delicious but also filling and nourishing. They’re a great source of protein and fiber and leave you feeling full and satisfied for hours!

Sun-Dried Tomatoes: Bursting with concentrated sweetness and a deep umami flavor, sun-dried tomatoes bring a rich and robust taste to the salad. These little gems provide a burst of intense tomato goodness, enhancing the overall complexity of the salad.

Chickpea & Pesto Couscous Salad Ingredients.

Spring Onion: Sliced thinly and offering a mild onion flavor, spring onions provide a fresh and crisp element to the salad. Their vibrant green color adds visual appeal, while their subtle bite complements the other ingredients without overpowering the dish. Spring onions contribute a welcomed hint of brightness to the salad.

Cucumber: Crisp and refreshing, cucumber adds a cool and hydrating component to the salad. Its mild flavor balances the richness of the pesto, while its high water content contributes a refreshing quality to each forkful and also provides good volume to the salad.

Pesto: The star of the show, pesto brings a burst of vibrant flavor to the couscous salad and adds a herbaceous, savory, and slightly nutty taste that I can’t get enough of! The pesto ties all the ingredients together, elevating the salad to a delightful culinary experience. You can use shop-bought pesto or make your own!

How to Make Pesto Couscous Salad:

Equipment:

All you really need is a chopping board, a knife, and some airtight meal-prep containers or meal-prep jars (depending on which method you’re using).

Method 1: “Just Add Water”

As mentioned above, there are two methods of making this pesto couscous salad. This method is my favorite! I’ve made a video showing you just how fun it is, watch it here:

Start by chopping your cucumber into bite-sized pieces and thinly slice your spring onion and sun-dried tomatoes. Drain and rinse your chickpeas.

Next, grab your meal-prep jars and divide the dry couscous into the bottom of each jar. I feel like 60 grams of couscous is a perfect, filling portion, but you can adjust this if you like.

Once your couscous is in the jars you can add the rest of the ingredients in too. I like this order: couscous, sundried tomatoes, chickpeas, spring onion and them cucumber. Add a dollop of pesto on top.

Close the jars and store in the fridge. Please note that if you take this jar with you to work or school, you will need access to boiling water. If you don’t have boiling water, I suggest using method two.

When you’re ready for your chickpea and pesto couscous salad: boil the kettle and pour in roughly a third of a cup of boiling water. The water needs to be around one centimeter above the couscous.

Set aside for 5 minutes and then either mix in your jar or tip it into a bowl and enjoy!

"Just add water" couscous salad jars.

Method 2: The “Less Fun” Way

This method may be less fun and impressive, but both taste equally delicious! This method makes more sense if you want an on-the-go lunch, if you don’t have access to boiling water, or if you’re just making this salad to eat immediately.

Start by chopping your cucumber into bite-sized pieces and thinly slice your spring onion and sun-dried tomatoes. Drain and rinse your chickpeas.

Add the couscous to a bowl and add boiling water. You will need 90ml (roughly a third of a cup) per 60 grams of couscous. Leave to soak for 5 minutes then fluff with a fork.

Add in the rest of the salad ingredients and pesto and mix to combine. Serve immediately or divide between meal-prep containers.

"Just add water" couscous salad jars.
add boiling water to cover couscous

Take It Up a Notch

While this couscous salad is delicious as is, there are some ways to “take it up a notch,” add some extra flavors and texture, and adjust it to suit your cravings.

  • Add Cheese: You really can’t go wrong with a bit of cheese. I highly recommend adding some feta – it works SO well with these flavors.
  • Add Seasoning: A bit of salt and pepper will elevate all the flavors beautifully. You can also add a squeeze of lemon for a zesty touch.
  • Add Extra Vegetables: Add some chopped spinach, fresh herbs, cherry tomatoes, or whatever else your heart desires!
  • Add a Crunch: I LOVE a crunch in a salad – you can add some seeds or chopped nuts (walnuts or pine nuts are the bomb!).
  • Extra Protein: If you’re not vegetarian, you can add some cooked, shredded chicken.
  • Mix Up Your Beans: You can experiment with different beans in this salad; butterbeans and cannellini beans work very well!
Couscous and chickpea salad with pesto.

How to Store Couscous Salad:

For both methods, you need to store this salad in the fridge. If you’re taking it to work; it can stay at room temperature for around four hours. Any longer than this, and the cucumber will go soggy, and no one wants a soggy cucumber.

I wouldn’t recommend freezing this salad as I find it’s not as enjoyable once defrosted.

FAQ:

Can you reheat couscous?

Yes, you can. You can reheat it in the microwave in short bursts or add it to a saucepan on low-medium heat with a splash of water and stir till warmed through.

Can I use a different grain like quinoa instead of couscous?

Yes, you certainly can, but the preparation will look quite different as couscous is the only grain that cooks by just adding boiling water. Cook your chosen grain according to package instructions and then either layer your jars or mix the salad together.

Is this salad suitable for vegans and vegetarians?

Double-check your pesto to see if it’s made with vegetarian cheese, and use vegan pesto to make this salad vegan-friendly. The rest of the ingredients are vegan and vegetarian.

Is couscous gluten-free?

No, traditional couscous is made using wheat unlike most other grains. You can, however, use gluten-free couscous.

What are some suggested variations or additions to customize the salad to personal taste?

I’ve added a whole section above giving you some great ways to “take it up a notch” by adding crunch, cheese, extra protein, etc.

How much boiling water do I need to add to couscous?

The ratio of couscous to boiling water is 1 part couscous to 1.5 parts water. In this recipe, it’s 60g of couscous per serving, so you’ll need to add around 90g of boiling water or around a third of a cup.

If I’m cooking my own chickpeas, how much dry chickpeas do I need to cook?

You need around 240g cooked chickpeas, so if you cook around 120g dry chickpeas, this should be perfect!

More Easy and Healthy Meal-Prep Recipes

Hey! If you make this recipe, I would love it if you could leave me some feedback and a rating ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ in the comment section at the bottom of the page! Also let me know on FacebookInstagram or Pinterest! I can’t wait to hear your thoughts and see your photos!

Chickpea and pesto couscous salad in meal prep jars.

Chickpea Pesto Couscous Salad

This pesto couscous salad is too easy and delicious not to make. It only takes a handful of ingredients to whip up, and it's a perfect healthy work lunch meal-prep recipe!
No ratings yet
Prep Time 10 minutes
Course lunch, Side Dish
Cuisine Healthy, meal-prep
Servings 2 servings
Calories 437 kcal

Equipment

Ingredients
  

Instructions
 

method 1: meal prep jars

  • Prep your veggies by cutting cucumber into rounds and then quarters and slice your tomatoes in half.
  • Divide everything between your jars: start with dry couscous at the bottom, add some salt and seasonings if you like, followed by the sundried tomatoes, cooked chickpeas, tomatoes, cucumber and a dollop of pesto on top.
  • Cover and refrigerate till before serving.
  • To serve: add 1/3 cup boiling water into the jar, cover and leave for 5 minutes before mixing it all together.

method 2: mixed salad

  • Prep your veggies by cutting cucumber into rounds and then quarters and slice your tomatoes in half.
  • Add couscous and seasonings to a bowl. Add 180ml boiling water and leave for 5-10 minutes until all the water has been soaked up.
  • Add the rest of the ingredients to the couscous and mix it all up.
  • Serve right away or store in air-tight containers.

Notes

This recipe serves two large main-meal portions or 4-6 as a side salad.
 
If you’re cooking your own chickpeas: You need around 240g cooked chickpeas, so if you cook around 120g dry chickpeas, this should be perfect!
 
MEASUREMENTS:
I always recommend using a kitchen weighing scale and using weighted measurements. This will result in a more accurate process and your salad will come out perfectly.
 
TAKE IT UP A NOTCH
    • Add Cheese: You really can’t go wrong with a bit of cheese. I highly recommend adding some feta – it works SO well with these flavors.
    • Add Seasoning: A bit of salt and pepper will elevate all the flavors beautifully. You can also add a squeeze of lemon for a zesty touch.
    • Add Extra Vegetables: Add some chopped spinach, fresh herbs, cherry tomatoes, or whatever else your heart desires!
    • Add a Crunch: I LOVE a crunch in a salad – you can add some seeds or chopped nuts (walnuts or pine nuts are the bomb!).
    • Extra Protein: If you’re not vegetarian, you can add some cooked, shredded chicken.
    • Mix Up Your Beans: You can experiment with different beans in this salad; butterbeans and cannellini beans work very well!
 
MORE INFO:
Read the blog post for a more in-depth explanation of how to make this Pesto and Couscous Salad and more tips and storage instructions.
 
NUTRITIONAL INFO:
These nutritional values are provided as a guide only and may be different depending on your ingredients and measurements.

Nutrition

Nutrition Facts
Chickpea Pesto Couscous Salad
Serving Size
 
1 serving
Amount per Serving
Calories
437
% Daily Value*
Fat
 
8.1
g
12
%
Carbohydrates
 
28.9
g
10
%
Protein
 
11.1
g
22
%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Keyword chickpea salad, couscous, couscous salad, Easy Meal Prep Recipe, meal prep lunch recipes, meal prep salad, pesto couscous salad, warm salad, work lunch
Did you make this?Leave a rating & leave some feedback in the comments section below! You can also tag me on Instagram @Nourishing.Niki and use the #NourishingNiki
Two jars of couscous and pumpkin salad.

Pumpkin and Couscous Salad

This pumpkin and couscous salad only takes a handful of ingredients to whip up, and it’s a perfect healthy work lunch meal-prep recipe! The flavours work together so well, it's so satisfying and will keep you happy and full for hours.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 10 minutes
Course lunch, Side Dish
Cuisine Healthy, meal-prep
Servings 2 servings
Calories 519 kcal

Equipment

Ingredients
  

Instructions
 

method 1: meal prep jars

  • Preheat oven to 190℃ / 375℉ / 170℃ fan.
  • Peel and chop your pumpkin and red onion. Spread out in a large baking tray, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle on some salt. Roast for 45-50 or longer if you want it crispy.
  • Divide everything between your jars: start with dry couscous at the bottom, add some salt and seasonings if you like, followed by the roasted vegetables, cooked chickpeas, feta, pumpkin seeds and rocket on top.
  • Cover and refrigerate till before serving.
  • To serve: add 1/3 cup boiling water into the jar, cover and leave for 5 minutes before mixing it all together.

method 2: mixed salad

  • Preheat oven to 190℃ / 375℉ / 170℃ fan.
  • Peel and chop your pumpkin and red onion. Spread out in a large baking tray, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle on some salt. Roast for 45-50 or longer if you want it crispy.
  • Add couscous and seasonings to a bowl. Add 180ml boiling water and leave for 5-10 minutes until all the water has been soaked up.
  • Add the rest of the ingredients to the couscous and mix it all up.
  • Serve right away or store in air-tight containers.

Notes

This recipe serves two large main-meal portions or 4-6 as a side salad.
If you’re cooking your own chickpeas: You need around 240g cooked chickpeas, so if you cook around 120g dry chickpeas, this should be perfect!
MEASUREMENTS:
I always recommend using a kitchen weighing scale and using weighted measurements. This will result in a more accurate process and your salad will come out perfectly.
TAKE IT UP A NOTCH
    • Add Seasoning: A bit of salt and pepper will elevate all the flavors beautifully. You can also add a squeeze of lemon for a zesty touch.
    • Add Herbs: Whether dried or fresh, herbs are always a great addition to any salad!
    • Switch up the Veg: This pumpkin and couscous salad works really well with any roasted vegetable: try butternut, zucchini, mushrooms etc.
    • Switch up the Greens: If you’re not a fan of rocket you can use some baby spinach instead!
    • Switch up the Grain: You can use fine Bulgur Wheat (which cooks similarly to couscous) or any other grain – just know that you will have to cook the grain instead of adding it uncooked to a jar.
    • Extra Protein: If you’re not vegetarian, you can add some cooked, shredded chicken.
    • Mix Up Your Beans: You can experiment with different beans in this salad; butterbeans and cannellini beans work very well!
MORE INFO:
Read the blog post for a more in-depth explanation of how to make this Pumpkin and Couscous Salad and more tips and storage instructions.
NUTRITIONAL INFO:
These nutritional values are provided as a guide only and may be different depending on your ingredients and measurements.

Nutrition

Nutrition Facts
Pumpkin and Couscous Salad
Serving Size
 
1 serving
Amount per Serving
Calories
519
% Daily Value*
Fat
 
13.5
g
21
%
Carbohydrates
 
42.6
g
14
%
Protein
 
18.6
g
37
%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Keyword chickpea salad, couscous, couscous and pumpkin salad, couscous pumpkin feta salad, couscous salad, couscous salad with pumpkin, Easy Meal Prep Recipe, meal prep lunch recipes, meal prep salad, pumpkin and couscous salad, warm salad, work lunch
Did you make this?Leave a rating & leave some feedback in the comments section below! You can also tag me on Instagram @Nourishing.Niki and use the #NourishingNiki