4.80 from 5 votes

Southwest Couscous Salad

This website may contain affiliate links and advertising so that we can provide free recipes. Read the Privacy Policy

Southwest Couscous Salad with Black Beans, chopped peppers and crunchy corn is a perfect side salad that can be served hot or cold. If you haven’t tried couscous, you must get behind this not-quite-a-pasta, not quite-a-grain dish that is served all over the world in International cultures. 

Southwest Couscous Salad with Black Beans and Corn


Southwest Couscous Salad 

Typically when you see couscous ingredients, they are Moroccan or Israli in nature. However this particular couscous recipe below is just as good. Full of Southwestern (Tex-Mex) flavors, its a delicious way to test out couscous if you have never tried these little baby balls of goodness. Now admittedly, couscous can be a weird texture for many, but my husband, who is SO sensitive to texture, LOVES this salad.

Couscous is not like anything else out there that are usually in our diets so stepping out of the comfort zone can be hard. But once its full of spices and containing some veggies or protein, can be a perfect filling meal or side dish. 


You can whip this delicious couscous salad together in 20 minutes, with the majority of the time being cooking the couscous itself. It’s pretty quick and its the BEST! This salad, which can be used as a delicious serving salad for potlucks, is also a really great salad for just your family on a Tex-Mex cooking night. This recipe was first published in Jan 2019 and was updated with a few ingredient changes to make it even better in Sept 2020. 

  • (1) 10 oz box of Couscous – make as directed on box
  • 1/4th cup + 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 freshly squeezed lime
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 5 green onions, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 cup corn
  • (2) 15.25 ounce cans black beans, drained & rinsed
  • salt and pepper to taste

RELATED RECIPES: Corn and Tomato Salad, Street Corn Salad, Black Bean and Corn Salsa, Quinoa Black Bean Salad, Quinoa Chili, Black Eyed Pea Salad

What Exactly is Couscous?

Couscous is actually little granules made from the hardest part of wheat. Its a common meal in Morocco and North Africa and considered a “pasta” dish by most. Couscous look like tiny small pellets and is one of the better dishes for large crowds. You can make it like I did above, in a side dish salad, or even add meat and spices for a traditional main dish recipe.

Many people mistake spelling it like kuskuz or cuscuz. 

Types of Couscous you can buy: 

  1. Moroccan – semolina and small
  2. Israeli – semolina and larger
  3. Lebanese – Pearl Couscous and much larger than the other two
  4. For this recipe, I used the FAR EAST COUSCOUS brand, which I purchased at Walmart for about $1. 

Couscous Black Bean Salad Recipe

To get started on this recipe, first make your box of couscous. Just follow the instructions on the 10 oz box. Once done, set aside to fluff and break up any chunks.  

fluff up your couscous so it doesnt stick to pan

Moving on to the dressing, in a large bowl, whisk together olive oil, lime juice, red wine vinegar and ground cumin.

In a separate bowl, add chopped green onions, chopped red pepper, fresh cilantro, drained corn and drained beans and toss together. 

couscous ingredients kuskuz


Add cooked couscous into the vegetable bowl and mix again well until ingredients are combined. 

Pour Southwestern dressing into couscous bowl and mix up. A spatula (and a deep bowl) works well to make sure everything is properly coated. 

couscous recipe salad perfect for party platters and crowds hot or cold dish

Feel free to add salt and pepper (you should always add salt and pepper!) and finished salad can be served immediately or stored in a sealed container till ready to eat. 

Just a side note- this recipe is really forgiving to add or take away from. You could add yellow peppers, more corn, ground beef – totally fine to make it “your own” too!

How to serve Couscous Salad?

  • Warm – great as a warm salad side dish, along side fish Tacos, BBQ, or stuffed into a burrito. Makes a great vegetarian meal OR just add a little ground beef for a filling option.
  • Cold – This salad can be served immediately and still tastes great right out of the fridge the next day. VERY versatile! 

Is Couscous healthy? 

There are much healthier (and also worse) options on the nutrition scale. Couscous is not considered a huge source of nutrients but like many foods can be purchased with a whole wheat version. Its not exactly unhealthy either and fine for a balanced diet. 

  • Is Couscous a carb? Yes, couscous is a carb. 
  • Is Couscous a grain? Not really. 
  • Is Couscous a pasta? Not really…but closer to a pasta than a grain.

If you made this recipe and altered in any way that tastes delicious (or have feedback!) please leave me a comment.

I get some of my best recipe alterations from readers. Make sure you follow me on Pinterest to see any new recipes!

4.80 from 5 votes

Southwest Couscous Salad

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Southwest Couscous Salad full of flavorful tex-mex veggies is perfectly spiced with cumin and lime, can be served hot or cold making it the perfect party side dish salad. Works fantastic folded in tacos as well! Couscous is a very common ingredient in Mediterranean cuisine and can be made in a variety of delicious ways to really dance on the tongue. While couscous is more often smothered in traditional flavors like feta and olives, this Southwest Couscous Salad combines a flavor infusion of more American and Western flavors that go perfectly with this unique dish. Really easy to prepare, the couscous itself is light and fluffy and surprisingly filling as a side dish. Bold flavors of lime and cumin combined with colorful corn and bright red peppers makes it taste as good as it looks. Make the most of summer vegetables and include Southwest Couscous salad this season!


  • 1 10 oz box of Couscous - make as directed on box
  • 1/4 th cup + 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 fresh squeezed lime
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 5 green onions chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper chopped into bite sized pieces
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 cup corn
  • 2 15.25 ounce cans black beans drained & rinsed
  • salt and pepper to taste


  • First, make your Couscous as directed on 10 oz box.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together olive oil, fully juiced fresh lime, red wine vinegar and cumin to create southwestern dressing.
  • Add chopped green onions, chopped red pepper, fresh cilantro, drained corn and drained beans and toss to to mix up ingredients.
  • Check couscous and make sure there are no matted chunks. Couscous should be fluffy and separated.
  • Add couscous the bowl with the vegetables and combine.
  • Pour in dressing and mix again, folding dressing into the salad and making sure the whole salad is combined.
  • Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Mix again.
  • Couscous salad can be served immediately and tastes great room temperature, warm, or even cold the next day.


  • Add cooked ground beef and make it a meal!
  • This salad is fairly large, so chances are you will have some leftovers. I suggest folding it into a taco for a real flavorful tex-mex taste!
  • Recipe inspired by user submitted AllRecipes 
  • Servings nutrition based by a half a cup per person


Serving: 1 | Calories: 83kcal | Carbohydrates: 15g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 22mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 1g

Nutritional Disclaimer: The nutritional data provided here is auto-calculated and intended for your convenience only. As it’s generated via automation, its accuracy may be compromised. For precise nutritional insight, please compute the values utilizing the actual ingredients in your recipe through your chosen nutrition calculator or application.

Sharing of this recipe is encouraged and appreciated. Copying of full recipe to any social media is prohibited.

Did You Make This Recipe?

Make sure to follow Salty Side Dish on Pinterest and rate the recipe here and make sure to leave a comment below!

4.80 from 5 votes

Leave A Comment

Have a question or want to provide feedback? Share your recipe reviews or questions here and I will do my best to help!

Recipe Rating

One Comment

  1. This is a favorite amongst my friends and family. Quick, easy and super tasty!