4.80 from 5 votes

Southwest Couscous Salad

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Ready to try something new and exciting for your next meal? Let’s whip up a Southwest Couscous Salad! It’s packed with black beans, colorful peppers, and sweet corn, making it the perfect dish to enjoy hot or cold.

This side dish is not quite pasta, but not exactly a grain either, and it’s loved worldwide. Let’s get started and mix up your meal routine with this tasty salad!

large bowl of couscous salad with a serving spoon.


For the Couscous Black Bean Salad:

  • Pearl Couscous, prepared as directed.
  • Green Onions, Red Bell Pepper, Fresh Cilantro, and corn (fresh or thawed if frozen)
  • Black beans, drained and rinsed.

For the Tex-Mex Dressing:

  • Olive Oil, Lime Juice, and Red Wine Vinegar
  • Ground Cumin, Salt, and Pepper

How to make Southwest Couscous Salad

Black bean and corn couscous salad recipe instructions below.

Prepare the Couscous: Following the package instructions, cook the pearl couscous. Once done, fluff it with a fork to prevent any clumping.

Make the Southwester inspired dressing: In a large bowl, whisk together olive oil, lime juice, red wine vinegar, and ground cumin.

a large saucepan full of fluffy cooked couscous.
couscous salad dressing with a southwestern flavor.

Combine the Ingredients: In a separate bowl, toss the green onions, red pepper, cilantro, corn, and black beans. Add the cooked couscous to the bowl, ensuring everything is well combined.

Dress the Salad: Pour the Southwest dressing over the couscous mixture, using a spatula to fold everything together gently. This step is crucial to ensuring each pearl of couscous is coated.

black beans, corn, peppers and couscous in a mixing bowl.

Season and Serve: Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper to taste. The beauty of this salad is its flexibility; it can be served warm or chilled.

Serving Suggestions

Couscous salad recipes can be enjoyed in a lot of ways.

I have served it warm as a hearty side to fish tacos, and the flavors made a great light side. Alternatively, it’s just as delicious and served cold, making it a unique choice for potlucks or a simple family dinner.

large bowl of couscous salad.

Choosing Southwest Flavors

Drawing from my insights into cooking, I ventured beyond the typical Moroccan or Israeli couscous recipes. I wanted something vibrant that could bring a little color and flavor to the plate but not necessarily be considered International or traditional.

That’s how I landed on the idea of a Southwest couscous salad. The combination of black beans, corn, and a tangy homemade dressing transforms the mild pearl couscous into a dish with a bit of light Tex-Mex flair.

If you would like to try another couscous idea, try this summer couscous salad that has avocado and mozzarella balls.

prepped ingredients in a bowl.
  • Can I customize this salad? Absolutely! This recipe is forgiving. Feel free to add yellow peppers, extra corn, or some ground beef to make it “your own.”
  • Can this salad be made in advance? Yes, it’s perfect for meal prep. The flavors combine over time, making it an excellent option for next-day lunches. Store leftovers in airtight container.

Are you new to making Couscous?

What is couscous?

Couscous consists of tiny, granular particles from durum wheat’s semolina portion. It’s a staple in Moroccan and North African cuisines.

Resembling miniature pellets or pearls, couscous is an excellent choice for feeding a crowd, adaptable to various dishes, from simple salads to hearty dinner recipes.

When shopping for couscous, you’ll see many types of couscous available.

Couscous Types

  • Moroccan Couscous: the smallest variety, made of fine semolina.
  • Israeli Couscous: slightly larger grains, also made from semolina.
  • Lebanese Couscous: Also known as pearl couscous, these are the largest grains and offer a chewier texture.

I hope you enjoy this recipe. If searching for other really quick ideas, try one of our other delicious salads below!

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! Make the most of summer vegetables and include Southwest Couscous salad as a side this season.


Salad Ingredients

  • 10 oz. Couscous make as directed on box
  • 7 tbsp. olive oil (this is same as 1/4th cup and 3 tbsp.)
  • 30 oz. black beans drained & rinsed
  • 5 green onions chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper chopped into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 cup corn
  • salt and pepper to taste

Dressing Ingredients

  • 1 fresh squeezed lime
  • 1 tbsp. ground cumin
  • 2 tbsp. red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro


  • Prepare the Couscous: Start by making your Couscous as directed on the 10 oz box. Ensure that the couscous is fluffy and separated, with no matted chunks.
  • Create the Dressing: In a large bowl, whisk together 7 tablespoons of Olive Oil, the juice of 1 Lime, 2 tablespoons of Red Wine Vinegar, and 1 tablespoon of Ground Cumin to create southwestern dressing.
  • Combine the Vegetables: To the dressing, add 5 chopped Green Onions, 1 chopped Red Bell Pepper, 1/4 cup of chopped Fresh Cilantro, 1 cup of drained Corn, and 2 cans (15.25 ounces each) of drained & rinsed Black Beans. Toss well to ensure the ingredients are thoroughly mixed.
  • Incorporate the Couscous: Gently fold the prepared couscous into the bowl with the vegetables, ensuring it's well combined with the other ingredients.
  • Add the Dressing: Pour the southwestern dressing over the couscous and vegetable mixture. Mix again, folding the dressing into the salad to ensure everything is evenly coated.
  • Season: Sprinkle with Salt and Pepper to taste. Give the salad one final mix to distribute the seasoning evenly.
  • Serve: Southwest Couscous Salad is ready to be served! It can be enjoyed immediately and is delicious at 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.
  • Make sure to rinse black beans before putting in salad. 
  • You can use frozen but thawed corn or canned corn, drained well.


Serving: 1cup | Calories: 221kcal | 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.

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4.80 from 5 votes

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Recipe Rating

One Comment

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

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