These chickpea couscous bowls are a super quick dinner recipe: in just 25 minutes you have a fresh, vegan Mediterranean bowl covered in tangy tahini sauce.
One of our top goals when we create a recipe is to find that elusive intersection between healthy, delicious, and doable. I say elusive BECAUSE it’s simple to find recipes with one or two of the three, right? Healthy recipes that taste terrible. Delicious recipes that are too complex. Easy and delicious recipes that are terrible for you. Now, Alex and I have had lots of chances to want to be more gourmet or foodie or complex but really: We just want to feed you dinner. We want it to taste good, not break the bank, and not take all evening. After 8 years of creating recipes for you, we think you’ll like this one: basically a couscous Buddha bowl with tahini sauce. It’s a play on many themes we riff on: bowl meals, Mediterranean-style cuisine, and simple, seasonal food. Except for some reason, this one tastes even better than all the rest. I dare say it’s my favorite bowl meal we’ve made! And we created a video for you too (below).
Watch how to make couscous bowls
Is couscous a grain?
First, a few things we didn’t cover in the video: what is couscous made of? Contrary to what you might think, couscous is not a whole grain. It’s actually tiny balls of flour pasta! For this recipe we used whole wheat couscous, meaning it’s tiny balls of whole wheat pasta. Since it looks like a whole grain like quinoa or rice, it’s sometimes confused for being gluten free. Couscous is not gluten free! For a substitute, consider rice or quinoa. The reason we chose couscous for this recipe is that it is extremely quick cooking. Bring it to a boil with water, then remove the heat and let it sit for 5 minutes. That’s it! So making couscous bowls for dinner is extraordinarily quick.
How to make vegan couscous bowls
How to make couscous bowls? As you may know, bowl meals are super simple to throw together. Here are the main components in our couscous bowls:
- Greens: we like to start with a good base of greens, and cover them with all the other goodies!
- Couscous: here we’ve used whole wheat couscous (see above)
- Chickpeas: typically we use canned, but since we got an Instant Pot now we’ve been cooking them in the Instant Pot! It takes less than 1 hour to cook dried beans, which saves a lot of time versus cooking them on the stovetop. Here’s how we do it: How to cook chickpeas in an Instant Pot.
- Fresh veggies: Here we’ve used tomatoes and cucumbers, which are in season here in Indiana, but you can use any veggies you’d like!
- Lemon tahini sauce: Here’s our favorite sauce for a Mediterranean-style couscous Buddha bowl: our best lemon tahini sauce! It’s super flavorful and simple to whisk together. Tahini is a sesame seed paste that’s available at most grocery stores. It’s used for homemade hummus, and we’ve found there are so many more things to use it for: like this sauce!
Looking for more healthy Instant Pot recipes?
If you’re into Instant Pot like we are and like to cook chickpeas in an Instant Pot, there are so many other fantastic healthy Instant Pot recipes! Here are a few of our favorites:
- How to Cook Sweet Potatoes in an Instant Pot (Pressure Cooker)
- Instant Pot Thai Sweet Potatoes
- Instant Pot Smoky Lentils and Rice (Pressure Cooker)
- Instant Pot Tacos with Smoky Lentils
Looking for more vegan recipes?
Outside of these chickpea couscous bowls with tahini sauce, are a few other vegan recipes from A Couple Cooks:
- Cauliflower and Tomato Coconut Curry
- Instant Pot Thai Sweet Potatoes with Peanut Drizzle
- “Can’t Believe It’s Vegan” Spaghetti & Meatballs
This recipe is…
This chickpea couscous bowls recipe is vegetarian, gluten-free, vegan, plant based, dairy free, naturally sweet, and refined sugar free.
These chickpea couscous bowls are a super quick dinner recipe: in 25 minutes you have a fresh, vegan Mediterranean bowl covered in zesty tahini sauce!
For the chickpeas
- 1 1/2 cups cooked or 1 15-ounce can chickpeas (use our Instant Pot Chickpeas method to cook dry chickpeas!)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
For the couscous
- 1 cup whole wheat couscous
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
For the bowl
- 1 small cucumber
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes
- 8 cups salad greens
- 1 recipe Best Lemon Tahini Sauce
Make the chickpeas: If using dry chickpeas, cook them using our Instant Pot chickpeas method (in under 1 hour!) or our Dutch oven method. If using canned, drain and rinse them. In a medium bowl, stir them together with the olive oil, cumin, and kosher salt.
Make the couscous: In a medium pot, bring 1 1/4 cups water to a boil. Add couscous and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt. Bring to a boil, then remove from the heat, cover, and let stand for 5 minutes. When done, stir in the olive oil, another 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, and the parsley.
Make the dressing: Follow the instructions in Best Lemon Tahini Sauce.
Assemble the bowls: Peel and chop the cucumber. Slice the tomatoes in half. In a large shallow bowl, place the greens, then top with couscous, chickpeas, cucumber, and tomatoes. Drizzle with lemon tahini dressing (about 2 tablespoons per bowl). Serve immediately. Leftovers stay in the refrigerator for a few days: keep all components separate for maximum freshness.
If you have especially hungry eaters, you could 1.5 or double the chickpeas or couscous, or serve it alongside pita and hummus.
Keywords: Mediterranean, Buddha Bowl, Nourish Bowl, Chickpeas, Couscous, Vegan, Vegetarian, Plant Based, Vegan Recipes, Healthy, Healthy Recipes
About the Authors
Cookbook Author and writer
Sonja Overhiser is author and recipe developer of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the “best vegetarian cookbooks” by Epicurious, and a recipe developer and healthy & sustainable food advocate behind the award-nominated food blog A Couple Cooks.
Cookbook Author and photographer
Alex Overhiser is photographer and recipe developer of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the “best new cookbooks” by Bon Appetit, and a recipe developer, photographer, and technical expert at A Couple Cooks.