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. Alex and I could make gourmet or foodie or complex recipes but really: we just want to feed you dinner. And we think you’ll like this newest one: our Couscous Bowls with Tahini Sauce! It’s a play on many themes we riff on: Mediterranean-style simple, seasonal bowl 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! Keep reading for our couscous bowls recipe.
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.
Perfect pairing: Enjoy this bowl with our herb infused cucumber water!
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! (More on what is tahini?)
Related: What Should I Make for Dinner?
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 Chickpeas in an Instant Pot
- 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
- All our healthy Instant Pot recipes!
Looking for more vegan recipes?
Outside of these chickpea couscous bowls with tahini sauce, are a few other vegan recipes from A Couple Cooks:
- Best Stir Fry Vegetables with Teriyaki
- Perfect Vegan Black Bean Burger
- Cauliflower and Tomato Coconut Curry
- Instant Pot Thai Sweet Potatoes with Peanut Drizzle
- “Can’t Believe It’s Vegan” Spaghetti & Meatballs
- Thai Salad with Peanut Sauce
- Stress Reducing Avocado and Quinoa Bowl
- Moroccan Cauliflower Soup
- Broccoli and Turmeric Yellow Rice Bowls
- Our Best Vegan Pizza
- Vegan Buddha Bowl with Tahini Sauce
- Loaded Quinoa Tacos
- Veggie Burrito Bowls with Cauliflower Rice (sans eggs)
This recipe is…
This chickpea couscous bowls recipe is vegetarian, gluten-free, vegan, plant based, dairy free, naturally sweet, and refined sugar free.Print
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 (substitute cooked quinoa for gluten-free)
- 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.
- Category: Main Dish
- Method: Raw
- Cuisine: Mediterranean
Keywords: Mediterranean, Buddha Bowl, Nourish Bowl, Chickpeas, Couscous, Vegan, Vegetarian, Plant Based, Vegan Recipes, Healthy, Healthy Recipes
About the Authors
Sonja Overhiser is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food blog A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.
Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the recipe website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best vegetarian cookbooks by Epicurious.