Couscous Salad with Chickpeas, Beetroot & Pumpkin

Couscous Salad_site

This Couscous Salad with Chickpeas, Beetroot and Pumpkin is a delightful vegetarian salad to have for lunch, or to serve alongside other dishes for a main meal. It would also be a super dish to take along to a pot-luck dinner.

The recipe comes from NZ House & Garden magazine (March 2015, No. 247). I was drawn to the autumnal colours of this dish, and as summer is now morphing into crisp autumn days Down Under, it seemed the perfect time to give it a whirl.

This salad has a lot of complexity going on. The roasted beetroot and pumpkin contrasts with the dry couscous, the crunchy pine nuts and the starchy chickpeas really nicely. But, the best bit of all for me was the lightly spiced red onion, orange and balsamic vinegar dressing – in a word, di-vine. It was just what the dish needed, both in terms of adding moisture and of dialling up the flavour several notches. The dressing was so scrumptious that when I make this salad again I’ll be making a double quantity of it for sure. Enjoy!


Serves 6-8

Ingredients: (Click here for Unit Converter)

  • 500g pumpkin
  • 500g beetroot
  • 4 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup couscous, prepared *(see notes below for preparing couscous)
  • 400g can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), rinsed and drained
  • 3 tablespoons pine nuts, lightly toasted
  • Sea salt and black pepper, to taste


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 red onion, halved and thinly sliced
  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 orange, zest and juice
  • 1 teaspoon each: ground cinnamon, ground cumin and brown sugar


  1. Heat oven to 200C (400F). Line two medium baking dishes with baking paper (I simply used one large one).
  2. Peel pumpkin and cut into cubes of about 2cm. Peel and trim beetroot and cut into halves or quarters, if large.
  3. Place pumpkin, 2 cloves of garlic and 1 tablespoon oil in one dish and toss to coat. Repeat with beetroot, remaining garlic and oil in the second dish. (Or simply combine all the ingredients in one large dish).
  4. Place the dishes (or dish) in the oven and roast for 40 minutes, or until vegetables are cooked and slightly caramelised.
  5. For the dressing: Heat oil in a non-stick pan over a medium-low heat. Add red onion and cook until softened. Add remaining ingredients and simmer, stirring until sugar dissolves and the dressing starts to get slightly syrupy. Remove from heat.
  6. In a large bowl, combine couscous, chickpeas, beets and pumpkin. Fold in dressing and season to taste with sea salt and black pepper.
  7. When ready to serve, arrange salad on a platter and scatter over the toasted pine nuts.

*To prepare couscous:

  1. Place 1 cup couscous in a heatproof bowl. Add 1 cup hot water or stock, for more flavour.
  2. Cover with a tight-fitting lid or a plate and leave for 5 minutes to allow the steam to cook couscous.
  3. After 5 minutes, use a fork to fluff up the grains.

Food Photography Info: Canon 550D (EOS Rebel T2i); Sigma 30mm 1.4 DC ‘Art’ lens / Natural lighting


3 thoughts on “Couscous Salad with Chickpeas, Beetroot & Pumpkin

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