How to Make Vegetable Couscous, A heathy side dish recipe

Do you ever get stuck in a rut with side dishes? It’s easy to go from rice to potatoes to pasta. But to get you out of the side dish rut, I’ve got an easy recipe for vegetable couscous. 

It’s simple to make and different from your usual side dishes too. 

Vegetable couscous ready to serve.

Simple and Easy Vegetable Couscous Recipe

This simple side dish recipe of veggie couscous will be an impressive addition to your meal rotation. It’s easy to make, maybe even easier than rice or potatoes. And it tastes so good. 

But maybe you’re wondering…

What is Couscous?

Couscous is tiny pasta beads or granules. They cook up light and fluffy. It’s a great alternative to rice or pasta. 

Is Couscous Healthy?

Couscous is considered a healthy alternative to pasta since it’s made with whole wheat flour and processed less than traditional pasta. And it’s much lighter than pasta too. Great for a change from rice or pasta. 

How do You Cook Couscous?

You cook couscous similar to rice. But you’ll use a ratio of 1 cup couscous to 1 1/2 cups water. The actual cooking method depends on what type of couscous you buy. 

Pearl couscous comes in pearls or balls. It takes a little longer to cook. And it’s great toasted too. I’m sharing, in the video below, how to cook pearl couscous. 

Regular Couscous looks more like granules of pasta. And cooks up so quickly. You need not simmer it. You boil the water, add the couscous, turn off the heat and let stand for 10 minutes. Then fluff with a fork.  

Can I Use Different Vegetables in this Recipe?

Yes, you can. In the video and recipe below, I’m using zucchini and onions, but so many other vegetables will work. 

You could use mushroom, other squash, peppers, celery, and even broccoli. You could use carrots or turnips too, but they will need to be cooked a little longer than shown in the recipe below. 

Use a mix of vegetables you have on hand is the best way to make this recipe so they don’t go to waste.

Vegetable couscous in a bowl sprinkled with parsley.

What Should I Serve with Vegetable Couscous?

This recipe would be a great addition to any meat based dish. A pork roast like this garlic roast or cranberry roast would be great. 

Serve it alongside crock pot roast beef or under sliced London broil or brown sugar steaks or even grilled chicken

Make it a One-Pot Meal

To make this recipe a one-dish meal, you can add leftover or cooked chicken, beef, pork, or shrimp to the recipe during the last few minutes of cooking to heat it through. 

Then you’ll have a one-pot meal in less than half an hour. Perfect for a busy weeknight dish. 

Now let’s get to cooking!

How to Make Vegetable Couscous, Step-by-Step Video

This video will show you each step of the recipe, but if watching a video isn’t for you, keep scrolling for the printable recipe and the step-by-step photos below.

Veggie Couscous Recipe in Step-by-Step Photos

Below you’ll find the printable recipe and the step-by-step photos for making vegetable couscous at home. It’s a great side dish your entire family will love.

You can use any vegetables you like too. You don’t have to use zucchini and onions, use what you have on hand. 

Step 1 Chop the Vegetables

chopped vegetables for couscous.

Cut the vegetables into bite-size pieces. If you are using a denser root vegetable like carrots, chop them smaller so they will cook at the same rate as the other vegetables.

Step 2 Sauté the Vegetables

sautéing the vegetables.

Place 1/2 tablespoon of coconut oil in the pan and heat over medium-high heat. Once the coconut oil melts, add the chopped vegetables and cook until slightly softened. We’ll cook them the rest of the way later.

Remove from pan and set aside for now. 

Step 3 Toast the Couscous

The toasted couscous for the recipe.

Melt 1/2 tablespoon of coconut oil in the same pan you cooked the vegetables. Add the couscous and stir and cook about 2-3 minutes. This will lightly toast the couscous. 

Remove couscous from the pan and set aside. 

Step 4 Boil the Water

the couscous cooking in the pan

Add the water and salt to the same pan you used before and bring the water to a boil. Once the water is boiling add the couscous. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes. 

Step 5 Add the Vegetables

the cooked vegetable couscous on a spoon

Remove the lid from the pan and add the vegetables to the couscous. Give a little stir. Replace the lid and let cook another 5 minutes. 

Step 6 Add Chopped Parsley

unclose photo of the side dish of couscous

Once the couscous is done cooking sprinkle with a little chopped fresh parsley and serve. You can also adjust the seasonings by adding a little more salt if needed and pepper to taste. 

Side dish of vegetable couscous ready to serve.

Get the Printable Recipe…

Vegetable couscous ready to serve.

Vegetable Couscous

This is a delicious side dish that’s quick and easy to make. You can use almost any vegetable in this dish to use what you have on hand.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Course Side Dish
Cuisine Mediterranean
Servings 4
Calories 92 kcal


  • 1 cup Pearl Couscous
  • 1 1/2 cups Water
  • 1/2 small Zucchini chopped
  • 1/2 large Onion chopped
  • 1 tablespoon Coconut Oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • 1 tablespoon Parsley chopped


  • Melt half a tablespoon of coconut oil in a pan over medium-high heat. Add the chopped vegetables and cook until tender-crisp. Remove from pan and set aside.
  • To the same pan, add the other half tablespoon of coconut oil and melt over medium heat. Add the couscous and stir and cook until lightly toasted, about 2-3 minutes. Remove from pan and set aside.
  • To the same pan, add the water and salt. Heat to a boil. Add the couscous, stir, and turn down to a simmer. Cook for 10 minutes covered.
  • After the 10 minutes add the cooked vegetables, stir, replace the lid and continue to cook for 5 minutes more.
  • After the couscous is done cooking, add salt and pepper to taste and sprinkle with parsley.


The nutritional facts below are meant as a guide. 
You can use any vegetables you’d like in this recipe. If added precooked vegetables like leftover vegetables add them in the last few minutes of cooking to reheat. There is no need to sauté them at the beginning of the recipe. 


Serving: 1servingCalories: 92kcalCarbohydrates: 13.3gProtein: 1.9gFat: 3.7g
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That’s how easy it is to make healthy couscous with vegetables. It’s a simple side dish the whole family will love.  

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