Couscous Salad with Lime Basil Vinaigrette

Couscous salad in a bowl with sweet potatoes and black beans.

What a strange and delicious combination I’m about to feed you.

You’re looking at a beautiful, colorful, confetti-like bowl full of:

  • Couscous
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Black beans – but any kind of beans are great!
  • Spinach
  • Feta
  • Red Onion
  • Pistachios – because I love them! but any nuts / seeds, or no nuts / seeds also work
  • Lime basil vinaigrette

You think it might lean Mexican-inspired with the sweet potato black bean thing…. but then there’s feta and red onion… and some pistachios… and the lime basil vinaigrette is where things get pretty solidly quirky.

It’s so good, so nutritious (!!), and so nostalgic.

I used to make this salad all the time way back in the day, featuring a bottle of pre-made dressing, because that’s what my trusty five ingredient Cooking Light cookbook recommended. I was youthful and new to cooking and I loved easy recipes (still true, actually). Now I’m less youthful, more opinionated about things like making your own dressing, and ready for the still-easy but slightly more grown up version of this salad.

You still with me?

Ingredients in bowls for couscous salad.

Our dressing here is a punchy lime basil vinaigrette. Which is kind of a lot going on flavor-wise because lime and basil are both big flavors. But big flavors get two thumbs up from me.

You have alternate dressing options if you’d like to stay closer to home on this: cilantro lime vinaigrette (use this same method but swap basil for cilantro). lemon vinaigrette (look here).

Or… you can trust me and plow forward fearlessly into the land of basil-heavy summery tasting green dressing.

Basil lime vinaigrette in a food processor.
Basil lime vinaigrette in a food processor.

Take a taste – do you need more of something? Salt? Oil? Lime? Basil? Tweak it till you get it just right and do not panic if it’s very very flavorful.

This is going to soak in with a bunch of otherwise plain veggies so we need it to be BOSSY.

Couscous salad in a bowl before mixing.

Get all your stuff in a bowl, toss with dressing, salt and pepper, and muah. It’s summery, a little bit unexpected, and the best way to make lunch / veggies / nutrition / happiness all work together. If you’re hungry for more veggies (YUM) you’ll want to also add these recipes to your veggie rotation.

Couscous salad in a bowl.

Check Out Our Video For How To Make Couscous Salad:

Click here to see the step-by-step web story instructions for this recipe!

Couscous Salad with Lime Basil Vinaigrette in a bowl with a spoon.

Couscous Salad with Lime Basil Vinaigrette

  • Author: Lindsay
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 6


A bright, zippy, unexpectedly delicious couscous salad that’s packed with sweet potatoes, black beans, spinach, feta, and more – all tossed with a life-changing lime basil vinaigrette!


Couscous Sweet Potato Black Bean Salad

  • 3/4 cup couscous
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 sweet potatoes, peeled and diced (about 3 cups)
  • 1 14-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 cups baby spinach, cut into small pieces
  • 4 ounces crumbled feta cheese
  • half a red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup chopped pistachios (optional)

Lime Basil Vinaigrette

  • 1 bunch of fresh basil (1/2 cup packed)
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • juice of 12 limes (to taste)
  • 1 clove garlic 
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup waterif needed


  1. Pulse all dressing ingredients in a food processor until smooth-ish.
  2. Cook couscous in 1 cup water, according to package directions. Fluff with a fork and cool.
  3. Place sweet potatoes in a skillet with about 1/2 cup water and a sprinkle of salt. Cover and simmer until fork-tender. Drain and set aside to cool.
  4. Toss all ingredients together with dressing, season with salt and pepper, and serve! (OR, store each ingredient individually for salads throughout the week.)


  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Category: Salad
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: couscous salad, meal prep salad, large batch salad, sweet potato salad, basil dressing, healthy lunch prep

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One More Thing!

This recipe is part of our collection of magical black bean recipes. Check it out!

The post Couscous Salad with Lime Basil Vinaigrette appeared first on Pinch of Yum.

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