Do you avoid pasta salads because of the carbs? I usually do too, but this Pearl Couscous Salad with Beans caught my eye. I decided to give it a try and see what kind of impact it had on my blood glucose. The results? All good! I credit the fiber.
Couscous: Grain or pasta?
Is couscous a grain or a pasta? The “pearls” used in this recipe are tiny balls of toasted whole wheat flour. Pasta, on the other hand, is made with flour, water, and eggs. So, couscous isn’t really a pasta and it isn’t really a grain. Or you could say it’s pasta made from grain and it’s both.
Do look for a whole wheat pearl couscous (affiliate link) as it has significantly more fiber than traditional or tri-color. (I used tri-color in the photos.)
Tips for Making Pearl Couscous Salad with Beans
- Use whatever beans you like. I used a pre-mixed combination of kidney, black, and pinto beans.
- Add olives if you like them. Beware the calorie, fat, and sodium counts will increase slightly.
- Skip the mozzarella to make the recipe vegan and dairy-free.
- Cut back on the carb count by reducing the amount of couscous and adding in more cucumbers and tomatoes. You could also use fewer beans.
- Make the salad ahead of time and the flavors will be better.
Other Salads You Might Like
Like this Pearl Couscous Salad with Beans? You might enjoy these other salads too:
Pearl Couscous Salad with Beans
- 3 tablespoons cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon dried basil leaves
- 1 garlic clove finely minced
- 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 1/4 cups water
- 4 ounces uncooked whole-wheat pearl couscous
- 1 hothouse cucumber diced
- 1 cup grape or cherry tomatoes quartered
- 1/2 cup chopped onion
- 14 ounces beans (cannellini, Great Northern, black, kidney, or a mixture), rinsed and drained 1 can
- 2 ounces mozzarella cheese "pearls" or fresh mozzarella cheese diced
In a small bowl, whisk together vinegar, basil, garlic, and salt. Continue to whisk and add the oil in a steady stream. Set aside.
Bring the water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add the couscous, cover, and cook on medium-low heat until tender (about 10 minutes). Drain, run under cold water, and let drain again while you make the salad.
In a large bowl, mix together cucumber, tomatoes, onion, beans, and cheese. Add cooled couscous and dressing. Toss and serve immediately or refrigerate.
Like olives? The original recipe called for a couple of ounces of olives. I'm not a huge olive fan, so I left them out. If you add them, the fat, calories, and sodium counts in the recipe will increase.
Vegan? Skip the mozzarella.