This warm Couscous & Brussels sprouts salad is full of protein, fiber, and nutrients, as well as flavor and texture. It’s an easy salad recipe that you can make in forty minutes or less, and it’s great as a main course or as a side with our seitan chicken or vegan honey BBQ ribs.
Published Dec. 1, 2014 and updated January 5, 2021.
If you’re looking for a winter salad recipe, you’ve come to the right place. Our Brussels sprouts salad is incredibly savory and delicious.
The combination of sprouts, creamy cannellini beans, crunchy pine nuts, chewy couscous, and sweet apples elevate this salad to another level.
We love this as a main course with a slice of rustic bread, or as a side dish. There’s no wrong way to eat this.
What is Couscous?
The grain in this salad is couscous, which is essentially a type of pasta that’s made with wheat or barley.
It’s a popular ingredient in North Africa and the Middle East, and there are different types of couscous depending on the region it’s made in.
For example, Morrocan couscous is the smallest type of couscous and it cooks the fastest. Lebanese couscous is the largest and takes the longest to cook.
Click the link to learn more about, what is couscous?
How to Make a Balsamic Reduction
Making a balsamic glaze, or reduction, is a simple process. Just add a half of a cup of balsamic vinegar to a saucepan and bring it to a boil.
Once the vinegar is boiling, reduce the heat to simmer and stir the vinegar until it thickens into a glaze, approximately ten minutes.
How to Cut Brussels Sprouts and Apples for a Salad
For this salad, we coarsely chopped the Brussels sprouts. We wanted the vegetables to be uniform in size and bite size, like you’d find in a chopped salad.
To dice the apples, we peeled it first, then removed the core and diced each half into small pieces.
Cutting small pieces also helped them to cook through faster.
How to Make It
As we said before, this salad is so easy to make. All you’ll need to do is chop the veggies and sauté them, make the couscous, and toss them together.
To save time, you can use ready-made balsamic glaze, or, you can make your own.
Prep the vegetables.
Make the couscous.
Bring the broth (or water) to a boil in a medium saucepan, then add the couscous, stir, cover, and remove the pan from the heat.
Let it stand while you sauté the vegetables.
- We use Moroccan couscous to make this recipe because it’s light and fluffy and perfect for salad.
- Additionally, to make the couscous taste amazing, we use vegetable broth instead of water.
- Feel free to use water if you like.
Toast the pine nuts.
You can toast them on a baking sheet in a 350˚F (176˚C) oven, or you can toast them in the pan that you'll cook the vegetables in.
In this case, toasting them in the pan is one less pan to wash.
Heat a large skillet on medium-high heat and add the pine nuts. Frequently shake the pan for approximately five to seven minutes, or until the pine nuts become fragrant and just begin to brown.
Remove the nuts from the pan
In the same pan that you used to toast the pine nuts, heat the oil or vegetable broth on medium-high heat.
When the oil is hot, add the onions and the Brussels sprouts and cook for approximately seven minutes, or until the onions become translucent. Stir frequently.
Add the apples and the seasoning and stir to combine. Cook for approximately five more minutes.
Evenly drizzle two tablespoons of the balsamic vinegar over the vegetables and fold in the cannellini beans. Cook for another five minutes.
Fluff the couscous with a fork and add it to a large bowl with the vegetables and toss with the balsamic glaze.
Sprinkle the pine nuts on top and enjoy!
Gluten-Free and Other Grains
If you want to make this gluten-free, you can substitute the couscous with the following grains:
- Wild Rice
- White or Brown Rice
You can also substitute with barley, farro, or any grain you like.
More Warm Vegan Winter Salad Recipes You’ll Love
Protein Superfood Bean Salad
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Warm Couscous & Brussels Sprouts Salad
- For the Couscous
- 1 and ¼ cup vegetable broth or water See Note
- 1 cup Moroccan couscous See Note
- For the Balsamic Glaze
- ½ cup balsamic vinegar plus 2 tbsp divided, See Note
- For the Vegetables
- 2 tablespoon olive oil or 3 tablespoon vegetable broth, See Note
- ¼ cup pine nuts
- 1 medium onion finely diced
- 3 cups Brussels sprouts stems removed and coarsely chopped
- 1 large apple peeled, cored, and finely diced (any type of apple will work)
- 2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 15 ounce Cannellini beans drained and rinsed
- Salt and pepper to taste
- For the Balsamic Glaze
- If you’re not using ready-made glaze, pour the ½ cup of balsamic vinegar in a medium saucepan and bring the vinegar to a boil. As soon as it begins to boil, reduce the heat to simmer and stir constantly until the glaze reduces into a thick syrup. It should cling to the spoon. This will take approximately 10 minutes.
- For the couscous.
- Bring the 1 ¼ cup vegetable broth (or water) to a boil in a medium saucepan, then add the 1 cup of couscous, stir, cover, and remove the pan from the heat.
- Let it stand while you sauté the vegetables.
- Toast the pine nuts.
- Heat a large skillet on medium-high heat and add the ¼ cup of pine nuts. Frequently shake the pan for approximately five to seven minutes, or until the pine nuts become fragrant and just begin to brown.
- Remove the nuts from the pan
- For the Vegetables
- In the same pan that you used to toast the pine nuts, heat the oil or vegetable broth on medium-high heat.
- When the oil is hot, add the onions and the Brussels sprouts and cook for approximately seven minutes, or until the onions become translucent. Stir frequently.
- Add the apples and the 2 tsps of Italian seasoning and salt and pepper to taste and stir to combine. Cook for approximately five more minutes.
- Evenly drizzle two tablespoons of the balsamic vinegar over the vegetables and fold in the cannellini beans. Cook for another five minutes.
- Fluff the couscous with a fork and add it to a large bowl with the vegetables and toss with the balsamic glaze.
- Sprinkle the pine nuts on top and enjoy!
- We use vegetable broth for added flavor.
- You can make your own balsamic glaze or use ready-made. If you’re using ready-made, you’ll only need 2 tablespoon of the balsamic vinegar.
- If you don’t cook with oil, you can use vegetable broth or water to sauté the vegetables. You may need to keep adding more by the tablespoon as the liquid evaporates.