Kid-friendly Couscous and White Bean Confetti Tabouli Recipe - Sticky Fingers Cooking
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Recipe: Couscous and White Bean Confetti Tabouli

Recipe: Couscous and White Bean Confetti Tabouli

Couscous and White Bean Confetti Tabouli

by Dylan Sabuco
Photo by Dylan Sabuco
prep time
10 minutes
cook time
5 minutes
4-6 servings

Fun Food Story

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Couscous and White Bean Confetti Tabouli

Couscous and White Bean Confetti Tabouli is our heartier take on a classic Middle Eastern salad. Traditional tabouli (tah-BOO-lee) originates from the mountainous regions of Lebanon and Syria and has long-graced tables across the Middle East with its fresh, herbaceous profile. Our interpretation captures the essence of the original dish while introducing added texture and protein, thanks to the inclusion of couscous and white beans. The result is a beautiful mix of fluffy couscous, creamy beans, and lively herbs, all dressed in a zesty lemon vinaigrette.

Happy & Healthy Cooking,

Chef Erin, Food-Geek-in-Chief

Fun-Da-Mentals Kitchen Skills

  • chop :

    to cut something into small, rough pieces using a blade.

  • measure :

    to calculate the specific amount of an ingredient required using a measuring tool (like measuring cups or spoons).

  • simmer :

    to cook a food gently, usually in a liquid, until softened.

  • toss :

    to lightly lift and drop food items together or coat food items with flour, or a sauce or dressing, as in a salad.

  • whisk :

    to beat or stir ingredients vigorously with a fork or whisk to mix, blend, or incorporate air.

Equipment Checklist

  • Medium pot
  • Liquid measuring cup
  • Dry measuring cups
  • Measuring spoons
  • Wooden spoon
  • Large mixing bowl
  • Cutting board
  • Kid-safe knife
  • Can opener
  • Strainer/colander
  • Citrus juicer (optional)
  • Whisk


Couscous and White Bean Confetti Tabouli

  • 1 15-oz can of cannellini beans or great northern white beans, drained and rinsed **(for LEGUME ALLERGY sub 1 C small eggplant, peeled and chopped)**
  • 1/2 C regular (Moroccan-style) couscous (or Israeli pearl-style—may take longer to cook) **(for GLUTEN ALLERGY sub quinoa or brown rice)**
  • 1 C parsley, chopped (roughly 1/2 bunch)
  • 1/4 C mint leaves, chopped (roughly 12 leaves)
  • 2 green onions
  • 1 roma tomato **(for NIGHTSHADE ALLERGY sub 1 small zucchini)**
  • 1/2 lemon (1 T lemon juice)
  • 3 T olive oil
  • 1 drizzle honey
  • 3/4 to 2 tsp salt, divided
  • 1 pinch ground black pepper
  • 3/4 C water
  • 2 C chopped romaine lettuce, optional

Food Allergen Substitutions

Couscous and White Bean Confetti Tabouli

  • Legume: For 1 15-oz can of cannellini beans or great northern beans, substitute 1 C small eggplant, peeled and chopped.
  • Gluten/Wheat: Substitute quinoa or brown rice for couscous.
  • Nightshade/Tomato: For 1 roma tomato, substitute 1 small zucchini.


Couscous and White Bean Confetti Tabouli


Tabouli or Tabbouleh (tah-BOO-lee) is a salad made by mixing a hearty amount of herbs with cooked grain. This popular Middle Eastern dish originated in the mountains of Lebanon and Syria. This fresh salad is now enjoyed all over the Middle East.

measure + simmer + stir

Measure 3/4 cup water and 1/4 to 1 teaspoon salt in a medium pot over high heat. Once the water is boiling, measure and pour in 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1/2 cup couscous. Stir a few times, reduce the heat to medium, cover with a lid, and cook for 5 minutes. Turn the heat off and pour the couscous into a large mixing bowl. Reserve for later.

chop + toss

Chop 1 cup parsley, 2 green onions, 1 roma tomato, and 1/4 cup mint leaves. Add all the chopped ingredients in the bowl with the couscous. Then, drain, rinse, and add 1 can of cannellini beans or great northern white beans. Toss all the ingredients in the large bowl together.

whisk + squeeze

Time to make the salad dressing. Slice 1 lemon in half. Squeeze 1 tablespoon of lemon juice into a liquid measuring cup. Measure and add 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1/2 to 1 teaspoon salt, 1 drizzle of honey, and 1 pinch of black pepper to the liquid measuring cup. Whisk to combine.

drizzle + stir

Drizzle the lemony salad dressing over the Couscous and White Bean Confetti Tabouli. Stir gently to combine. Serve alongside Totally Tomato Feta Salad + Warm Honey Bear Tea. Tabouli is also commonly served with lettuce. You can chop 2 cups of romaine lettuce to toss into your tabouli right before serving.

Surprise Ingredient: Couscous!

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Photo by Davis Dorss/

Hi! I'm Couscous!

"Don't you think it's fun to say my name: 'Couscous' (Koos-koos)? I'm not only a type of semolina granule but also a dish! You can add beans, veggies, fruit, fish, or meat and a spicy or sweet sauce to cooked couscous. Yum!" 

  • Couscous is from North Africa. It is a staple of Mahgrebi cuisine of Northwest Africa, an area along the Mediterranean Sea that includes Algeria, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, and Tunisia. Each of these countries has its own variation of the dish.  
  • In 2020, couscous was added to UNESCO's List of Intangible Cultural Heritage, along with Maghrebi cuisine.
  • The word "couscous" is from early 17th century French, from Arabic "kuskus," from "kaskasa" (to pound), probably of Berber origin. The Berbers are ethnic groups indigenous to North Africa, predating the Arabs.
  • The rolled semolina granules of couscous are made from crushed durum wheat. You can purchase already steamed and dried couscous. Or, you can make your own by adding a bit of water moisture to semolina (not enough to make a dough), then pressing and stirring with your hands until it forms small pellets or granules about 2 mm in size. These are sifted to remove clumps and any pellets that are too small. 
  • You can cook the couscous in a steamer, but traditional Berber cooking uses a "couscoussiere," a steamer specifically made to steam couscous. It can be ceramic or metal, with a larger pot for the water sitting on the heat source and a smaller pot on top with a perforated bottom to hold and steam the couscous granules. The pot of hot water can also be used to simmer the steamed couscous to finish the dish. 
  • In some regions of Algeria, a sweet dish called "Mesfouf" is made with couscous and a sweet sauce made of butter, cinnamon, raisins, and sugar. 
  • Libyans usually eat their couscous with lamb, although they might also enjoy a sweet couscous dessert in addition to the savory dish. 
  • In Mauritania, they eat couscous with beans and vegetables or with lamb, beef, chicken, or camel.
  • Moroccans may add a sweet sauce called "tfaya" to their couscous. It is made of caramelized onions, cinnamon, honey, and raisins. 
  • Tunisians prefer their couscous spicy, using "harissa," a hot sauce made with roasted red peppers and a type of chili pepper called a "Baklouti" pepper. 
  • Couscous and pasta have similar nutritional value. A 1/4 cup serving of couscous provides 5 grams of protein, no fat, and 30 grams of carbohydrates. A whole wheat version provides 5 to 6 grams of fiber.
  • Gluten-free couscous is available to purchase in some grocery stores or online.

What is Tabouli?

Photo by diplomedia/
  • Tabouli or Tabbouleh (tah-BOO-lee) is a salad originating during the Middle Ages in the Eastern Mediterranean, especially Lebanon. It consists of finely chopped parsley, bulgur wheat, tomatoes, and onions with an olive oil and lemon juice dressing. Some variations add lettuce or use semolina instead of bulgur. 
  • In Lebanon and Syria, they add much more parsley than bulgur to their tabouli. In other countries in the region, they may use more bulgur, and it may go by different names. The Lebanese National Tabbouleh Day is a yearly festival celebrated on the first Saturday of July since 2001.
  • Tabouli is often considered a Mediterranean "mezze" or appetizer, or you can serve it as a light lunch with pita bread. It is also a side dish paired with grilled or roasted meat.

Let's Learn About Lebanon!

Photo by Photo by Nate Hovee from Pexels
  • Lebanon, officially the Republic of Lebanon, a country in Western Asia, borders Syria, Israel, and the Mediterranean Sea. 
  • The Lebanese government is a Unitary Confessionalist Parliamentary Republic with a president, prime minister, and parliament. Political power is distributed among the country's various religious or confessional communities. 
  • Almost 5.6 million people live in Lebanon, and its total land area is 4,036 square miles. In comparison, the US state of Connecticut is 4,849 square miles and has 2 million fewer residents.
  • The capital of Lebanon is Beirut, and it is also the largest city in the country.
  • The official language of Lebanon is Arabic, but there is also a sizable French-speaking population due to Lebanon's history with France. In addition, people speak Arabic, French, English, and Armenian. 
  • Lebanon's history goes back at least 7,000 years. One of the world's oldest, continuously lived-in cities is Byblos, Lebanon. There is evidence that it has been inhabited since at least 5,000 BCE.  
  • Around 3200 BCE, it became the home of the Phoenicians, who prospered there until about 539 BCE. The Romans conquered Lebanon in 64 BCE. The Roman Temple of Bacchus, built in the 2nd century CE, still stands to this day.
  • In its history, Lebanon was conquered and occupied by other empires, including the Egyptians, Assyrians, Persians, Greeks, Romans, Ottomans, and finally, the French, before achieving independence in 1943. This history created a very diverse population, and the government observes both Christian and Muslim holidays. 
  • Lebanon has a Mediterranean climate, which means dry summers and mild, wet winters. However, Lebanon also has a mountain range home to six ski resorts. You can actually ski in the morning and then swim in the Mediterranean Sea on the same day if you want to!
  • The tree on the country's flag is a Lebanon cedar, which used to cover most of the country's landscape. Over time, trees have suffered in Lebanon due to logging and forest fires, which are common during the long dry summers. Work is being done to add more trees. 
  • Education is important in Lebanon. The country is home to 41 universities and consistently ranks high in overall education, especially science and math.
  • Lebanese cuisine is not spicy yet is rich in flavor from a blend of fresh seasonings like parsley and mint and fruits, vegetables, grains, and seeds. Garlic, lemon, and olive oil are commonly used in dishes, and hummus and flatbread, like pita, are almost always included with each meal.
  • One of Lebanon's national dishes is "kibbeh," a meat pie made with spiced ground meat (often lamb) and bulgur (cracked wheat).
  • Chicken, lamb, or beef "shawarma" is another popular dish, prepared by marinating the meat and stacking slices on a slow-moving rotisserie skewer. As the outside layers roast, they are shaved off and often used in sandwiches and pita. It is also served with rice and tomatoes or pickled turnips. Shawarma is typically served with a garlic sauce.

What is it like to be a kid in Lebanon? 

  • Lebanese children speak Arabic. The family unit is important in Lebanon, and families are close-knit. Young people may have their grandparents living in the same household with them. 
  • About 60 percent of the students in Lebanon attend private schools. Kids learn Arabic, English, and French in school. 
  • In addition to the summer school holiday, some of the holidays that kids celebrate are Christmas, Easter, Eid al-Fitr, and Eid al-Adha.  
  • A child there may play soccer or basketball, or they might snow ski, swim, or surf. 
  • Kids eat various foods, including one that you may have tried, "hummus," a dip made with chickpeas, tahini (ground sesame seeds), olive oil, lemon, and garlic. Another is "baklava," a phyllo dough pastry filled with nuts and honey or syrup. Others may be unfamiliar to you, such as "tabbouleh," a salad made with tomatoes, onions, bulgur, parsley, and mint.

Lettuce Joke Around

What bean is the most intelligent? 

The Human Bean!

THYME for a Laugh

"Knock, knock!"

"Who's there?"


"Bean who?"

"It’s Bean a while since I last had a brownie!"

That's Berry Funny

While cooking today, I accidentally rubbed some herbs in my eyes.

Now I’m parsley (partially) sighted!

Lettuce Joke Around

What instruments do Sticky Fingers Cooking chefs play? 

A-couscous-tic guitars, of course!

The Yolk's On You

What is green and sings? 

Elvis Parsley.

The Yolk's On You

What kinds of beans can’t grow in a garden? 

Jelly Beans!

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