Moroccan Couscous – Enjoy this guilt-free and healthy side dish featuring couscous, chickpeas, and fresh veggies. Brimming with interesting complex flavor combinations from various herbs and spices. Extremely flavorful, savory, and minty with a citrusy zing! A quick and easy dish you can prepare in less than 20 minutes!
Recipe Ingredients and Substitutes
This Moroccan Couscous recipe offers a variety of interesting flavors making it enjoyable to eat. You won’t even notice you’re eating a non-meat dish.
Plus, you can easily customize it with your favorite herbs and spices and whatever veggies you have in stock. Aaah! Eating a vegan dish has never been this exciting. 🤩
It has a refreshing citrusy flavor from lemon juice, natural sweetness from raisins and carrots, crunchy textures from sliced almonds, exploding flavors from herbs and spices, and a whole lot more!
You’ll experience all of these in every bite – like a fiesta inside your mouth.
I’m naturally a “meat lover” person and eat my veggies out of obligation. But with this couscous recipe, I finally found my way around veggies to enjoy them more. And I bet you’ll love it, too!
Recipe Ingredients and Substitutes
You can already tell how good this couscous recipe is just by looking at the spices added. My favorite would be turmeric and cumin. They give just the right amount of heat without overpowering the whole dish. Other ingredients you’ll need are:
- Bell Peppers – Thanks to these beauties our vegetable couscous is full of lovely colors with added exciting peppery sweetness, too.
- Raisin – They are naturally sweet with a bit of tang making them a nice addition to our couscous recipe.
- Carrots – Besides adding bright orange color to the mix, you’ll get to enjoy its health benefits, too. So, load up on the antioxidants and beta-carotene with carrots! Yay!
- Zucchini – I wouldn’t skip on the zucchini if I were you. Coz’ it will render a nice rich and sweet flavor as it cooks and you wouldn’t want to miss that.
- Couscous – These Morrocan couscous are the smallest among the other types of couscous. And since they are really tiny, they cook easily, too. Just pour hot water on them and cover, and they will be ready in a matter of minutes. You can also try my other couscous recipe, Israeli Couscous.
- Chickpeas – Also known as garbanzo beans from a legume family. They are rich in protein, folate, iron, and also an excellent source of fiber.
- Almonds – You’ll love the addition of crunchy texture from sliced almonds to this Moroccan couscous recipe. You can swap or add more nuts like pecan, walnut, cashew, and pistachio. Or leave them out completely if you’re allergic to nuts.
Flavoring and Seasonings
- Olive Oil – You can also use coconut oil or vegetable oil for this Moroccan Couscous recipe. However, I highly recommend olive oil because it adds a nice flavor to our vegan dish.
- Garlic and Onion – These two are hands down the best spices of all. They add exceptional flavor and lovely aroma to any savory dish like this recipe.
- Turmeric – Aside from adding nice yellow color to this vegan dish, you’ll also love the added pungent taste and a subtle kick of heat added to this recipe.
- Cumin, Cinnamon, Allspice, and Coriander – The authentic Moroccan flavor to our vegetable couscous came from these spices. You may add more herbs and spices like paprika, thyme, parsley, or cayenne pepper to amp up the flavor more. Or you can try it with a dash of Creole Seasoning, Taco Seasoning, or Italian Seasoning to make your dish extremely flavorful.
- Lemon Juice – This adds a bright and citrusy flavor to our Moroccan side dish.
- Fresh Parsley– Used as a garnish but the added peppery and earthy flavor really hits the spot, too.
- Chicken Broth – Opt for vegetable stock if you want to make this dish completely vegan. The concentrated chicken flavor makes this dish really savory and rich with umami flavors even in the absence of real chicken meat.
- Hot and Spicy – For starters, you can add a teaspoon or more of pepper flakes and cayenne pepper to make your vegetable couscous spicy. And if you’re brave enough, you might want to level up and add these bad boys instead: jalapeno, serrano pepper, habanero, and scotch bonnet pepper. 😍
- Meaty Additions – If you don’t follow a specific diet, adding chunky meaty bits of chicken, beef, pork, or seafood won’t disappoint, too. I tried chicken couscous before and it was straight up amazing!
- Couscous Salad – Couscous is a versatile ingredient. It goes pretty well with almost anything. Toss in some feta cheese, olives, and tomatoes and you’ll have a healthy and hearty couscous salad to enjoy.
- Couscous Wrap – Repurpose your leftover Moroccan couscous and turn them into a sandwich wrap. You can also add Pulled Pork or Shredded Chicken to make it more filling and satisfying.
Serving and Storage Instructions
The good news is you can prepare Moroccan Couscous a couple of days ahead. And since couscous cooks easily, this vegan dish is suitable for an emergency quick dinner fix, too.
- Store – Make ahead Moroccan couscous can be stored in a dry and clean sealed container. Or in freezer-safe resealable bags if you intend to store them for a longer time.
- Refrigerate – for up to 3 days.
- Freeze – for up to 3 months. I suggest packing them in a single serving for easy thawing and reheating.
- Thaw – Thaw inside the fridge overnight when ready to serve.
- Stove – Reheat on medium-low heat for a few minutes until warm through. Add a splash of chicken or vegetable broth to moisten it a bit.
- Microwave – Set it on medium power and reheat for 1-2 minutes or until heated through.
Moroccan couscous is actually a type of pasta made of semolina. However, its taste is totally different from pasta. The taste can be described as neutral and mild with nutty and sweet notes.
Both of them are high in starch and carb contents. But couscous is a healthier alternative because it contains more proteins and fiber, and has a lower glycemic index as well.
Couscous is a type of pasta that is made of semolina. So, both of them are equally healthy.
What to Serve with Moroccan Couscous?
This vegetable couscous is a cinch to make with no complicated tools and procedures needed. Plus, it makes a quick side dish, especially for this Moroccan Chicken Tagine HERE. Serve it along with these remarkable entrees below and you’ll surely have an amazing dinner perfect for the whole family.
- Greek Chicken Marinade
- Bacon Wrapped Chicken
- Pork Tenderloin Roast
- Creamy Tuscan Shrimp
- Beef Broccoli Stir Fry
More Flavorful Recipes to Try
How Do You Make Moroccan Couscous
Prepare the Couscous and Raisins
- Combine chicken broth and cumin – Pour chicken broth and cumin powder into the saucepan and bring to a boil. As soon it boils, remove it from the heat. Set aside.(Photos 1-2)
- Place the couscous into another bowl and add the raisins. (Photo 3)
- Pour the broth – Pour the chicken broth mixture into the bowl of couscous. Cover and let it sit fully covered for about 5-10 minutes or until all the broth is absorbed by the couscous. Fluff the couscous with a fork. (Photo 4)
Combine All The Ingredients
- Saute – Heat up the saucepan with oil, then add garlic, onion, stir for a minute then add bell pepper, zucchini, carrot, and chickpeas. Saute for about 2-3 minutes. Then add turmeric, cumin, allspice, coriander, and cinnamon. Adjust seasoning to taste.(Photos 5-7)
- Remove the saucepan from heat – Remove sauteed veggies and add them to the bowl of couscous. (Photo 8 and 9)
- Pour the lemon juice – Add lemon juice, sliced almonds, and parsley. Toss until combined. (Photo 10)
- Garnish – Serve with this chicken tagine and garnish with parsley.
Watch How To Make It
- 300 ml chicken broth or water
- 1 teaspoon cumin, to be mixed with broth or water
- 1 ½ cup (225g) couscous
- ¼ cup (40g) raisins
- 3-4 tablespoons (42-56 ml) olive oil
- 1 cup (115 g) onion, diced
- 1 tablespoon (8 g) minced garlic
- 1 bell pepper, diced
- 1 cup (115 g) zucchini, diced
- 1 cup or 150g (110 g) carrots, diced
- 1 can chickpeas
- ¼ teaspoon (0.50 g) turmeric
- ½ teaspoon (1 g) cumin
- ½ teaspoon (1 g) cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon (1 g) allspice
- 1 teaspoon (2 g) coriander
- 3 tablespoons (45ml) lemon juice
- ½ cup (75 g) toasted almonds, sliced
- 2 tablespoons (4 g) fresh parsley, minced
- Pour chicken broth and cumin powder into the saucepan and bring to a boil. As soon it boils, remove it from the heat. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, add couscous together with raisins. Pour the chicken broth mixture into the bowl of couscous.
- Cover and let it sit fully covered for about 5-10 minutes or until all the broth is absorbed by the couscous. Fluff the couscous with a fork.
- Heat up the saucepan with oil, then add garlic, onion, stir for a minute then add bell pepper, zucchini, carrot, and chickpeas. Saute for about 2-3 minutes. Then add turmeric, cumin, allspice, coriander, and cinnamon. Adjust seasoning to taste.
- Remove sauteed veggies and add them to the bowl of couscous. Add lemon juice, sliced almonds, and parsley. Toss until combined,
- Serve with this chicken tagine and garnish with parsley.
Tips & Notes:
- You may opt to bake the veggies instead of sauteeing them. Just line the veggies in a baking sheet and drizzle some olive oil and salt. In a preheated oven, bake the vegetables at 375 degrees F for about 15 minutes or until tender.
- Moroccan Couscous can be made ahead. Just store them in an airtight container and place them inside the fridge for up to 3 days and up to 3 months in the freezer.
- Replace chicken broth with vegetable broth or water to make it completely vegan.
- Add chunky meat like chicken, pork, beef, and seafood to make our Moroccan couscous recipe more flavorful.
- You can also add more veggies like potatoes and celery to make it more filling.
- Repurpose the leftover and turn it into a sandwich wrap stuffing.
- Add a dash of cayenne or pepper flakes to make it spicier.
- Please keep in mind that the nutritional information is a rough estimate and can vary significantly based on the products used in the recipe.