Couscous is a delicious, nutritious pasta made with semolina flour mixed with water that’s associated with Morocco. It’s easy to cook, and there’s no end to what you can do with it. These couscous recipes can make great side dishes or entrees.
This is one of the most versatile grains you can keep in your pantry. Like rice, it stores well so you can buy it in bulk and save money.
In fact, if you can’t find it in your local grocery stores, you can order regular couscous or instant couscous online. If you’ve never cooked or eaten it before, now’s the time to start!
One of the best things about this dish is how short the cooking and prep time are. Some of these recipes can be made in about 20 minutes. Very few take more than 30, unless they need some time in the slow cooker.
Note: couscous is not gluten free. For that, you’ll need quinoa recipes.
These dishes feature chicken for added protein.
- Cheesy Mexican Couscous Casserole. This casserole has salsa for heat and lots and lots of cheese. Black beans add a nice savory contrast contrast to the wheat flour and the cilantro makes it extra special delicious. Hint: if you don’t like cilantro (it tastes different to some people than others), regular parsley or chopped green onions would make great alternatives.
- Balsamic Chicken Skewers with Israeli Couscous. This mildly sweet and spicy recipe is also very filling. The balsamic chicken gets cooked outdoors on the grill to give it the whole dish a little smokiness. And the larger size pearl couscous has a great texture.
- Slow-Cooker Garlic Chicken with Couscous. This recipe from Martha Stewart features thyme and onions, and also a cup of chicken broth or stock and dry white wine. It’s deliberately simple to make, but you wouldn’t know it from the taste.
- Sesame Chicken & Couscous. This one uses toasted sesame salad dressing to give it a nutty flavor. Honey roasted peanuts add some sweetness. If you love sesame chicken, this is one you have to try.
- Greek Lemon Chicken Soup. Garlic, chicken broth, extra virgin olive oil and feta cheese give this soup a wonderful Greek flavor. Lemon zest gives it a tangy boost and crushed red pepper adds a touch of heat. You might want to sprinkle on fresh lemon juice, too.
Fish & Seafood
- Scallops with Spicy Curry Sauce and Couscous. This one is Thai inspired. There’s nothing quite like golden brown pan-seared scallops (use a cast iron skillet for best results), with that roasted sesame oil flavor and wonderful texture. This dish adds a spicy curry sauce with coconut milk, cumin, coriander and sriracha sauce.
- Spicy Moroccan Couscous Recipe with Shrimp and Chorizo. The author calls this a “Moroccan-Spanish fusion” and that’s accurate. It’s spicy with onion, garlic, turmeric, jalapeno and more bringing the heat. And the best part? You can also make it in 20 minutes.
- Seared Shrimp and Summer Couscous. This lightly spicy dish has tomatoes and onions with extra virgin olive oil, garlic, lemon and more. It has a zesty flavor. And amazingly, this is another quick one to fix, all in one skillet.
- Shrimp Scampi on Couscous. This recipe has lots of good stuff. Onions, carrots, and tomatoes. Garlic, crushed red pepper, and white wine. But the real secret ingredient is the clam juice. It gives this dish a very special savory flavor.
- Seared Ahi Tuna with Mushrooms, Peas, & Couscous. Unlike fully cooked tuna, seared ahi stays moist and easy to eat. Here, it’s combined with mushrooms, garlic, and lime for flavor. Sugar snap peas add a crunchy texture and a hint of sweetness.
- Couscous with Fresh Cilantro and Lemon Juice. Bold, fresh ingredients make this one delicious with turmeric, lemon, garlic and cilantro. Extra virgin olive oil gives you moist and fluffy couscous.
- Roasted Brussels Sprout and Couscous Salad. This one features not only crunchy brussels sprouts, but also avocado and hummus among its ingredients. It’s served with a simple vinaigrette and also includes romaine lettuce. It’s bound to be filling.
- Baked Couscous Poppers. Somewhere between a croquette or a hush puppy, these little poppers are crunchy and gooey and delicious. You can use different cheeses or and whatever spices you like. It would be hard to get this one wrong. No fork necessary.
- Lemony Cucumber Couscous Salad. Fresh and lightly seasoned, with parsley, lemon and garlic, salt, fresh cracked black pepper and more. Feta cheese brings its creamy-tangy flavor to the party. And you can add garbanzo beans if you want a little more crunch and bulk.
- Stuffed Aubergine with Couscous and Tomatoes. This is a very unique recipe, featuring a stuffed eggplant (aubergine). The mildly spicy flavor comes from cinnamon, chili, curry, ginger and other seasonings. Tomato and pine nuts add texture. You serve it with a mint mango chutney yoghurt.
- Israeli Couscous w/ Spinach Pesto & Heirloom Tomatoes. Even with making your own homemade pesto, this dish is easy peasy and quick to make. You can do most of the work as the couscous cooks for 10 minutes in boiling water. It gets wonderful flavors and textures from spinach, pine nuts, tomatoes, cheese and garlic.
- Spring Vegetable Couscous Stir Fry. This is basically a very simple skillet dish with chopped vegetables and beans. But then you add Mexican spices, lime and dried basil. This has an adjustable level of heat, depending on whether you take the seeds out of the peppers.
- Balsamic Kale Mushroom Couscous. This one is presented as a side dish, but with goat cheese and kale, it could easily be a main dish. Especially if you added some roasted vegetables. It includes sauteed mushrooms, onions, garlic cloves. vegetable broth and tangy balsamic vinegar glaze. You can make it in half an hour.
- High Protein Black Bean and Corn Salad. Black beans and sweet corn are always such a great combination. This dish adds onions and several seasonings for extra flavor. It’s loaded with fiber as well as protein.
- Couscous Cakes. These little cakes are bound together with egg and extra virgin olive oil. You can use a simple flavored package of instant couscous, like Roasted Garlic as the author recommends. Fresh basil is wonderful in this one, but dried basil will work. You can also try other fresh herbs.
- Couscous with artichokes and walnuts. You get a different flavor profile from many of the others with bay leaf and oregano for fresh herbs. Artichoke hearts and walnuts cook in for the last 5 minutes so they retain some of their crunch. The whole dish takes less than 30 minutes.
- Swiss Chard With Chickpeas and Couscous. The garbanzo beans add a lot of flavor, and also make it more filling. But the chard adds a nice bitter note that’s countered by the dark or golden raisins.
- Vegetarian Baked Pizza Couscous. A casserole featuring Israeli couscous with all the flavors of a pizza. You put everything but the cheese in a pot together and let it cook under cover. Then you put it in a casserole, add the mozzarella, and let it bake until it’s melted.Sprinkle with parmesan cheese and serve.