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Easy Moroccan Couscous

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This easy Moroccan couscous is the perfect side for North African and Middle Eastern stews.

Moroccan couscous is loved for its quick cooking time, mild flavour, and ability to absorb the flavours of other ingredients in a dish. It’s a popular and nutritious alternative to rice or pasta and is enjoyed by people around the world.

This is my easy, no fuss recipe for couscous. I have a lot of couscous recipes, some of which could be a meal in their own right. That is not this recipe!

This couscous is a simple side dish.

Easy couscous

What exactly is couscous?

Couscous is a staple food in many North African and Middle Eastern cuisines, made from crushed durum wheat semolina. It’s traditionally served as a base for savoury dishes or as a side dish, similar to rice or pasta.

As it is so quick and easy to prepare, I often make it instead of rice to serve with stews and curries.

About this recipe.

When you make this, you’ll see just how easy it is to make delicious couscous in no time. Although the instructions on many packages will tell you to cook it differently, I find this method to be the best.

All you need to do is bring some water to a boil and then add half as much couscous as water. All of the other ingredients are optional but compliment the dish nicely.

Can you upscale or downscale this recipe?

Yes and it’s easy too. The recipe below will serve about 6 people. All you need to do to up or downscale the recipe is to remember that the water to couscous ratio is always 2 parts water to 1 part couscous.

What do you serve with couscous?

Any Middle Eastern or African stew will go very well with this. I recommend trying my beef tagine recipe.

What is ras el hanout and is there a good substitute?

Ras el hanout is a Moroccan spice blend which is available online, some supermarkets and at specialty shops.

For best results, however, you should make ras el hanout. Roasting and grinding the spices will give your Moroccan couscous more depth of flavour.

If you do not have ras el hanout on hand and you don’t want to make it, check out my recipe anyway. You can add a pinch of some or all of the different spices that go into ras el hanout to your couscous or just leave the spicing out.

How long can you keep couscous in the fridge?

You can store it, wrapped tightly in the fridge for at least 3 days. Then simply heat it up in your microwave for a couple of minutes until hot.

Can this be frozen?

Yes and it freezes really well for up to 6 months. To reheat it, let you Moroccan couscous defrost completely and the reheat it in your microwave.

Step by step photographs.

Ingredients for the recipe.

Get your ingredients together before you start cooking. You can add more ingredients as explained below in the recipe card.

Frying the shallots and adding the ras el hanout.

Fry the shallots in a little butter or olive oil for about 5 minutes to soften. Then add the ras el hanout.

Adding chicken stock and bringing it to a boil.

Add the chicken stock and bring it to a boil. Then turn off the heat.

Pouring in the couscous.

Quickly add the couscous while the stock is still boiling hot.

Cover the pan to steam the couscous.

Stir the couscous in and cover the pan. Leave for 10 minutes.

Frying the pine nuts.

If adding pine nuts, you can fry them in a little butter while the couscous is steaming. Transfer to a plate when the pine nuts are golden brown.

Fluffing up the couscous with a fork.

Remove the lid after 10 minutes and your Moroccan couscous will be ready. Add a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil and fluff it up with a fork.

Adding the pine nuts and coriander (cilantro) before seasoning with salt and pepper.

Stir in the pine nuts and parsley or coriander (cilantro). Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Moroccan couscous in a serving bowl next to a stew.



Yield: 6

Easy Moroccan CousCous

Easy couscous
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes


  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 35g (1/4 cup) pine nuts
  • 1 red onion or 3 shallots, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp ras el hanout, more or less to taste
  • 500ml (2 cups) chicken or vegetable stock
  • 180g (1 cup) couscous
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 5 tbsp coriander or parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Melt the butter over a medium heat in a frying pan. Add the pine nuts and fry them until lightly browned, stirring continuously. Be very careful not to burn the pine nuts. When golden brown, transfer the pine nuts to a plate and set aside.
  2. Add another tablespoon of butter to the pan stir in the red onion and salt and fry for about 5 minutes or until soft and translucent. Stir in the ras el hanout and fry for another 30 seconds.
  3. Now turn up the heat to high and pour in the stock. Bring the stock to a boil and when it boils, turn off the heat and add the couscous. Cover the pan with a tight-fitting lid and let it sit for 10 minutes.
  4. After 10 minutes, your couscous will be cooked through. Add the lemon juice, parley or coriander and salt and pepper to taste.Fluff it up with a fork and serve hot.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 98Total Fat: 9gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 10mgSodium: 223mgCarbohydrates: 4gFiber: 1gSugar: 1gProtein: 2g

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