Welcome to an explosion of colour, flavour, and texture – this Moroccan couscous is the perfect way to jazz up your next barbecue or summer meal. Featuring roasted vegetables, chickpeas, sweet raisins, and warming spices, it's a delicious vegan side dish that's dairy-free and ready in just over 30 minutes.
Great as an alternative to rice and other side dishes, you can take this couscous in any direction you like. Try roasting different veg, use other fresh herbs, or skip the toasting step to reduce the cooking time slightly.
I create new content every single week. Subscribe to keep in touch and get a free download of The Vegan Kitchen – My Top 10 Tips.
What should I add to couscous?
In addition to the delicious spices, this couscous recipe includes roasted vegetables and chickpeas for flavour, texture, and colour. If you don't want to roast any vegetables, you could simply add chopped raw veg such as pepper, tomato, and cucumber.
The chickpeas add a nice texture in amongst the small pearls of couscous (just like in a vegan biryani), but feel free to leave these out. Alternatively, you could replace them with toasted seeds or nuts such as flaked almonds.
If you want to use dried chickpeas, you'll need to make sure these are cooked through before using in this recipe. For more info, see my post on how to cook dried chickpeas.
Is Moroccan couscous healthy?
Despite involving carbs and a hearty glug of olive oil, this couscous dish packs in a load of healthy nutrients. When you include the veg and chickpeas listed in the recipe below, each serving will provide roughly:
- Protein: 9 grams (18% of RDA)
- Fibre: 7 grams (29% of RDA)
- Vitamin C: 36 mg (44% of RDA)
What you'll need
To make this tasty Moroccan couscous, there are a few key ingredients you'll need:
- Dried couscous for the bulk of the dish
- Raisins to provide a sweet and fruity flavour
- Earthy spices in the form of cumin seeds, cinnamon, and turmeric
- Fresh coriander to bring it all together
How to make Moroccan couscous with roasted veg
Preheat the oven to 220°C (430°F).
Drizzle 1 tablespoon of oil over a large oven dish or pan and add the diced pepper, onion, carrot, courgette, and drained chickpeas (1). Sprinkle with salt, toss well, and roast for 15-20 minutes or until the veg is tender and starting to colour slightly.
Once the veg is tender, remove from the oven and set aside (2).
In a small mixing bowl, combine the lemon juice, lemon zest, olive oil, crushed garlic, salt, and pepper (3). If you have a large lemon with a lot of zest, start with around half then add more zest to taste later on.
Using a pan with a tight-fitting lid, heat the pan over low-medium heat and add the dried couscous to the dry pan (4). Toast for 2-3 minutes, then add the cumin seeds along with a small drizzle of oil. Toast for another 2 minutes or until the couscous is golden brown, moving regularly to avoid burning.
Once the couscous and cumin seeds are toasted, remove the pan from the heat. Mix in the ground cinnamon, ground turmeric, and raisins, then pour over the boiling water or vegan stock.
Cover with a lid and leave to steam for around 5 minutes or until the couscous is soft. Once soft, fluff up the couscous lightly using a fork (5).
In a large bowl, combine the couscous with the roasted veg and chickpeas. Roughly chop the fresh coriander, then add this to the bowl along with the lemon dressing (6). Mix everything well, adjust the seasoning to taste, and serve.
This Moroccan couscous is great with a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil, as well as additional lemon, salt, and pepper to taste. For an extra burst of flavour, add some chopped mint or parsley along with the coriander.
No, couscous is not gluten-free. GF alternatives to couscous include quinoa and millet, but these cook differently so it's recommended to follow the package instructions in each case.
If using dried chickpeas, these will need to be cooked separately before including in this recipe. For details, see my post on how to cook dried chickpeas.
You can store this couscous in the fridge in an airtight container for up to four days.
You can freeze couscous for around 4-6 months. Defrost and reheat in the microwave or in a pan with an extra splash of water or olive oil.
Variations and tips
- Couscous to water ratio: I'd suggest using a small mug or cup (US standard or otherwise) to measure equal amounts of dried couscous to kettle-hot water (boiled water from a kettle). The vessel ratio will be 1:1, but in reality this will equate to e.g. 180 g dried couscous and 240 ml water. That being said, you should always double-check your couscous package instructions.
- Oven dish/pan: If you don't have a large oven dish or pan, you can spread everything out across two pans (or just don't roast the chickpeas – it adds more texture but these are already cooked when canned).
- Ground cumin: If you don't have cumin seeds, use half the amount of ground cumin and add this at the same time as the cinnamon and turmeric.
- Skip the toasting step: If you don't want to toast the couscous – and you're also using ground cumin instead of seeds – you can just add the dried couscous, spices, and liquid to a heat-proof bowl with a lid or cling film (plastic wrap) to create a tight fit.
- Add heat: To give this dish a kick, stir in chopped fresh chilli or add chilli powder at the same time as the spices and stock.
Keep in touch
Subscribe below to receive a weekly newsletter with my latest recipes. Nice and simple. No pesky pestering. No spam (which wouldn’t be very vegan anyway).
More vegan recipe ideas
If you liked this recipe, you may also enjoy:
- Mediterranean Couscous Salad
- Vegan Cucumber Raita
- Vegan Waldorf Salad with Chickpeas
- Chickpea Stir-Fry
- Three-Bean Salad with Lemon, Mint and Parsley
- Courgette Salad with Peanut Dressing
- Teriyaki Grilled Aubergine
- Cucumber Salad with Sesame Ginger Dressing
Moroccan Couscous with Chickpeas and Roasted Veg
Chickpeas and Roasted Veg
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 red bell pepper, deseeded and diced
- 1 red onion, peeled and diced
- 2 medium carrots, peeled and diced
- 1 medium courgette (zucchini), diced
- 1x 14 oz (400 g) tin chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- Zest and juice of 1 lemon
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (plus more to taste)
- 2 small cloves garlic, crushed or finely chopped
- 1 cup (180 g) dried couscous (see notes for ratio info)
- 2 teaspoons cumin seeds (or 1 teaspoon ground – see notes)
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
- ½ cup (80 g) raisins
- 1 cup (240 ml) kettle-hot water or vegan stock
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Small handful fresh coriander (parsley or mint would also work)
Chickpeas and Roasted Veg
- Preheat the oven to 220°C (430°F).
- Drizzle 1 tablespoon of oil over a large oven dish or pan and add the diced pepper, onion, carrot, courgette, and drained chickpeas. Sprinkle with salt, toss well, and roast for 15-20 minutes or until the veg is tender and starting to colour slightly.Note: If you don't have a large oven dish or pan, you can spread everything out across two pans. Alternatively, you can skip roasting the chickpeas (canned chickpeas are already cooked and roasting just helps to add texture).
- Once the veg is tender, remove from the oven and set aside.
- While the veg is roasting, you can continue with the other steps. In a small mixing bowl, combine the lemon juice, lemon zest, olive oil, crushed garlic, salt, and pepper. If you have a large lemon with a lot of zest, start with around half then add more zest to taste later on.
- Using a pan with a tight-fitting lid, heat the pan over low-medium heat and add the dried couscous to the dry pan. Toast for 2-3 minutes, then add the cumin seeds along with a small drizzle of oil. Toast for another 2 minutes or until the couscous is golden brown, moving regularly to avoid burning.
- Once the couscous and cumin seeds are toasted, remove the pan from the heat. Mix in the ground cinnamon, ground turmeric, and raisins, then pour over the boiling water or vegan stock. Cover with a lid and leave to steam for around 5 minutes or until the couscous is soft (it may take slightly longer depending on the variety).
- Once soft, fluff up the couscous lightly using a fork.
- Mediterranean Couscous Salad
- Spinach Couscous with Lemon and Garlic
- Vegan Slaw with Sesame Ginger Dressing
- Pilau Rice Recipe
- Vegan Chickpea Biryani
- Grilled King Oyster Mushrooms
- Roasted Cauliflower with Cumin
- Crispy Baked Potato Wedges
📩 Fancy keeping in touch? Subscribe to my weekly newsletter.
📖 Find out more about my story.
🍽️ Want to get straight to the food? Hop aboard the recipe train.
🌿 Got a question about veganism? You might find the answer in these vegan FAQs.