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This easy, 30 minute curried couscous is the perfect busy weeknight meal made with simple pantry ingredients. Enjoy on its own or as a healthy side dish to just about anything!

cooked couscous with fresh cilantro in a large oven Dutch oven
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What is Couscous?

While it looks like a grain, it’s actually a pasta! It is made from coarsely-ground durum wheat semolina.

If this is not one of your pantry staples, you MUST grab some on your next grocery run. Couscous cooks up so fast that it’s a great alternative to rice, barley, and other types of grains and pasta.

It has a neutral, slightly nutty taste so it lends itself very well to a wide variety of dishes. Texture wise, it’s light and fluffy.

Couscous is so flexible! You can enjoy it just as it is or add to cold salads and quick meals like this curry couscous and pizza casserole with couscous for an easy and tasty option.

Ingredients

all the ingredients laid down on a grey background

I am highlighting just the ones that need further explanation. The complete list is in the recipe card below.

  • Couscous – There are many varieties. What you will most commonly find is the Moroccan or Israeli couscous. The latter, also referred to as pearl couscous, is much larger in size compared to the others. I am using Moroccan whole-wheat couscous here as it packs extra fiber.
  • Chicken – Dice the chicken into small pieces so it will cook up fast and make it easy for your baby or toddler to manage. Here’s how to cook chicken perfectly.
  • Warm spices – curry powder, turmeric powder, and ground ginger – adds SO much flavor to the dish.
  • Lemon – This is a MUST ingredient. If you don’t have it, wait until you can get your hands on it. It really brightens the whole dish and adds that je ne sais quoi factor. If you’d like an extra zing, add some grated lemon zest too!
  • Broth- feel free to use whatever broth you wish.
  • Diced tomatoes – you can also use tomato sauce if you prefer.

How to Make Curried Couscous

Carrots cooked with spices.

Step 1: Cook small-diced carrots and onion. Then add garlic and seasonings.

Chicken added to the pot.

Step 2: Add chicken and cook until browned.

Broth and tomatoes added.

Step 3: Add tomatoes and broth. Bring to a boil.

Couscous added to boiling broth.

Step 4: Stir in couscous. Remove from heat and let it stand, covered, for 8-10 minutes. Fluff with a fork and squeeze in fresh lemon juice and add zest (optional).

Variations

  • Swap chicken breast with chicken thighs or use ground chicken or turkey.
  • No meat? You can totally make this a vegetarian dish with chickpeas or white beans would work well! Add it along with the liquids.

Tips for Success

a close up shot of the cooked dish scooped with a large spoon
  • While this curried couscous is delicious when enjoyed on the same day, the flavors really start to deepen and enhance over time. So if able, plan ahead and make this at least several hours prior to eating.
  • Fresh lemon juice is everything! So do NOT leave it out. You can also grate in some lemon zest for that extra punch of brightness.

Serving Suggestions

an adult portion of couscous on a white plate laid on top of blue and white folded kitchen towel

This dish can be enjoyed warm or cold as a curried couscous salad!

You can also top fluffed couscous with:

  • Fresh herbs – like parsley or green onions
  • Cheese – feta or parmesan pairs best!
  • Nuts like chopped walnuts and almonds
  • Dried fruits – our favorites are golden raisins cranberries, and dates
  • Sun-dried tomato

Storage Suggestions

Transfer leftovers into an airtight container and store in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. You can also freeze for up to 3 months.

Here’s everything you need to know to safely store leftovers!

More One Pot Meals

Did you make this recipe? Leave a rating below and let me know how you liked the recipe! Your feedback means so much to me!

5 from 16 votes

Curried Couscous (with chicken)

This easy, 30 minute curried couscous is the perfect busy weeknight meal made with simple pantry ingredients.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 6
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Ingredients 

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil, , divided
  • 1/2 medium yellow or red onion, , small diced
  • 2 medium carrots , , small diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, , minced (can use 2 teaspoons garlic powder)
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 skinless, boneless chicken breast,, diced
  • 1 (15 ounce) can no-salt-added diced tomatoes
  • 1 3/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup (170g) whole wheat couscous
  • Juice of 1 lemon (see note)
  • Fresh cilantro or parsley
  • Optional toppings: cheese (feta or parmesan are especially great), chopped almonds and dried fruits (e.g. cranberries, raisins, dates)

Instructions 

  • Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a dutch oven or deep skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and carrots. Cook for 3-5 minutes. 
  • Add garlic and seasonings and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds or so.
  • Add the remaining 1 teaspoon of oil. Add chicken and cook for 5-7 minutes, or until browned.
  • Add tomatoes and broth. Bring to a boil. Stir in couscous. Remove from heat and let it stand , covered, for 8-10 minutes.
  • Fluff with a fork and squeeze in lemon and zest. Add cilantro/parsley and any other toppings you wish.

Notes

  • Poultry will work better than red meat. Dice the chicken into small pieces so it will cook up fast and make it easy for your baby or toddler to manage. You can also use ground chicken or turkey.
  • If you want to make it vegetarian, chickpeas or white beans would work well! Add it along with the liquids.
  • Lemon – This is a MUST ingredient. If you don’t have it, wait until you can get your hands on it
  • Broth: feel free to use whatever broth you wish. 
  • Optional toppings suggestions:
    • Cheese – feta or parmesan pairs best!
    • Nuts – almonds or walnuts (finely chopped or ground for babies as they’re a choking hazard)
    • Dried fruits – raisins, cranberries, dates (finely chopped for babies)

Nutrition

Calories: 205kcal | Carbohydrates: 36g | Protein: 10g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 12mg | Sodium: 37mg | Potassium: 164mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 3407IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 29mg | Iron: 2mg
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About Min

Thank you so much for stopping by! I am Min, a Registered Dietitian, a Christ follower, a wife, and a mom to our two miracle babies! Currently, I’m having a ton of fun feeding their tummies and sharing our baby led weaning journey! Follow me on Instagram if interested in seeing daily menu as well as tips and tricks.

5 from 16 votes (13 ratings without comment)

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