Chicken and couscous is a great combination. Not only is it delicious, it’s also hearty and healthy. This one-pot meal is easy to make and has many of the same flavors found in other Moroccan dishes, such as tagine. Here are the ingredients you’ll need:
One-pan chicken couscous
- Preparation and cooking time
- Prep:15 mins
- Cook:15 mins
- Serves 4
This satisfying yet super-healthy recipe is all cooked in one pan for minimum washing up
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 onion, thinly sliced
- 200g chicken breast, diced
- good chunk fresh root ginger
- 1-2 tbsp harissa paste, plus extra to serve
- 10 dried apricots
- 220g can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
- 200g couscous
- 200ml hot chicken stock
- handful coriander, chopped, to serve
- STEP 1Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan and cook the onion for 1-2 mins just until softened. Add the chicken and fry for 7-10 mins until cooked through and the onions have turned golden. Grate over the ginger, stir through the harissa to coat everything and cook for 1 min more.
- STEP 2Tip in the apricots, chickpeas and couscous, then pour over the stock and stir once. Cover with a lid or tightly cover the pan with foil and leave for about 5 mins until the couscous has soaked up all the stock and is soft. Fluff up the couscous with a fork and scatter over the coriander to serve. Serve with extra harissa, if you like.
Chicken Vegetable Couscous
Chicken Vegetable Couscous: Let’s go off to Northern Africa for the inspiration behind this fabulously simple dish which uses the worlds smallest pasta – couscous. A blend of Scotch bonnet, Garlic, Onion, bell peppers, and spices adds a touch Savory and spicy to this meal. It’s full of flavor and really quick to make, this meal will be a winner with all the family.
Chicken Vegetable Couscous
It’s very easy to turn couscous into a crowd-pleasing favorite because naturally, it has a mild taste just like Rice, but it can easily take up the taste of any spice, vegetable or meat that is used to cook it. It is simple, inexpensive, nourishing and flavorful. This can easily be put together in a snap, can easily be doubled for a crowd and you can even use it as meal prep for the week because it stores really well and it can also be made with or without meat for a vegetarian twist.
It is loaded with bell peppers, onions, and spices like paprika, curry powder with salt and pepper. One of the reasons why I love couscous is because it’s very versatile, it’s very easy to work with and you can customize it any way you want and it takes little time to put together. It is a good way to make good use of whatever veggie happens to be lingering in your crisper drawer begging to be used.
According to North African tradition, couscous is a symbol of good luck, abundance, and blessings and as a result of this, it is often prepared to celebrate a holiday or housewarming. This couscous recipe is a meal in itself, and you can also eat it as a side dish.
Variations in making this chicken and vegetable couscous
- For a slightly nutty flavor, add some sliced almonds
- Simply skip the chicken for a vegetarian version.
- Add some dark or golden raisins for a sweet variation
A little extra worth knowing about couscous
- Couscous is the staple product of North Africa
- It is the national dish of the countries of Maghrib – Algeria, Morocco, and Tunisia.
- Couscous is a granular form of pasta.
- It is made from semolina, obtained by grinding the heart of Wheat.
- It cooks very quickly and it has a mild nutty flavor
- One cup of cooked couscous contains 200 calories: 12% protein, 87% starch, and only 1% fats.
- One cup of couscous provides 35% of your recommended daily requirement of fibers.
- Couscous is safe to eat at any age group, in fact, infants can also eat couscous as soon they’re ready to transition into solid foods.
- This recipe calls for boneless chicken. I used the Boneless Chicken thighs. However, the chicken breast will work just fine.
- I used chicken stock instead of water as I do with most recipes. It helps to intensify the flavor
- If your kids don’t like it spicy, you can leave out the scotch bonnet
Moroccan-Inspired Chicken Couscous
You’ll love this easy Chicken Couscous dinner with baked chicken thighs in warm Moroccan spices, vegetables, and fluffy couscous.
Easy chicken and couscous recipe
If you need a little inspiration to step up the chicken dinner game, today’s recipe is for you!
This couscous chicken is a riff on my earlier Moroccan chicken. In this version, I use boneless skinless chicken thighs, coated with a Moroccan-inspired rub with garlic, tomato paste and warm seasonings including Ras El Hanout, cinnamon and ginger. I add in vegetables–carrots, celery, and onions–to make a one-pan baked chicken dinner.
Couscous is the perfect thing to finish this pan of baked chicken thighs, and it literally takes only 10 minutes to make.
This chicken with couscous and vegetables is a winner every time!
What is couscous and how do you cook it?
Though many confuse it with a grain, couscous is actually a tiny pasta made out of semolina flour, and it is a staple in North African and Middle Eastern cooking.
There are a few types of couscous, including the pearl couscous I used in this earlier salad recipe, but in today’s recipe, I opted for Moroccan-style couscous. Using this fine couscous that’s already been steamed makes for a quick addition to this pan of chicken.
I like to start by toasting the couscous in extra virgin olive oil; this is a great way to add flavor right off the bat. To cook this fine Moroccan couscous, you’ll add 1 cup of boiling water or broth to 1 cup of couscous, then simply cover and let the couscous soak up the water (off the heat) and do not disturb it for 10 minutes before fluffing it with a fork.
What you’ll need for this couscous recipe
This Moroccan-inspired chicken dish is made with traditional Moroccan spices, chicken and couscous.
For the chicken:
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Red wine vinegar
- Tomato paste
- Ras el Hanout – This is a popular North African spice blend that lends the Moroccan flavor to this dish without needing a long list of spices on hand.
- Ground cinnamon and ginger – While both of these are in this Ras el Hanout blend, I like to add extra for additional warmth.
- Chicken thighs – Boneless, skinless chicken thighs work best in this recipe.
- Salt and pepper
- Vegetables – Carrots, celery and red onion are all baked with the chicken.
- Raisins – An optional topping before serving.
For the couscous:
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Couscous – I used instant Moroccan couscous for this recipe. It’s pre-steamed, so it cooks quickly.
- Water – You can also cook the couscous in chicken broth.
- Kosher salt
- Ground cinnamon – Just a pinch to add flavor to the couscous.
- Fresh parsley – Adds a fresh flavor and pop of color to the dish.
How to make chicken couscous
In this recipe, you’ll start by seasoning and baking the chicken and vegetables, then you’ll add the cooked couscous on top when ready to serve. Here is how to make it (the print-friendly recipe is below):
- Prepare the seasoning rub. In a small bowl whisk together the olive oil, red wine vinegar, tomato paste, garlic and spices (ras el hanout, cinnamon, and ginger)
- Season the chicken. Pat the chicken dry and season with kosher salt and pepper on both sides, then coat with about ¾ cup of the rub. Set aside for now (or if working ahead, you can cover and store in the fridge for a couple hours or up to overnight)
- Season the vegetables. In a mixing bowl, season the vegetables with salt and pepper. Toss with the remaining rub.
- Combine the chicken and vegetables. Transfer the chicken and vegetables to a baking pan.
- Bake. Bake at 425 degrees F (on the center rack) for 40 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through and the juices run clear. The veggies should also soften and gain some char.
- Prepare the couscous. While the chicken is baking, cook the couscous. First, toast the couscous with olive oil in a saucepan. Season with kosher salt and a dash of cinnamon, then add 1 cup of boiling water or broth. Cover and turn off the heat. Do not disturb for 10 minutes
- Add the couscous over the chicken to serve. Remove the cooked chicken from the oven. Spoon the couscous between the chicken and allow it to soak up the pan juices. Finish with raisins (or other chopped dried fruit of your choice) and serve!
Enjoy your Moroccan-inspired chicken couscous fresh from the oven; just be sure to give the couscous a few minutes to soak up some of the pan juices. With chicken, couscous and veggies all in one dish, this is truly a complete meal. There’s no need for side dishes or extras, though you can never go wrong starting with a big salad.
Additional Recipe FAQs
Can I use chicken breasts instead of thighs in this recipe?
Yes, boneless chicken breasts will work here as well. However, remember to adjust cooking time as chicken breasts can dry out. Depending on the thickness of the chicken breasts, it can take about 18 to 20 minutes to bake. With chicken breasts especially, I like to start by baking covered with foil for 10 minutes, then finishing uncovered for another 8 minutes or so. I have a baked chicken breasts recipe that can be a good guide for you here (different flavors, of course)
Can I prep this chicken couscous in advance?
If you want to work in advance, you can season and marinate the chicken, keeping it in the fridge up to 1 night. You can also chop up the veggies and cook the couscous one day ahead, if you like.
Can I use pearl couscous instead?
Yes! Pearl couscous will work well here. The cooking method will vary as pearled couscous cooks much like pasta in boiling water for about 15 minutes or so. Learn more about pearl couscous here.
How long will this chicken and couscous recipe keep?
Leftover cooked chicken couscous can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for 3 to 4 days. Reheat on the stovetop over medium heat just until the chicken has warmed through (you may add a little liquid if needed).