Make Ahead

Moroccan Vegetable Couscous

March  3, 2011
0 Ratings
  • Serves 6
Author Notes

When I was a child, my family was living in Portugal and, on my seventh birthday, we took a boat trip to Morocco. My favorite part of the trip was when my family sang "Happy Birthday" to me at dinner, and my younger sister approached all of the passengers who weren't singing and shamed them into joining in. My least favorite part of the trip was when we arrived in the port and some of the merchants offered to trade me for a toy camel. My parents thought it was funny, but I was afraid they'd accept.

Fast forward to last April when my husband and I traveled with our kids on our first trans-Atlantic trip to Paris. My husband ordered this Moroccan couscous for lunch one day and, much to my surprise, all of the kids loved it. I think the plethora of carrots and potatoes made it more palatable. When we got home, I hurried to recreate the dish before they forgot that they liked it.

If you can get ras-el-hanout, use it; otherwise, it is easy to make your own spice blend. The spices in my version are intensly flavorful, which is a nice complement to the mild couscous.

What You'll Need
  • For the spice mixture, use 6 teaspoons ras-el-hanout or make your own blend:
  • 1/2 teaspoon saffron
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon cardamom
  • 1/2 teaspoon coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • To finish the dish:
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 4 carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 1 potato, peeled and sliced
  • 1 28-ounce can whole San Marzano tomatoes with their juice, chopped
  • 1 zucchini, sliced
  • 1 15-ounce can chick peas
  • 1 cup couscous
  1. Mix the spices in a small bowl with a whisk. Heat a large skilled over medium heat and add the spices. Toast them just until they are fragrant, probably less than a minute. Pour the spices back into a bowl and set them aside.
  2. Add the oil to the skillet turn the heat up to medium high. Add the onion and saute until it softens, about 7 minutes.
  3. Add the garlic, carrots, and potato and saute for a couple of minutes. Stir in the tomatoes with their juices and the spice mixture. Bring the mixture to a simmer and cook until the potatoes and carrots soften, about 20 minutes.
  4. Add the zucchini and chick peas and heat until the zucchini has cooked and the beans have heated through, about 5 minutes.
  5. When the vegetables have finished cooking, taste them and add more salt and pepper if you like. Heap the couscous in the middle of a large shallow bowl. Spoon the vegetable mixture over the top.
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8 Reviews

Jeff February 8, 2020
I loved this recipe and thought the spices were wonderful. However, rather than adding the vegetables directly I first roasted them at 425 and when they were almost fork tender I then added them to the tomato sauce. The one exception was the zucchini which I added as directed to prevent them from getting over cooked--I hate mushy zucchini. But, the flavor was excellent and definitely will be making this again!
Macheese August 20, 2017
Should have read the comments - my one Russet potato sliced 3/8" took close to an hour to soften - not sure why. Might pre cook them the next time to cut down on time to get the dish to the table. Otherwise yummy!
Kaite March 15, 2016
This is a great dish. My only complaint is that it took me far longer to cook my carrots and potatoes than what is stated in the recipe. I also kept having to add water as the cooking liquid would evaporate. In total probably added a cup and a half of water. I waited for my veggies to cook and then boiled the liquid down. Veg has been cooking almost two hours now.
Christopher H. January 8, 2015
I had to add a little extra liquid in order to get the potatoes and carrots cooked, so I threw in about 1/2 a cup of chicken broth. Otherwise this is a great and simple recipe that I will definitely add to my regular rotation!
Ham July 22, 2012
I've tried several recipes to attempt the perfect Moroccan stew and this is absolutely the best one yet. One small adjustment - I added 1 tbl of hot curry and a large handful of dino kale in the last 3 minutes. Also, I sliced the carrots and potatoes fairly thick so they stewed for closer to 45 minutes. Regardless, a fantastic and highly recommended recipe!
MrsBeeton October 25, 2011
This IS a one pot wonder! I managed to find ras-el-hanout (yes, in Vermont!) and it is my newest, best friend. Especially when I use it to flavor this delicious and easy stew. I love this vegetarian stew, and so did my family. I'll make this again and again. Thanks for a wonderful recipe.
hardlikearmour March 4, 2011
Sounds delicious and healthy. Glad your kids will eat it!
boulangere March 3, 2011
What a lovely story, and this looks wonderful!