Our 17 Very Best Couscous Recipes

updated Oct 19, 2022
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Credit: Joe Lingeman/Kitchn; Food Stylist: CC Buckley/Kitchn

Couscous has got to be one of the most underrated pantry staples in the kitchen arsenal. Made from semolina wheat, couscous is nutty, sweet, and versatile — it also happens to be incredibly quick-cooking. You’re likely most familiar with regular couscous, which is tiny and granular, but Israeli (or pearl) couscous has also gained popularity over the years. It’s larger in size (indeed pearl-like), with a chewy texture. Both regular and Israeli couscous can be made with white semolina flour or whole-wheat semolina flour.

Along with quinoa, rice, and a cohort of pasta in varying shapes, do yourself a huge favor and always have a stash of couscous in stock. Once you do, you’re always at the start line of making a nearly endless marathon of quick and easy meals and side dishes. Here are 17 couscous recipes to help you turn this bulk-bin staple into dinner at a moment’s notice.

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One-Pot Smoked Almond and Herb Couscous
This recipe will show you that it only takes a few basic pantry ingredients to give a plain pot of couscous a punch of flavor and texture. It's a side dish that works well alongside any meat or fish, but it also can bulk up cooked vegetables to make them a full meal.
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2 / 16
Sautéed Salmon with Cilantro Vinaigrette over Couscous

This simple recipe takes the yawn-inducing protein-plus-starch meal framework and turns it on its head. A vinaigrette gives fresh, bright flavor to mild couscous while scallions and cilantro provide a satisfying green bite to buttery smooth salmon.

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3 / 16
Israeli Couscous Salad with Feta, Chickpeas, and Herbs
Since this colorful salad is filled with chickpeas, it's got enough protein in it to act as a meatless main dish for dinner or a satisfying lunch.
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4 / 16
One-Skillet Chicken Thighs with Pearl Couscous and Eggplant Recipe
This one-skillet dish features crispy chicken thighs, pearl couscous, and eggplant simmered in a flavorful tomato base. A complete dinner with minimal dishes to wash? Yes, please!
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5 / 16
Herbed Couscous & Goat Cheese Stuffed Tomatoes
When good tomatoes are out of season I love to swap in a rainbow of bell peppers, zucchini, or even delicata squash.
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6 / 16
Honey Harissa Chicken and Chickpeas
While serving this sweet and spicy chicken over couscous is technically optional, it's well worth it because the couscous soaks up lots of the flavorful sauce.
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7 / 16
Couscous Salad with Butternut Squash and Cranberries
This salad has become a regular in my meal plan roster. It can play side dish or main course, and it makes a lot, which means I have lunch for a couple days to come.
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8 / 16
Minted Summer Couscous with Watermelon and Feta
Watermelon and feta are a classic combination and really are so good here in this salad. However, know that cantaloupe and honeydew melon are great substitutions.
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9 / 16
Couscous Salad with Cucumber, Red Onion & Herbs
This is one of my favorite couscous recipes to pair with fish. A mess of fresh herbs keeps it light, while cucumbers and wispy red onion add a nice crunch.
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10 / 16
Roasted Shrimp and Pea Couscous Salad
This is a quick and easy dinner salad that you'll look forward to diving into. Israeli couscous takes just about 10 minutes to cook up, and while it does you can roast the shrimp and peas all on one sheet pan in the oven.
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Couscous With Chickpeas, Fennel, and Citrus
Enjoy it as a one-dish lunch or dinner, or as a side to a larger meal.
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12 / 16
Buttery Eggplants with Toasted Couscous
Toasting Israeli couscous in a dry pan before adding water helps pull out its inherently nutty flavor to make it even more interesting.
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13 / 16
3-Bean Israeli Couscous Salad
While three-bean salad is typically a summer staple, I'm happy to bring its light, bright touch to the table all year long. I lean on frozen beans when I can't find fresh, and often bulk it up with some shredded chicken or salmon.
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14 / 16
Pomelo Couscous
Filled with bright chunks of pomelo, refreshing mint, and savory fried shallots, it can be served alongside fish or tofu or as a light meal on its own.
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Pearl Couscous Salad with Mint and Pecans
Pearl couscous, toasted pecans, generous handfuls of fresh mint, and sweet red onion, what’s not to like?!
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16 / 16
Whole Wheat Pearl Couscous with Cherries & Arugula
This couscous salad has got nutty walnut crunch, sweet juicy cherries, and the mild yet exciting spiciness of arugula.
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