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Moroccan couscous in a bowl

Authentic Moroccan Couscous (Ahmed’s Version)

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 4.9 from 10 reviews
  • Author: Salima Benkhalti
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 3-4 servings 1x
  • Category: dinner, entree, main dish
  • Method: boiled
  • Cuisine: Moroccan, North African
  • Diet: Vegetarian


This authentic Moroccan couscous is a colorful dish made with perfectly cooked couscous topped with a variety of fresh veggies stewed in a flavorful broth. My grandmother and aunts in Morocco make it every Friday as a way to gather together and pray. 


Units Scale
  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 2 cups couscous
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 lb lamb shank or shoulder, cut into chunks
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 2 tsp ginger
  • 3 threads of saffron, bloomed with an ice cube (see note)
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 1 carrot, cubed
  • 1 small eggplant, chopped into large chunks
  • 2 zucchini, chopped into large chunks
  • 1 cup chopped turnip, parsnip, or daikon, chopped into large chunks
  • 2 tbsp parsley, minced
  • 2 tbsp cilantro, minced
  • 14oz can of tomato sauce
  • 2 cups water or vegetable broth
  • 1 tsp pepper flakes or jalapeño pepper
  • 1 can garbanzo beans, drained


  1. In a medium pot, make your couscous according to directions on the package. Bring the water to a boil in the pot with the olive oil before tossing in the couscous, covering and move off the burner completely. Let it sit covered for 5 minutes before fluffing with a fork, covering and setting aside.
  2. In a separate large pot, heat olive oil over medium heat and brown the lamb chunks on all sides before tossing in the onion, bloomed saffron, and seasonings. Sauté until translucent before tossing in the cubed carrots and root veggies and cooking for a couple minutes.
  3. Once the carrots begins to soften, toss in the zucchini and eggplant. Sauté for another couple minutes before adding minced herbs, tomato sauce and water. Cook over medium heat, slightly covered until all vegetables are cooked through and lamb reaches an internal temperature of 145 (about 20 minutes).
  4. Add in the garbanzo beans and mix thoroughly, continuing to cook just until they are warm and evenly incorporated. Serve the couscous first, then top carefully with vegetables, finally pouring the broth over the top. Garnish with additional cilantro, parsley, and serve with extra bowls of broth. 


To bloom saffron, simply add threads to a small bowl with an ice cube and let the ice melt completely before using.