Lemon Couscous Recipe - Cooking Classy (2024)

Published January 13, 2021. Updated January 12, 2022

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This Lemon Couscous is one of the fastest, easiest side dish recipes! Plus it has a delicious bright flavor that pairs well with just about any main dish, it’s incrediblyversatile too.

Lemon Couscous Recipe - Cooking Classy (1)

Easy Lemon Couscous

This simple couscous recipe is just one of those must have recipes! And really after you’ve made it a few times you won’t need a recipe at all.

It’s so straightforward, easy to memorize and also easy to switch things up with other ingredients you have on hand (see ideas below).

With it’s delicious flavor and 10 minutes to finish it will quickly become a weeknight staple!

Pair with chicken, beef, lamb, pork, fish, shrimp, vegetables – options are endless.

Difference Between Moroccan, Israeli and Lebanese Couscous

While all are three types of couscous are traditionally made of durum semolina flour the size and texture are the main differences.

  • Moroccan couscous: This is the smallest type of the three. It cooks the fastest and has a soft, fine texture.
  • Israeli couscous: Also known as Ptitim, giant couscous, or pearl couscous. This type is quite a bit larger than moroccan couscous and takes longer to cook (approximately 10 minutes). It has a chewy texture.
  • Lebanese couscous: Also known as Moghrabeyah, this is the largest of the three types. It’s is about the size of peas and takes the longest to cook (about 15 – 20 minutes). This type also has a chewy texture.

Lemon Couscous Recipe - Cooking Classy (2)

Lemon Couscous Recipe Ingredients

  • Extra virgin olive oil: Standard refined olive oil will work too it just wont have quite as much flavor.
  • Garlic: Only use fresh garlic here.
  • Chicken broth: Vegetable broth works great too.
  • Lemon: Zest before you halve and juice. Use a zester not a grater to zest or you’ll end up with a bitter flavor in the couscous coming from the white pith of the lemon.
  • Salt: Season to taste.
  • Parsley: You can use other herbs here, ideas are listed below.
  • Moroccan Couscous: Note that not all brands require the same amount of liquid. Refer to the back of the package to see if you need to adjust the amount of liquid.

Scroll down below for full recipe with ingredient amounts and print option.Lemon Couscous Recipe - Cooking Classy (3)

How to Make Couscous

  1. Heat olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat.
  2. Add garlic and saute until fragrant (not toasting and browning or it will be bitter!), about 20 seconds.
  3. Remove from heat, pour in chicken broth, lemon zest, lemon juice and season with salt to taste. Place over medium-high heat and bring to a boil.
  4. Pour in couscous, stir then remove from heat and immediately cover with lid. Let rest 4 minutes off heat.
  5. Add parsley and fluff with a fork. Serve warm.

Lemon Couscous Recipe - Cooking Classy (4)


It’s delicious as is but when you want to switch it up try adding one of these:

  • Pine nuts or slivered almonds
  • Basil, mint, dill or cilantro
  • Roasted or sautéed vegetables
  • Flaked salmon or tuna (add a little extra oil at the end)
  • Diced oranges
  • Spices (turmeric, paprika, cumin, coriander, etc.)
  • Fresh greens (spinach, baby kale, watercress, etc.)
  • Feta or fresh mozzarella

More Delicious Recipes to Try

  • Greek Salad
  • Quinoa Salad
  • Moroccan Couscous with Roasted Vegetables
  • Ratatouille
  • Shrimp and Couscous Foil Packs

16 Quick & Easy 30 Minute Recipes! (plus weekly recipe updates)

Lemon Couscous Recipe - Cooking Classy (5)

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Lemon Couscous Recipe

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This is one of the fastest, easiest side dish recipes! Plus it's has a delicious bright flavor that pairs well with just about any main dish, it's incrediblyversatile too.

Servings: 4

Prep3 minutes minutes

Cook4 minutes minutes

Resting4 minutes minutes

Ready in: 10 minutes minutes



  • Heat olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat.

  • Add garlic and saute until fragrant (not toasting and browning or it will be bitter!), about 20 seconds.

  • Remove from heat, pour in chicken broth, lemon zest, lemon juice and season with salt to taste. Place over medium-high heat and bring to a boil.

  • Pour in couscous, stir then remove from heat and immediately cover with lid. Let rest 4 - 5 minutes off heat.

  • Add parsley and fluff with a fork. Finish with a little more olive oil or broth to moisten if desired and serve warm.


*Other herb options that would be delicious here as a substitute for parsley are basil, cilantro, dill, or mint.

Nutrition Facts

Lemon Couscous Recipe

Amount Per Serving

Calories 234Calories from Fat 63

% Daily Value*

Fat 7g11%

Saturated Fat 1g6%

Sodium 159mg7%

Potassium 175mg5%

Carbohydrates 35g12%

Fiber 2g8%

Sugar 1g1%

Protein 6g12%

Vitamin A 623IU12%

Vitamin C 14mg17%

Calcium 27mg3%

Iron 1mg6%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Nutrition values are estimates only. See full disclaimer here.

Course: Side Dish

Cuisine: Mediterranean

Keyword: Couscous

Author: Jaclyn

Lemon Couscous Recipe - Cooking Classy (2024)


What can I add to couscous to make it taste better? ›

I toss it with herbs, lemon juice, pine nuts, and olive oil to make a bright, refreshing pilaf. It pairs nicely with any protein, vegetable main dish, or soup!

How do you keep couscous Fluffy? ›

Use a fork to fluff the couscous – stirring it with a spoon can make it go clumpy. Giant couscous isn't meant to be fluffy, but you do want the balls to separate, so boil them like pasta and then toss in oil or butter to stop them sticking.

How do you make couscous not mushy? ›

Too Much Water: Stick to the 1:1.5 ratio to avoid mushy couscous. Underseasoning: Don't forget to season your water with a pinch of salt.

What goes with couscous? ›

  • 1Moroccan sweet potato bake. ...
  • 2Moroccan lamb skewers with peperonata couscous. ...
  • 315-minute Moroccan lamb on couscous. ...
  • 4Moroccan chicken with sticky roasted vegetables. ...
  • 5Moroccan-spiced roasted eggplant and tomato. ...
  • 6Lamb meatball tagine with couscous. ...
  • 7Moroccan chicken with beetroot couscous. ...
  • 8Easy fish tagine.

Is couscous healthier than rice? ›

Couscous is packed with nutrients and has better selenium per serving than white rice when it comes to selenium and other elements. It is light and filling, making it a good choice for busy professionals, families and people who don't want to spend a lot of time in the kitchen to prepare a healthy, delicious meal.

Why is my couscous gummy? ›

Use the correct amount of water or stock

With too much liquid, your couscous will go soggy. With not enough, it'll be hard. So, take the time to make all measurements accurately. For every 2/3 cup couscous, you should add 1 cup of boiling water or (preferably) stock.

What happens if you don't rinse couscous? ›

There's no need to wash or rinse the couscous before cooking it as it doesn't contain starch. The butter/oil is optional, but it will help the grains to separate so it's recommended. Add the couscous to boiling water, and then take it off of the heat to avoid it overcooking.

Can you overcook couscous? ›

Couscous requires oil, but in the right amount. The grains should all be nicely separated, but not overcooked and drowned in oil. Add the right amount of vegetables, meat or fish. Too little seasoned couscous is just as unpleasant as an overcooked couscous.

Is couscous healthy to eat? ›

Rich in selenium, couscous can help boost your immune system and reduce your risk of some diseases like cancer. Nevertheless, while couscous has health and nutrition benefits, it may not be the best carb choice for everyone. It contains gluten, making it off limits for some.

How much liquid for 1 cup of couscous? ›

You'll need 1 ¼ cups water or broth per 1 cup of Golden Couscous. After you bring your water or broth to a boil with a ½ teaspoon of salt, add your couscous. To give it a smoother texture, add in butter or oil with the couscous. Stir, cover, and let stand for 5 minutes once you remove it from the heat.

How do you add moisture to couscous? ›

Rehydrating Couscous in a Microwave

Pour water, broth or a combination into a glass measuring cup or small heat-proof bowl. Use about 1 cup of total liquid for every cup of Martino's couscous. Heat the liquid in the microwave on high until the fluid begins to boil. Pour the boiling water over the couscous.

Why is my couscous bland? ›

If your couscous is always boring and flat-tasting, try cooking it in something besides plain water. Couscous has a natural nutty flavor that isn't exactly explosive, but can be enhanced to great effect by a flavorful liquid.

Is couscous good for bowels? ›

Source of fibre. Couscous is a source of fibre, but to optimise levels, it's worth looking for wholemeal couscous, which is made from the whole grain. Fibre supports digestive health and alleviates constipation, and research suggests it may help improve levels of beneficial bacteria in the gut.

What meat to eat with couscous? ›

The best dishes to serve with couscous are beef and broccoli, glazed salmon, haddock, orange chicken, tofu curry, Zuppa Toscana, smoked meatloaf, lamb stew, Cola chicken, salsa chicken, garlic tofu, beef kebabs, chickpea stew, roasted vegetables, butternut squash and kale, shakshuka, Moroccan cauliflower, chickpea ...

What culture eats couscous? ›

The ethnic group of North Africa, in whose language couscous means “well rolled” or “well formed.” Since there, couscous came to spread around the world and became a principal meal for Moroccans, Algerians, and Tunisians. couscous is the official Moroccan national dish and Tunisia's unofficial national dish.

How do you salvage couscous? ›

Rehydrating Couscous with Hot Water

Cover, and let the couscous steam for 5 minutes. When you lift the lid, the grains will appear flat in an even layer. Use a fork to fluff it up and break up the clumps for light and fluffy couscous. Add a drizzle of olive oil and a little salt.

Does couscous taste like pasta or rice? ›

Couscous is a dried and cracked pasta made from semolina, like tiny pasta, meaning it cooks at lightning speed. It has a nutty, sweet flavor that pairs perfectly with stews, braises, and grilled or roasted veggies.

How should you eat couscous? ›

It makes a fluffy bed for veggies, fish, and meats, and perfectly soaks up hearty Moroccan chicken or lamb stews. You can even chill your couscous and toss it into a tasty Mediterranean salad! It's true what they say about it—it's the pasta so nice, they named it twice!

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