Moroccan Couscous with Chickpeas and Peppers

Vegetarian Moroccan couscous with chickpeas and vegetables
Vegetarian Moroccan couscous with chickpeas and vegetables
  • 90 mins
  • Prep: 75 mins,
  • Cook: 15 mins
  • Yield: about 4 servings
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Couscous and chickpeas form the base of this Moroccan vegetarian and vegan pilaf or salad. A hearty variety of spices, including ginger, paprika and allspice, give this Moroccan couscous recipe it's unique flavor, and the lovely textures and flavors of the other ingredients, including sweet potato, zucchini, chickpeas and bell peppers, pine nuts and raisins, balance out the simplicity of the couscous to create a dish that ends up being quite varied and exciting.

Don't be intimidated by the long ingredients list of this couscous dish, as it really is simple to prepare, and many of the ingredients are just spices, some of which are quite common and you likely already have. Plus, the couscous itself takes just minutes to prepare. Feel free to omit one or two of the spices, if don't have them on hand, but the combination of all of them together is really what gives this couscous its unique Moroccan-inspired flavor and fragrance.

If you like Moroccan flavors or couscous dishes, try this easy vegetarian and vegan couscous and chickpea pilaf. This recipe is both vegetarian and vegan, but couscous isn't gluten-free. If you need this recipe to be gluten-free, just swap out the couscous for a gluten-free substitute, such as quinoa or another gluten-free grain if you were looking for a gluten-free vegan version, and adjust the cooking time accordingly. Enjoy!

What You'll Need

  • 1 sweet potato (chopped)
  • 1 zucchini (sliced)
  • 2 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 15 oz. can chickpeas (drained well)
  • 2 red or yellow bell peppers (chopped)
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. ground allspice
  • 1/2 tsp. ginger
  • 1/2 tsp. paprika
  • Dash cayenne pepper
  • Dash cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp. salt (sea salt or kosher salt is best)
  • 2 cups couscous, uncooked
  • 3 cups water for cooking couscous
  • Optional: 1/2 cup pine nuts
  • 1/2 cup raisins

How to Make It

  1. First, in a large pot or skillet, sautee the sweet potato, zucchini and garlic in the olive oil until just barely tender, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add in the chickpeas, bell peppers, 1/4 cup water and all of the spices: cumin, allspice, ginger, paprika, cayenne pepper, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt.
  3. Cover the pot and allow the mixture to simmer all together for another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. In a separate large saucepan, cover the couscous with water. Bring to a boil, then cover the sauce pan and remove it from heat. Allow the couscous to sit for about 15 minutes, or until it becomes light and fluffy when mixed.
  1. Combine the cooked sweet potato, zucchini, chickpea and peppers mixture with the couscous, or, for a nice presentation, place the couscous, then pour the mixture on top and serve immediately. 
  2. Stir in the raisins and pine nuts just before serving, or sprinkle on top. 

Serving suggestion: Spoon your prepared couscous into oven-roasted squash, or stuff if into roasted bell peppers. 

Like couscous? Like cooking healthy and simple vegetarian meals at home? Here's more healthy recipe ideas