Couscous cooked in a rich tomato sauce bursting with flavour! This Tomato Couscous Recipe is easy-to-follow and will soon become a household favourite! Serve this delicious side with fish, meat or veggies.
About the Moroccan Tomato Couscous Recipe
I love tomato-based food because it is always so flavourful. Let’s face it tomato sauces always pair well with rice, grains, and pasta e.g Tomato Pasta and Jollof rice. I have eaten plain couscous many times. One of my favorite traditional Moroccan dishes is Couscous Royale. It is filled with flavour and served in a clay pot. The last time I visited Morocco a reddish/orange couscous was served as a side and it tasted amazing! I found out more about the dish and it turned out that it was a variation of the normal plain boiled couscous. I was so impressed and noted it down as I usually do and decided to create a recipe!
Couscous is a tiny North African pasta made with wheat (semolina) or barley. It is yellow in color and comes in different sizes. There is fine, medium, and large (pearl pasta) couscous. Couscous is usually served with stews, as desserts, or in salads. To make couscous you need hot water and a pinch of salt. Make sure it is not too soft because it absorbs water really quickly and becomes mushy. You can find couscous in the world food section of most supermarkets.
Make sure you read the instructions on the packaging before you cook the couscous. It should let you know how long it needs to be cooked for. This tomato couscous is a delicious side dish so you can serve it with whatever you like! Things like sea bass, chicken, lamb, and roasted vegetables go really well with this dish. You can also eat it as a main.
Moroccan Tomato Couscous Recipe Ingredients
- Couscous: I used medium-sized couscous for this recipe but you can also use fine couscous or large couscous such as pearl pasta. If you are using a different size then make sure you read the instructions on the packaging. It should let you know how long it needs to be cooked for.
- Canned tomatoes: You will need one can of tomatoes for this recipe. However, You can use 4-5 fresh tomatoes instead.
- Onions: I like to add some slices of onion to the dish in the last ten minutes to enhance the flavour but this is optional.
- Tomato puree: Tomato puree adds a lovely vibrant colour.
- Seasoning: To season tomato couscous you will need salt, pepper, marjoram, oregano, and 35 spices which is a Moroccan seasoning (optional).
- Water/stock: You can use water, vegetable/chicken stock or both to cook the couscous. Stock will give this dish more flavor but if you are after a strong tomato flavor then use water.
- Butter: Add about 1/2 a tbsp of butter to this dish in the last 5 minutes. Butter adds moisture to the couscous.
- Parsley: Garnish with fresh parsley.
How to Make Tomato Couscous
- Heat a splash of sunflower or vegetable oil in a medium-sized pot.
2. Once the oil is hot pour one can of blended or well-chopped tomatoes into the pot.
3. Add salt to taste, pepper to taste, 1/2 tbsp of 35 spices (optional Moroccan spice), 1/4tsp of oregano, 1/4 tsp of marjoram, and 2-4 tbsp of tomato puree.
4. Add 2-3 cups of water or chicken/vegetable stock to the pot. Stir the mixture and adjust the seasoning if necessary. Then bring the mixture to a boil.
You can vary the proportions. For example, you can add 1 cup of stock and 2 cups of water.
5. Next, add 400 g of couscous to the pot.
6. Stir the couscous. Leave to cook on low to medium heat for 7-10 minutes or until soft. Turn the couscous from time to time and add more water if necessary. Option to add 1/4 of thinly sliced onions.
Note: The amount of water you add to the couscous depends on the instructions on the packaging so make sure you read it before adding water. Some couscous absorbs more water quickly compared to others.
7. Once the couscous has softened add 1/2 to 1 tbsp of butter and use a fork to stir lightly. This will add moisture to the couscous.
Alternative: Add olive oil for a vegan option.
8. The Moroccan tomato couscous is ready!
9. Don’t forget to garnish with fresh parsley! Serve as a main or with chicken, vegetables or fish.
Substitutions: Feel free to swap canned tomatoes with fresh tomatoes. This will give this dish an even fresher taste!
Couscous: I used medium-sized couscous to make this recipe but feel free to use any size of your choice. However, be aware that cooking times vary depending on the size of the couscous. If you are cooking fine couscous then cook the couscous for a shorter amount of time and if you are using a larger couscous like pearl pasta then you may have to cook it for longer.
Seasoning: As this recipe was inspired by my last trip to Morocco I used a Moroccan seasoning called 35 spices. However, you don’t have to use this. Feel free to add any other seasoning of your choice. This dish is also delicious with salt and pepper too.
Stirring: Do not stir the dish as you would a stew. You want to scoop couscous from the bottom to the top of the saucepan instead. This prevents excess burning and it will also stop the couscous from getting too soft.
Couscous is an option because it soaks up flavour very easily. Season couscous with salt, pepper, dried herbs, lemon juice, nuts, olives, and more!
Pearl pasta is not the same as couscous. It has a similar shape to couscous but is slightly larger. Pearl pasta is a type of pasta made with semolina flour and water. It is believed that it was developed by prime minister David Ben-Gurion, in the 1950s to feed the influx of immigrants in Israel at the time.
To make couscous moister add butter or olive oil just before serving and stir using a fork. You can also add butter or olive oil in the last 5 minutes of cooking.
Couscous is called smida in Morocco.
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Moroccan Tomato Couscous Recipe
- Meidum-sized pot
- Blender (optional)
- 400 g of couscous
- 1 can of tomatoes
- ¼ to ½ an onion
- 2-4 tbsp of tomato puree
- ½ tbsp 35 spices optional
- Salt to taste
- Pepper to taste
- ¼ tsp of marjoram
- ¼ tsp of oregano
- 2-3 cups water or vegetable/chicken stock
- ½-1 tbsp of butter or olive oil
- Fresh parsley
- Heat a splash of sunflower or vegetable oil in a medium-sized pot.
- Once the oil is hot pour one can of blended or well-chopped tomatoes into the pot.
- Add salt to taste, pepper to taste, 1/2 tbsp of 35 spices (optional Moroccan spice), 1/8 tsp of oregano, 1/8 tsp of marjoram, and 1-2 tbsp of tomato puree.
- Add 2-3 cups of water or chicken/vegetable stock to the pot. Stir the mixture and adjust the seasoning if necessary. Then bring the mixture to a boil.
- Next, add 350 g of couscous to the pot.
- Stir the couscous. Leave to cook on low to medium heat for 7-10 minutes or until soft. Turn the couscous from time to time and add more water if necessary. Option to add 1/4 of thinly sliced onions.
- Once the couscous has softened add 1/2 to 1 tbsp of butter and use a fork to stir lightly. This will add moisture to the couscous.
- Don’t forget to garnish with fresh parsley!