This simple, warm couscous salad is a fast and easy pantry meal. Roasted sweet potato and crispy chickpeas are coated in a flavourful Moroccan-inspired spice mix, then tossed with couscous and a simple lemon dressing. Serve it as a main or as a side dish! Gluten-free and vegan options.
This Moroccan-Inspired Couscous is the first of a few ideas for pantry meals. I normally cook with a lot of fresh produce, but sometimes we need a quick, healthy meal using ingredients we have on hand. You only need a few simple ingredients for the base of this recipe (couscous, sweet potato and chickpeas) and then we add a bunch of spices, lemon and garlic for flavour.
I think you’ll love this recipe because it’s
- sweet from the honey and sweet potato
- spicy from the cayenne
- crispy from the roasted chickpeas
- …basically an amazing flavour and texture experience
Here’s what you’ll need to make this Moroccan-Inspired Couscous. The dish itself is not an authentic Moroccan recipe, but uses ingredients and sweet-and-savoury flavours commonly found in Moroccan cuisine. See the recipe card below for exact quantities and detailed instructions.
For the spice mix
- Ground ginger
For the dressing
- Olive oil
- Lemon juice – freshly squeezed or you can substitute white wine vinegar
- Garlic – minced
- Honey – or substitute brown sugar or agave syrup for vegan options
- Parsley – dried or fresh
- Salt and pepper – to taste
For the rest
- Sweet potato – about a pound (one large potato)
- Chickpeas – a 19-ounce can, drained and rinsed
- Olive oil – for roasting, as well as cooking the couscous
- Water or broth
- Uncooked couscous
How to make it
Prepare the spice mix and roast the sweet potato and chickpeas
Preheat the oven to 425 °F and take out a sheet pan (no need to grease or line it). Then, make the spice mix. Combine all spices in a small bowl and mix well.
Next, spread out the diced sweet potato and chickpeas on the sheet pan. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle on the spice mix. Toss everything until it’s evenly coated and oil and spices. It may seem like a lot of spice because it is! This is the main source of flavour in the dish.
Roast the sweet potato and chickpeas for about 25 minutes, or until the sweet potato is fork tender. The chickpeas will be a bit crispy once done. Be sure to flip/toss everything about halfway through roasting to ensure even cooking.
Make the couscous and dressing
While the sweet potato and chickpeas are roasting, prepare the other parts of the dish. In a medium sauce pan, bring the water or broth and 1 teaspoon of olive oil to a boil. Stir in the couscous, cover tightly and remove from heat. Steam the couscous for 5 minutes, then uncover and fluff with a fork. Cover it again to keep it warm until the remaining ingredients are ready.
Next, prepare the dressing. In a small bowl or mason jar, whisk/shake together the olive oil, lemon juice, minced garlic, honey, parsley, salt and pepper.
Once the sweet potatoes and chickpeas are done, put the couscous in a large bowl and drizzle with the dressing. Stir until the couscous is evenly coated.
Then, fold in the roasted sweet potato and chickpeas until everything is evenly distributed. Serve immediately garnished with chopped fresh parsley and lemon slices, if desired.
Tips for Success
1. Don’t skimp on the olive oil for roasting. I found I needed 2 tablespoons to have enough oil to mix with the spices and evenly coat the sweet potatoes and chickpeas. If you’re doing a free pour onto the sheet pan, don’t be afraid to add a bit more oil if it seems like some of the spice mix isn’t being picked up. It should look like a spice paste is covering the sweet potato and chickpeas.
2. Be sure to cut the sweet potato fairly small. See the photo in the ingredients section for a visual. You want to the sweet potato to fully cook before the chickpeas dry out. The chickpeas should be crispy on the outside but not all the way through the middle.
3. Be sure to season with salt. I’ve purposely not given an amount of salt to add (aside from the spice mix), because it will change depending on whether you use broth or water for your couscous. Taste the dish once it’s assembled and if it feels like something’s missing, it probably needs some salt!
Can I make this gluten free?
Yes! I find the easiest way to make this gluten free is to substitute the couscous for quinoa (cook 1 cup dry quinoa according to the manufacturer instructions). If you’re able to find gluten-free couscous, be sure to follow the cooking instructions on the package, as the cooking time will likely be different than traditional couscous.
Other recipes you may enjoy
- Southwest Sweet Potato, Kale and Black Bean Skillet
- Creamy Vegan One Pot Pasta
- Slow Cooker Potato & Chickpea Tikka Masala
- Quinoa Chickpea Salad with Lemon Dill Dressing
- Chickpea Spinach Curry
Moroccan-Inspired Couscous with Roasted Chickpeas and Sweet Potato
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- 1 19 oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 1 lb sweet potato, peeled and 1/2-inch dice (about 1 large sweet potato)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
For the couscous
- 1 1/4 cup water or vegetable broth
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 1 cup uncooked couscous (see note 1)
For the dressing
- chopped fresh parsley
- lemon slices
- Preheat the oven to 425 °F and take out a sheet pan. Then, make the spice mix. Combine all the spices in a small bowl and stir until well combined.
- Spread out the diced sweet potato and chickpeas on the sheet pan. Drizzle with the olive oil, then sprinkle on the spice mix. Toss the sweet potato and chickpeas until everything is well coated. It should look like a spice paste is coating everything.
- Roast the sweet potato and chickpeas for about 25 minutes, or until the sweet potatoes are fork tender. Flip the sweet potatoes and chickpeas about halfway through roasting to ensure they cook evenly.
- While the sweet potatoes and chickpeas are roasting, make the couscous and dressing. In a medium sauce pan, bring the broth or water and teaspoon of olive oil to a boil. Stir in the couscous, cover tightly and remove from heat. Let the couscous steam for 5 minutes, then fluff with a fork. Keep the couscous covered to stay warm until the other ingredients are ready.
- In a bowl or mason jar, combine the olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, honey, parsley, salt and pepper and whisk or shake until well combined.
- Once roasting is complete, assemble the dish. In a large bowl, combine the couscous and dressing and stir until the couscous is well coated. Then, fold in the roasted sweet potato and chickpeas. Season to taste with additional salt and pepper and serve immediately. Store any leftovers in a sealed container in the refrigerator and eat within 4 days.
- Gluten free option: You can also use quinoa in this recipe. Simply cook 1 cup dry quinoa according to manufacturer instructions and use it in place of the couscous. You can also use gluten-free couscous. Be sure to follow the package instructions for the correct cooking time.
- Be sure to season with salt to taste once you’ve assembled the dish. I’ve purposely not given an amount because it will change depending on whether you cook the couscous with broth or water.
- This recipe will serve 6-8 as a side dish.
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Hey, I’m Laura!
Creator of The Recipe Well
If you’re looking for easy meals and Instant Pot recipes, you’re in the right place! I use my nutrition degree to create simple, approachable recipes that will help you find your happy place in the kitchen.