Couscous with Seasonal Vegetables

Serves 6

A vegetarian version of the Moroccan national dish. Meat eaters will add lamb, beef, or chicken. Use any seasonal vegetable or root vegetables. In Casablanca, Couscous Beidaoui includes at least seven different kinds.

1  1/3 cups chicken broth
3 tablespoons olive oil
6 threads Spanish saffron, crushed
1 cup couscous
1/2 cup frozen baby lima beans
1 small onion, finely diced
1 medium carrot, peeled and diced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 medium green zucchini, peeled an diced
1 medium yellow zucchini, peeled and diced
Salt and pepper to taste

In a medium saucepan, bring the broth, 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, and the saffron to a boil. Add the couscous and the lima beans. Stir once. Remove from heat. Cover and let stand until couscous is tender, 10 to 12 minutes. (Couscous should yield about 3 cups.)

In a medium skillet over medium high, heat the remaining olive oil. Cook the onion, carrot and garlic, stirring occasionally until lightly browned, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the remaining vegetables. Cook, stirring, until zucchini is crisp tender, 3 to 4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. To serve, mound the couscous on a platter, and top with the vegetables.

copyright Kitty Morse 2008.

10 thoughts on “Couscous with Seasonal Vegetables

  1. patmcardle

    Hi Kitty,
    I figured out the problem I was having sending you a comment and it was me not your website. Your cous cous with seasonal vegetables recipe has inspired me to try eating and cooking local as much as possible. I’ll let you know which veggies I find in the Alexandria farmers market to try with the cous cous. Is there anything I can substitute for the saffron? It’s so expensive. Thanks,

  2. Kitty Post author

    Hi Pat:
    Yes, couscous is the perfect dish for aptly named “locavores.” Since you make it with seasonal vegetables, you should always find locally grown ingredients at your local farmer’s market. Think squashes in summer, pumpkin in the fall, eggplant in the spring.. Unfortunately, there is no good substitute for the real saffron.. But you use it so sparingly, a little goes a very log way. Beware of the cheap “saffron” sometimes sold in ethnic markets–it is really safflower, a coloring agent that lacks the distinctive aroma of true Spanish saffron, the most common one sold in the US.



  3. Melamed

    I just recently learned how to make handraked couscous (still practicing) and found your site at the right time. In Israel many couscous stews are flavored with turmeric, is this an authentic spice for such a dish? I also like to add cinnamon in my stews.
    Great recipes, thank you.

  4. Kitty Post author

    Dear Sarah:

    I’m glad you like my recipes. Yes, turmeric is a common ingredient in Moroccan cuisine, usually in conjunction with a little saffron (turmeric adds a golden color while a little saffron, the world’s most expensive spice, adds fragrance and flavor). I too, use a touch of cinnamon to add depth of flavor to stews and soups (as well as to a tomato sauce!

    Keep on making couscous!

  5. Melamed

    In Israel there is a standard couscous stew which almost always includes the following vegetables:
    white cabbage, onions, carrots, zucchini (light green squash), pumpkin, turnips, celery, chickpeas and either chicken or beef. It is usually flavored with turmeric and the “chicken soup spice” (MSG, I know yuck)
    I have always wondered about this recipe and its origin. Since I have never been to Morocco (I would love to!) I really don’t know if this stew existed there or if this specific combination of vegetables developed from what was available in Israel. Its hard to tell after such a long time.


  6. Kitty Post author

    It sounds as though you are talking about Couscous with Seven Vegetables, or Couscous Beidaoui (in the style of Casablanca). Moroccans definitely do NOT use MSG, but they do include a little of each of the following spices: ginger powder, cinnamon, saffron (expensive, but a MUST), turmeric (for color), salt, pepper, and paprika. Have you visited

    Just add chicken, or chunks of beef or lamb to this vegetarian version, and there you have it! You can serve couscous with harissa on the side. Or else, substitute Thai hot sauce.


  7. Melamed

    Once nobody used MSG (the chicken soup mix) but now it is popular amoung home cooks and many have gotten used to the taste, not only for Moroccan food but for many others.
    The Israeli version of couscous stew does resemble the Casablanca style couscous, which once had a large Jewish population (I should have thought of that).
    btw, a few months ago I tried to make warka (brik), I made a fantastic mess!

  8. Kitty Post author

    Making warka is an art. You need lots of practice! Did you try placing your tobsil (or tray) over a pot of boiling water rather than over hot coals? That’s another method used in Morocco these days.

  9. Melamed

    I think I got ahead of myself with trying to make warka from scratch. Here it is seldom made except for a few intrepid cooks. From a cookbook, I read a method using an upside down pan over an open flame but that can’t be the traditional method, can it? Is the tobsil a flat or curved tray? Cheers,Sarah

  10. patmcardle

    Hi Kitty,
    My mouth is watering just reading the recipe for cous cous with seasonal vegetables. I’m heading to our farmers market on Saturday to get some ingredients and try it in my solar cooker. I hope you and Owen are enjoying your magnificent Dar Zitoun, Azemmour and the beautiful Moroccan coast. I remember our last long walk on the beach with your friends in 2005.
    All the best,

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