Chickpea Couscous with Lemon and Cilantro

My first time making couscous and I can safely say that it is here to stay as one of my regular lunches! Easily made, light and delicious, it’s the perfect packed lunch for me, ensuring that I don’t fall asleep at work after eating a heavy lunch. I used instant couscous this time, but I’m planning to also experiment with Israeli couscous since I’ve heard better things about it. This one is a classic summery dish, combining the taste and aroma of chicken with a whiff of citrus.


  • 1 1/4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup instant couscous
  • 3/4 of a 15 oz can of chickpeas
  • 1/2 red onion, chopped
  • 1/4 cup black olives
  • 1 clove of garlic, crushed
  • 1 tsp turmeric (1/2 for the couscous and 1/2 while stir-frying the veggies)
  • 2 tsp Spanish paprika (1 for the couscous and 1 while stir-frying the veggies)
  • Cumin, as per your own taste (I used 1 tsp)
  • Cilantro, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp lemon zest
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 (Turkish) bay leaf
  • Salt and pepper, to taste


1. Pour the chicken broth in a pot and heat. Stir in the lemon zest, paprika, parsley, turmeric, a bay leaf and cumin. Once it starts boiling, remove the pan from heat and pour in the couscous and salt. Stir to evenly moisten the couscous.

2. Cover the pan and let it sit for 10 minutes. If the couscous hasn’t absorbed the water or still tastes crunchy after this time, cover and let it sit for a few more minutes.

3. In the meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add red onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender and caramelized, about 3-4 minutes. Add the crushed garlic, coriander, chickpeas, olives, and lemon juice to the pan and stir to combine. Put some additional paprika, turmeric and cumin, to taste.

4. To serve, fluff couscous grains with a fork and mix the contents of the pan with the couscous. Top with some cilantro for garnish!

Chickpea citrus couscous garnished with some cilantro

So how do you like to eat your couscous? What are you favorite toppings?


2 thoughts on “Chickpea Couscous with Lemon and Cilantro

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