Lemon Couscous Recipe (10 Minute Side Dish!)

January 13, 2021

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This Lemon Couscous is one of the fastest, easiest side dish recipes! Plus it has a delicious bright flavor that pairs well with just about any main dish, it’s incredibly versatile too.

Lemon couscous shown in a white bowl over a grey striped cloth.

Easy Lemon Couscous

This simple couscous recipe is just one of those must have recipes! And really after you’ve made it a few times you won’t need a recipe at all.

It’s so straightforward, easy to memorize and also easy to switch things up with other ingredients you have on hand (see ideas below).

With it’s delicious flavor and 10 minutes to finish it will quickly become a weeknight staple!

Pair with chicken, beef, lamb, pork, fish, shrimp, vegetables – options are endless.

Difference Between Moroccan, Israeli and Lebanese Couscous

While all are three types of couscous are traditionally made of durum semolina flour the size and texture are the main differences.

  • Moroccan couscous: This is the smallest type of the three. It cooks the fastest and has a soft, fine texture.
  • Israeli couscous: Also known as Ptitim, giant couscous, or pearl couscous. This type is quite a bit larger than moroccan couscous and takes longer to cook (approximately 10 minutes). It has a chewy texture.
  • Lebanese couscous: Also known as Moghrabeyah, this is the largest of the three types. It’s is about the size of peas and takes the longest to cook (about 15 – 20 minutes). This type also has a chewy texture.

Photo of ingredients used in lemon couscous. Includes moroccan couscous, olive oil, garlic, parsley, chicken broth, lemon, salt.

Lemon Couscous Recipe Ingredients

  • Extra virgin olive oil: Standard refined olive oil will work too it just wont have quite as much flavor.
  • Garlic: Only use fresh garlic here.
  • Chicken broth: Vegetable broth works great too.
  • Lemon: Zest before you halve and juice. Use a zester not a grater to zest or you’ll end up with a bitter flavor in the couscous coming from the white pith of the lemon.
  • Salt: Season to taste.
  • Parsley: You can use other herbs here, ideas are listed below.
  • Moroccan Couscous: Note that not all brands require the same amount of liquid. Refer to the back of the package to see if you need to adjust the amount of liquid.

Scroll down below for full recipe with ingredient amounts and print option.Collage of four photos showing steps to making couscous on the stovetop.

How to Make Couscous

  1. Heat olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat.
  2. Add garlic and saute until fragrant (not toasting and browning or it will be bitter!), about 20 seconds.
  3. Remove from heat, pour in chicken broth, lemon zest, lemon juice and season with salt to taste. Place over medium-high heat and bring to a boil.
  4. Pour in couscous, stir then remove from heat and immediately cover with lid. Let rest 4 minutes off heat.
  5. Add parsley and fluff with a fork. Serve warm.

Close up overhead photo of lemon couscous garnished with parsley and lemon slices.

Variations

It’s delicious as is but when you want to switch it up try adding one of these:

  • Pine nuts or slivered almonds
  • Basil, mint, dill or cilantro
  • Roasted or sautéed vegetables
  • Flaked salmon or tuna (add a little extra oil at the end)
  • Diced oranges
  • Spices (turmeric, paprika, cumin, coriander, etc.)
  • Fresh greens (spinach, baby kale, watercress, etc.)
  • Feta or fresh mozzarella

More Delicious Recipes to Try

Lemon Couscous
5 from 3 votes

Lemon Couscous Recipe

This is one of the fastest, easiest side dish recipes! Plus it's has a delicious bright flavor that pairs well with just about any main dish, it's incredibly versatile too.
Servings: 4
Prep3 minutes
Cook4 minutes
Resting4 minutes
Ready in: 10 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tsp minced garlic (1 large clove)
  • 1 1/4 cups low-sodium chicken broth (or vegetable broth)
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • Salt
  • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley, or more to taste (optional)*
  • 1 cup (6 oz) couscous (not pearl couscous)

Instructions

  • Heat olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat.
  • Add garlic and saute until fragrant (not toasting and browning or it will be bitter!), about 20 seconds.
  • Remove from heat, pour in chicken broth, lemon zest, lemon juice and season with salt to taste. Place over medium-high heat and bring to a boil.
  • Pour in couscous, stir then remove from heat and immediately cover with lid. Let rest 4 - 5 minutes off heat.
  • Add parsley and fluff with a fork. Finish with a little more olive oil or broth to moisten if desired and serve warm.

Notes

*Other herb options that would be delicious here as a substitute for parsley are basil, cilantro, dill, or mint.
Nutrition Facts
Lemon Couscous Recipe
Amount Per Serving
Calories 234 Calories from Fat 63
% Daily Value*
Fat 7g11%
Saturated Fat 1g6%
Sodium 159mg7%
Potassium 175mg5%
Carbohydrates 35g12%
Fiber 2g8%
Sugar 1g1%
Protein 6g12%
Vitamin A 623IU12%
Vitamin C 14mg17%
Calcium 27mg3%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Nutrition values are estimates only. See full disclaimer here.