Moroccan Orange Couscous

Our oldest daughter has acquired a special little liking for lamb, ever since we visited my sister’s family in Cairo, Egypt almost 2 years ago. Hatti had eaten lamb in gyros in Greek restaurants before, and liked it. But there was just something exhilarating and out-of-this-world-memorable about a meal of freshly shaved shawarma (the Arab term for meats stacked on a vertical spit that are grilled and then shaved – see this post for a photo from our meal), eaten on the sidewalk of a bustling Cairo street. The scene was chaotic. Crowded. Dirty. But the lamb was perfectly spiced and tender. Hatti was hooked.

So when we visited Epcot this past April, and Hatti learned that Morocco was in the World Showcase…well, there was no getting around enjoying a meal of lamb. There was plenty that she was looking forward to that day at the Disney park, but honestly, it was all about that spiced meat spinning on the spit. She was in heaven (upper left photo) as we shared a meal of lamb, with warm fresh pita bread, hummus, tabbouleh, and a fabulous couscous salad with orange.

Recreating memorable dishes from our travels is something I love to do. It makes the awesome memories last even longer. This recipe for Moroccan Orange Couscous has a beautiful way of tying together two unforgettable trips our family has taken over the past couple of years. It’s gently spiced, sweetened by golden raisins and mandarin oranges, and bulked up by garbanzo beans. When served with a squeeze from a fresh orange slice, and if I close my eyes and slowly inhale the spicy citrusy scent, I’m suddenly in an exotic land far, far away.

Moroccan Orange Couscous

Yield: 8 to 10 servings


  • 1/2 c. sliced almonds
  • 2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. turmeric
  • pinch cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 c. olive oil
  • 1-1/2 c. finely chopped red onion
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, chopped
  • 5 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 c. golden raisins
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 14.5-oz. can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1-1/2 c. chicken broth
  • zest and juice from 2 large oranges (keep the zest and juice separated)
  • 2 c. couscous
  • 1 11-oz. can mandarin oranges, drained
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 c. chopped fresh mint
  • 1/2 c. chopped fresh cilantro
  • fresh orange slices, to squeeze over individual portions


In a large saucepan over medium heat, toast the almonds, stirring frequently, just until lightly browned and fragrant. Remove to plate to cool.

Return saucepan to medium heat. In a small bowl, combine the cumin, ginger, cloves, cinnamon, turmeric, and cayenne. Add mixed spices to the saucepan and gently toast until fragrant, only about 30 to 60 seconds. Take care to not let the spices scorch. Stir in oil, onion, red and yellow peppers, and garlic, and cook until softened, about 8 to 10 minutes. Stir in raisins, salt, garbanzo beans, chicken broth, and orange juice. Turn heat to high and bring to a boil. Then stir in the couscous and remove saucepan from heat. Cover saucepan with lid and let stand 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork. Let cool to room temperature, fluffing periodically, and then stir in orange zest, mandarine oranges, black pepper, mint, and cilantro. Refrigerate 1 to 2 hours or overnight. Serve with fresh orange slices, to be squeezed over individual portions.


Inspired by a meal at the Tangierine Cafe, at the Morocco Pavilion in Epcot - Orlando, Florida.



22 Responses to “Moroccan Orange Couscous”

  1. #
    Laura (Tutti Dolci) — October 21, 2012 at 11:07 pm

    I love couscous, what a beautiful and flavorful salad!

  2. #
    cassie — October 22, 2012 at 12:05 pm

    I love turmeric, perfect for couscous too. The color of this is fabulous!

  3. #
    cheryl — October 22, 2012 at 6:41 pm

    Yum!!! I can remember eating at that same restaurant when we were all kids with Mom and Dad! :o) Such good memories.

  4. #
    Good Food Good Friends — October 23, 2012 at 6:04 am

    This couscous salad looks amazing! Beautiful colors and flavors!

  5. #
    Sweetsugarbelle — October 23, 2012 at 8:16 am

    Brenda, I love recreating favorite restaurant experiences. This lolls like an amazing combination of flavors and texture :-)

  6. #
    Julia — October 23, 2012 at 2:52 pm

    Love Moroccan cuisine! Your couscous looks amazing, the color just pops out on the screen. And I love lamb, too.

  7. #
    Paula — October 23, 2012 at 10:00 pm

    What a sweet photo of Hattie! One of my girlfriends from years ago often made couscous. Believe me when I tell you that she never made it as enticing as this :)

  8. #
    Sommer@ASP — October 25, 2012 at 7:32 am

    Brenda, what an awesome experience for your family. My kids would love traveling around the world–they always ask if we can go to China on a family vacation. :)

    Beautiful couscous!

    • Brenda replied on October 27th, 2012 at 8:16 am

      It was completely awesome. Our first trip outside of the country (besides Canada) was to Egypt. As you can only imagine…quite the eye opener! We’d love to see China now, too!

  9. #
    Angie — October 25, 2012 at 7:53 am

    This looks like the prettiest (and most delicious) salad!

  10. #
    Tara @ Unsophisticook — October 25, 2012 at 8:17 am

    This looks so beautiful and flavorful! My experience with lamb is pretty much limited to gyros too, but it sounds like I need to broaden my horizons a little.

  11. #
    Amanda — October 25, 2012 at 9:20 am

    You make such beautiful things! :)

  12. #
    Paula - bell'alimento — October 25, 2012 at 12:08 pm

    Ooh Brenda that looks so good!

  13. #
    Nancy @ CouponClippingCook — October 25, 2012 at 11:47 pm

    Love all of these ingredients. Sounds so healthy and delicious and the color of the dish is so pretty.

  14. #
    Amanda — October 26, 2012 at 9:10 am

    I don’t make couscous near enough, love the sound of these flavors!

  15. #
    Monique @ Ambitious Kitchen — October 31, 2012 at 4:28 pm

    I love that you used chickpeas, cumin, almonds, oranges, and cilantro. Sounds like it would blend together perfectly. I’m SO trying this with quinoa!

    • Brenda replied on October 31st, 2012 at 8:38 pm

      These ingredients would be great with quinoa, too!

  16. #
    Calogero Mira — December 10, 2012 at 3:37 pm

    Wonderful Moroccan orange couscous recipe!

    • Brenda replied on December 13th, 2012 at 10:06 pm

      Thank you so much!


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