Typical Moroccan cuisine is often a mixture of couscous, potent spices, fresh fruits, and tangy vegetables.
Moroccan cuisine is typically a mix of Berber, Arabic, Mediterranean and Andalusian cuisines. Over the years it has been greatly influenced by interactions Morocco has had with other cultures and nations.
This Moroccan Couscous is perfect as a flavorful vegetarian or vegan lunch.
Couscous is a fantastic go-to weeknight staple. It’s versatile and only needs hot water or stock to make it.
Moroccan Couscous Salad – Health Benefits
Taste is important, but you want something healthy to take to lunch as well.
Most people know you need a minimum of 5 fruit and veg a day (and it could as many as 10 a day for the most health benefits).
This dish is a good start if you want to start getting more of those foods in. There ARE 4 portions of fruit and veg here and it’ll fill you right up until dinner.
Chickpeas are a great plant-based protein, containing good amounts of all the essential amino acids and fiber. They are rich in calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and potassium, as well as important unsaturated fatty acids (1).
One study found eating 200g of chickpeas reduced their blood sugar levels by 21% when compared to a meal of whole-grain cereal or white bread (1).
Another study of 45 people over 12 weeks found those who ate 728g of chickpeas a week reduced their total cholesterol levels by almost 16 mg/dL on average (2).
Carrots are full of vitamin A, vitamin K, potassium and vitamin B6. Eating carrots have been linked to lower cholesterol levels (4, 5) and reduced calorie intake because of they create feelings of fullness (6).
Spinach is rich in vitamin C, vitamin K, folic acid, iron and calcium. Various studies show eating spinach can help lower blood pressure levels and improve heart health (7, 8, 9).
Dried apricots are a common addition to Moroccan dishes. Although drying reducess a fruit’s content of water-soluble and heat-sensitive vitamins (e.g vitamin C), other nutrients become more concentrated.
Dried apricots specifically are rich in vitamin A, potassium, non-heme iron and fiber.
Almonds are high in healthy monounsaturated fats, fiber, protein and important nutrients such as vitamin E and magnesium.
Many studies show just eating almonds regularly can result in some amazing health benefits.
One study showed that snacking on almonds for one month reduced LDL cholesterol levels by 14% (10). Another found 84 grams of almonds per day reduced oxidative stress biomarkers by 23–34% over 4 weeks (11).
So now that we’ve got the health benefits ticked off, here’s how you can alter this dish and not have to buy all new ingredients.
The apple cider vinegar adds a fruity punch to this recipe, but you can try other kinds of vinegar.
White vinegar is the most neutral without adding any off flavors. Lemon or lime juice will also work and will add a citrus undertone.
For the ras el hanout, gram masala is a good substitute as it shares common spices like cumin, coriander, cinnamon, and cloves.
For a simplified approach with spices you probably have on hand, try 1 part cumin, ½ part coriander, ½ part ginger powder, ½ part cayenne or paprika.
Moroccan Couscous Salad
- 170 g couscous
- 100 g baby spinach leaves
- 1 large carrot, grated
- 200 g chickpeas, cooked
- 140 g kalamata olives, chopped
- 100 g dried apricots
- 50 g roasted almonds, chopped
- 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 50 ml apple cider vinegar
- 1 tbsp ras el hanout
- 1 tsp salt
- Cook the couscous according to the package instructions. Set aside to cool.
- In a large bowl, add the kale, carrot, chickpeas, olives, apricots, and almonds. Once the couscous is cooled (at room temp or slightly warm), add it to the bowl.
- In a small bowl or jar, add the olive oil, apple cider vinegar, ras el hanout, and salt. Cover with a lid and shake vigorously or whisk vigorously in the bowl. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss to coat everything.