Mediterranean Couscous with Chicken & Olives

We’re in the thick of winter. It’s cold, icy, slushy, and the snow is absolutely beautiful from indoors, as long as you don’t have to drive in any of it.

snow everywhere

It’s the time of year when you realize that on any given day, the snow storms could blow in and it’ll be a great opportunity to cook up some favorite comfort foods, bake a few new things or even try recipes that make you think of warmer, sunnier climates.

tall trees in winter

Funny enough, though, I still find that a walk outdoors gives inspiration for some recipes to cook. Those little berries on branches actually make me think of things like persimmons and tomatoes….

burst of red in winter

So, I get to thinking about warmer climates and dishes being made around the globe- here’s what I’ve come up with for a healthy dinner or even lunch (these make great leftovers). You just need chicken, olives, tomatoes, onions, potato, fresh mint, garlic, grated carrots, dried parsley, salt and pepper. The garlic, too. The key ingredient is the Saffron Road Harissa Simmer Sauce- yes, you can make your own but this is unique and so simple to use so I say, why not?

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The fresh mint is kind of optional, but honestly I wouldn’t pass it up. It does make a difference.

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Pick up your favorite brand of couscous to have on the side, although if you prefer rice or bread, that’s fine, too.

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Basically, it starts off like many dishes with the all-important olive oil and the addition of the first ingredient. I also add a little bit of coarse salt to the pan so that it prevents the potatoes from sticking, which happens a lot.

In this case, however, I have finely chopped the potatoes so they finish cooking in time with the others. Next, I add the salt, chicken and shredded carrots then the onion. I used red onion but you can use yellow or white, as long as they’re diced.

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I also add the diced parsley and white pepper at the same time, but somewhere around this time in the cooking process is fine.

Next I add 1/4 cup of water or chicken broth, which is much better.

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(Saffron Road has a culinary classic halal chicken broth you should really use).

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Next I add the Harissa Simmer Sauce.

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It’s so beautiful and so unique- it contains pear juice extract, pepper, garlic and onion. Yumm….

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This is what makes the dish get a beautiful hue of red.

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Next add the olives

add olives

Stir it in well.

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Then add the mint.

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It makes the dish look so pretty.

add mint

Stir it all up again.

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Add a little more water, as needed.

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It’s going to fill out the pan quite a bit. Now turn the heat to simmer and cover.

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You’ll want to start the couscous in a few minutes- the quick cooking kind cooks really fast, but if you keep it covered once it’s done, it should stay nice and warm.

Cook for about 20-30 minutes, or until the potatoes are completely tender.

Et voila!

potatoes in the couscous

I like to serve it on large long plates with the couscous off to the side, although I’ve seen it served on top, too. 
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However you and your guests prefer. The only thing that matters is that it tastes great.

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Garnish with fresh mint for color and decor.

full plate couscous

Any fresh mint left over? Make Moroccan Mint Tea, of course!

finished couscous dish

What’s your favorite Moroccan dish?

Mediterranean Couscous with Chicken & Olives

By Yvonne Published: January 2, 2014

  • Yield: 4 Servings
  • Prep: 20 mins
  • Cook: 30 mins
  • Ready In: 50 mins

Quick and easy Moroccan food that's healthy and simple to make? Absolutely, yes for any day of the week!



  1. In a large and deep saute pan on medium-low heat. Add olive oil and a little bit of salt. Add the potatoes. The salt prevents the potatoes from sticking while allowing them to brown.
  2. Add the chicken and shredded carrots then the onion.
  3. Add the diced parsley and white pepper.
  4. Next I add 1/4 cup of water or chicken broth (preferably the broth).
  5. Add the Saffron Road Harissa Simmer Sauce. Stir well.
  6. Add the olives and stir gently. Then add the mint.
  7. Add a little more water, as needed. Stir, to combine all the ingredients.
  8. Cover the pan and lower the heat to a simmer.
  9. Prepare couscous and set aside. Meanwhile, continue to simmer the chicken dish for 20-30 minutes or until the potatoes are completely tender.
  10. Serve chicken alongside couscous. Top or garnish with fresh mint.

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