Couscous with Pistachios and Apricots

A Moroccan-inspired couscous side with pistachios and dried apricots

Couscous with Pistachios and Apricots
Elise Bauer

Do you like couscous?

I had a particularly good meal at a local restaurant recently that served grilled chicken with a side of couscous that had been tossed with some toasted pistachios and a little harissa. I ate every last semolina granule on my plate.

Inspired, we made our own version, with pistachios and some chopped dried apricots, red onions, lemon juice, and parsley. So good! Especially with grilled chicken.

It would be good with a Moroccan chicken tagine too. The dried apricots provide sparklettes of sweetness that balance well with the pistachios, lemon, and onions.

Couscous with Pistachios and Apricots
Elise Bauer

Do you have a favorite preparation of couscous? Please let us know about it in the comments.

Couscous with Pistachios and Apricots

Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Total Time 30 mins
Servings 4 to 6 servings

This recipe calls for boxed couscous that is available in most supermarkets in the U.S. This couscous is precooked semolina, which requires only minimal preparation. Cooking raw couscous is a much more involved process, which we do not cover here in this recipe.

*If you only have access to shelled roasted pistachios, use them and skip step 2 in the method instructions.


  • 1/2 cup red onion, chopped

  • 1/4 cup lemon juice

  • 1 10-ounce box couscous, about 1 1/3 cups

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided

  • 1 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste

  • 1/2 cup shelled raw pistachios*

  • 10 dried apricots, chopped

  • 1/3 cup parsley, chopped

  • Optional 2 teaspoons harissa, prepared or homemade (see this Paula Wolfert harissa recipe)


  1. Soak chopped onion in lemon juice:

    Place the chopped onion in a small bowl. Pour the lemon juice over the onions, set aside and let the onions soak in the lemon juice.

  2. Toast pistachios:

    Toast the pistachios in a small pan on medium-high heat until lightly browned and fragrant. (Take care when toasting nuts, they can burn quickly if you don't pay attention!) Remove from heat and place into a small bowl to cool.

  3. Cook the couscous:

    Put 2 cups of water in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Add one tablespoon of olive oil and one teaspoon of salt to the water. Once the salt dissolves, stir in the couscous, turn off the heat and cover the pot. Move the pot off the hot burner and let the couscous steam, covered, for 5-6 minutes.

  4. Combine ingredients to make salad:

    Scoop out the couscous into a large bowl and fluff with a fork. Stir in the harissa, if using. Stir in the pistachios, chopped apricots and parsley. Stir in the red onion and lemon juice. Add one more tablespoon of olive oil, stir well and add salt to taste. Serve warm or at room temperature.


Cherry Tomato Couscous, from 101 Cookbooks

Couscous with Chickpeas, Fennel and Citrus, from The Kitchn

Lemony Saffron Couscous, from The Shiksa in the Kitchen

Couscous with Pistachios and Apricots
Elise Bauer
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
223 Calories
9g Fat
31g Carbs
6g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4 to 6
Amount per serving
Calories 223
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 9g 12%
Saturated Fat 1g 6%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 406mg 18%
Total Carbohydrate 31g 11%
Dietary Fiber 3g 12%
Total Sugars 8g
Protein 6g
Vitamin C 7mg 36%
Calcium 34mg 3%
Iron 1mg 7%
Potassium 347mg 7%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate. In cases where multiple ingredient alternatives are given, the first listed is calculated for nutrition. Garnishes and optional ingredients are not included.