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Easy Garlic Couscous

This delicious easy garlic couscous can be made in under fifteen minutes and is also egg-free and dairy-free (vegan!). It makes the perfect quick side dish and has tons of garlicky flavor.

A plate of couscous topped with herbs and brown fried garlic on a grey towel on a white background.

Why you’ll love it

  • It’s quick to make (under fifteen minutes)
  • It has a ton of flavor (it’s so yummy my kids ask for it by itself).
  • You can easily modify the recipe for a milder garlic taste, or to add different herbs, some lemon, some parmesan, etc. according to your personal preferences.
  • Detailed step-by-step instructions with photos mean you’ll get it right every time.

Ingredient notes and substitutions

Take a quick look at the ingredients below to make sure you have the correct ones, and scroll down to see notes on them, and substitutions.

Labelled ingredients including couscous, salt, garlic, garlic powder, parsely, olive oil and vegetable stock.

Couscous: You’ll need Morrocan couscous for this recipe, which is the smallest couscous grain. If you’re not sure what type of couscous you have, check out this handy couscous guide. Other types of couscous like Israeli (pearl) and Lebanese couscous are more difficult to work with so I don’t recommend using them in this recipe.

Salt: Couscous, like pasta, needs to be well salted so don’t omit the salt, substitute with a low-sodium version if needed.

Garlic: Fresh garlic cloves are a must for this recipe and can’t be substituted. You can dial down the amount of garlic used for a milder flavor if you prefer but I don’t recommend increasing it as this is a strongly flavored couscous.

Garlic powder: If you don’t have this you can just omit it, and again, you can reduce the amount used if you want a milder garlic taste.

Parsley: Fresh parsley adds a nice light touch to this dish but you can omit it if you don’t like parsley, or substitute it with fresh basil or cilantro depending on what you’re serving your garlic couscous with.

Olive oil: The olive oil adds a lot of flavor so don’t substitute it, and use an extra virgin olive oil preferably. If you’re not vegan you can also use high-quality unsalted butter, like Kerrygold.

Vegetable stock: Don’t substitute this, you can use homemade vegetable stock, store-bought cartons of vegetable stock, or just make some up with bouillon or stock cubes.

Detailed ingredient measurements can be found by scrolling down to the recipe card.

How to make it

This is a simple couscous recipe but I’ve broken it down and am showing you all the steps in the images below in case you’re unsure of anything.

1. Take four of the cloves of garlic, peel, cut in half lengthways, and finely slice as in image one below.

Split image showing chopped garlic cloves on the left and in a pan on the right.

2. Add two tablespoons of the olive oil to a medium non-stick saucepan or pot, and heat on medium-high. Add the sliced garlic when the oil is hot as in image two above.

3. Fry the garlic until it’s lightly browned (this should take about one to two minutes), and then tip out the garlic slices and oil to a small bowl or plate as in image three below.

Browned garlic slices in a pan on the left and crushed garlic in a pan on the right.

4. Add the remaining tablespoon of oil to the pan. Crush the remaining two cloves of garlic and add as in image four above. Fry for about one minute or until the garlic has lost that “raw” smell.

5. Add the vegetable stock, garlic powder, and salt (as in image five below) and increase the heat to high and cover the saucepan with a lid. When the water is simmering and starting to boil, proceed to step six below.

A pot with vegetable stock and with couscous added on the right.

6. Add the couscous and stir quickly, remove the saucepan from the heat. It should look like image six.

7. Quickly cover the pot with a tightly fitting lid. If the lid doesn’t fit snugly or there is a steam valve in it, you can place a sheet of aluminum foil between the lid and the pan to ensure no moisture or steam escapes, as in image seven below.

A pot covered in aluminum foil and opened with couscous and herbs.

8. Leave the couscous to steam for five minutes. Finely chop the parsley, and then remove the lid and foil and add in the garlic slices (in their oil) and parsley, see image eight above.

9. Lastly, grab a fork and fluff up your couscous and mix up the couscous, garlic, and herbs (see the image below). Serve warm or at room temperature.

A hand using a fork to fluff up couscous in a pot.

Equipment notes

You’ll need just a few simple utensils to make this recipe.

  • A medium-sized non-stick saucepan with a lid.
  • A silicone, plastic, or wooden spoon.
  • A garlic crusher.
  • A good sharp knife for slicing the garlic and the parsley.
  • A small bowl or plate to add the garlic slices and olive oil to.

Expert tips

Morrocan couscous is always best made by steaming with a ratio of one-to-one couscous to liquid. Ignore any package instructions that say otherwise!

Recipe FAQs

What goes well with garlic couscous?

Garlic couscous is amazing served with a side salad and your protein of choice. It’s so flavorful you don’t need to serve it with anything that has sauce!

Can I add parmesan to this recipe?

Yes! Add it in at the end with the sliced garlic and chopped parsley and stir it through. You can also add some lemon juice at the same time.

Can I substitute Morrocan couscous with Israeli or Lebanese couscous in this recipe?

No, I don’t recommend it.

How do I store leftover garlic couscous?

You can store leftovers in a tightly covered container in the fridge for up to four days. If the couscous seems dry at any point, just add two tablespoons of water, cover, and microwave on high for three minutes, and allow to steam for five more before fluffing up with a fork and serving.

Can I freeze garlic couscous?

Yes! You can freeze it once cooked and cooled for up to three months in an airtight freezer bag or container. To eat, defrost and reheat in the microwave.

Other quick side dish recipes

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Yield: 4 portions

Easy Garlic Couscous

A plate of couscous topped with herbs and brown fried garlic on a grey towel on a white background.

A delicious easy quick garlic couscous recipe that comes together in under fifteen minutes with just seven ingredients.

Prep Time 4 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Additional Time 5 minutes
Total Time 14 minutes

Ingredients

  • 6 cloves garlic, divided
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1½ cups Morrocan (fine) couscous (290g)
  • 1¾ cups vegetable stock (420ml)
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh minced parsley

Instructions

  1. Take four cloves of garlic, peel, cut in half lengthways, and finely slice.
  2. Heat up two tablespoons of oil in a medium-sized non-stick saucepan or pot, and add the sliced garlic.
  3. Fry the garlic slices until lightly browned, then carefully transfer the oil and garlic slices to a pot or plate.
  4. Add the remaining tablespoon of oil to the same saucepan, crush the remaining two garlic cloves and add to the pan. Fry for about a minute until the raw garlic smell is gone.
  5. Add the vegetable stock, garlic powder, and salt. Increase the heat to high and cover the pan.
  6. When the stock is at a lively simmer, add in the couscous, quickly stir and cover. Make sure the lid is a tight fit and has no steam valve or holes in it - if it does you can place a sheet of aluminum foil between the lid and pan to make an airtight seal.
  7. Remove the pot from the heat and leave aside for five minutes. Chop the parsley.
  8. Remove the lid and tip in the garlic slices with their oil and the parsley. Mix well and fluff up with a fork.
  9. Serve warm or at room temperature. Enjoy!

Notes

The olive oil can be substituted with unsalted butter.

The parsley can be swapped out for cilantro or basil.

This recipe is delicious as is but you can also add some grated parmesan or a squeeze of lemon juice along with the sliced garlic and parsley.

Nutrition Information

Yield

4

Serving Size

3/4 cup

Amount Per Serving Calories 104Total Fat 10gSaturated Fat 1gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 8gCholesterol 0mgSodium 585mgCarbohydrates 3gFiber 0gSugar 1gProtein 1g

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