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recipe: spinach & lentil israeli couscous with harissa chicken.

July 18, 2012

Can you believe it? I’m actually posting a recipe! It’s been quite a while, I know.

On the path to meal planning again (and continuing our attempts to eat healthy), I made this dinner a couple of nights ago. I was trying to use what I had in the pantry and fridge. After looking through my ingredients (hence, the odd measurements below), this dish was born. It was easy, no fuss, healthy and pretty tasty! Both my husband and I agreed that I’ll have to make it again and put it on our meal rotation. It was also the first time I ever used Israeli couscous (or pearl couscous);  the couscous reminded me of mini versions of tapioca pearls (ohmywordilovebobatea). It was an interesting texture but not one that weirded me out. I also used a harissa spice mixture that I don’t normally use in my cooking – should use this stuff more often. You can totally make this without chicken; add chickpeas (or maybe smoked salmon? yummm) for some protein. Anyways, I hope you like it!

Spinach & Lentil Israel Couscous with Harissa Chicken (serves 4 as a side)


  • 1 cup uncooked Israeli couscous
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 2 cups pre-cooked frozen diced chicken breast
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen spinach
  • 3/4 cup ready-to-eat black lentils (or cook your own)
  • 1/4 tsp harissa spice mix

1. Using a large pot, bring chicken broth to a boil and add the couscous. Let boil for a minute or two, then remove from heat. Cover the pot and let the couscous sit for 15-20 minutes. (My experience with this method was the broth did not get fully absorbed but the couscous was cooked enough.) Drain the broth when the time is up and couscous is done.

2. In a small pan, toss the diced chicken in a little bit of canola or olive oil, then add the harissa spice. Heat chicken thoroughly, mixing it well so the harissa coats most of the chicken. Set aside when done.

3. Thaw frozen spinach and heat lentils according to package directions.

4. To mix everything together, transfer the couscous into a large bowl. Add the chicken, spinach and lentils. Mix well. Top with the following: feta cheese, freshly ground black pepper, slivered almonds or dried cranberries (or all!).

As you noticed, I used some frozen things. They were not “fresh” ingredients but they were available to me. With this busy season I’m about to jump into, I’m okay using frozen things right now. As long as our bellies are full and we’re getting good nutrition, I’m good to go! But feel free to cook your own chicken breasts and lentils. Use fresh spinach if you have it. If you don’t have harissa, use oregano or some sort of Italian herb mix. I think this dish is very versatile and I look forward to playing with it and adding different kinds of veggies/ingredients in the future.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. July 19, 2012 12:04 am

    This sounds good! Do you make your own harissa? I’ve never bought harissa from the store, so I don’t know how close this recipe is. But, it’s good by itself 🙂 Check this one out –

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