Exotic Chicken Couscous Soup Perfect For Special Occasions

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Embark on a culinary adventure with our Exotic Elixir Chicken Couscous Soup recipe, a vibrant fusion of tender chicken, fluffy couscous, and a medley of aromatic spices. Each spoonful is a journey through layers of flavor, with hints of cumin and coriander awakening the senses. Fresh vegetables add a splash of color and crunch, while the chicken and couscous provide a comforting embrace. This soup is a tapestry of taste and texture, promising a delightful and nourishing escape with every exotic bite.

Bask in the culinary magic that takes the form of Chicken Couscous Soup. This dish, often shrouded in the shadows of more publicized recipes, is an unsung hero in gastronomy. It weaves vibrant spices, wholesome ingredients, and contrasting textures to serve a harmony of flavors that elicits nostalgia and novelty. 

chicken couscous soup

This dish is a revelation for those adventurous souls keen to journey beyond the usual. Born from the Mediterranean’s sun-soaked soil and lovingly adopted by cuisines worldwide, it’s a gastronomic story that transcends geographical boundaries. 

We dive into the fascinating history of this humble dish, explore the techniques that transform it into a culinary marvel, and unveil the nutritional wealth it brings to your table.

This rich narrative and a step-by-step guide to making this soup at home will make your next kitchen adventure unforgettable. Welcome to the captivating tale of Chicken Couscous Soup.

What Is Chicken Couscous Soup?

Chicken Couscous Soup is a comforting and hearty dish. It combines the aromatic flavors of herbs and spices, chicken, vegetables, and light, fluffy couscous.

Originating from the Mediterranean and the Middle East, this soup is a popular staple in many cultures due to its wholesome ingredients and ease of preparation.

The soup begins with a base usually made from onions, garlic, and sometimes celery or carrots, sautéed until soft. Chicken, typically in boneless thighs or breasts, is added and cooked until tender.

This is followed by adding chicken broth and spices such as turmeric, cumin, coriander, and various vegetables. 

The soup is simmered until the flavors meld together. Finally, couscous is added, which absorbs the flavorful broth and expands, giving the soup a wonderful texture and heartiness.

Every bite of Chicken Couscous Soup offers a delightful blend of flavors adaptable to different taste preferences, dietary needs, and available ingredients. 

chicken couscous soup

Can You Vary The Chicken Couscous Soup With Other Ingredients?

Absolutely! The beauty of Chicken Couscous Soup lies in its versatility. Here are a few ways you can vary the soup:

  1. Protein: Substitute chicken with other proteins like beef, lamb, or even tofu for a vegetarian version. You can add legumes like chickpeas or lentils for protein and texture.
  2. Grains: While couscous is traditional, substitute it with other small grains or pasta like quinoa, orzo, or even small-shaped pasta like ditalini.
  3. Vegetables: Add other vegetables that you have on hand. Zucchini, bell peppers, peas, spinach, or kale would all be great additions. Root vegetables like sweet potatoes or parsnips could also work well.
  4. Spices: Experiment with different spice combinations. For instance, adding a bit of cinnamon or ginger can provide a warm, spicy note. Smoked paprika could give a slightly smoky flavor.
  5. Herbs: Instead of thyme, use rosemary, sage, or mint for a different flavor profile.
  6. Broth: If you want to keep the soup vegetarian, you can replace the chicken broth with vegetable broth.
chicken couscous soup

Recipe Directions

Prepare The Soup Base

  • Heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil over medium heat in a large pot.
  • Add the diced onion, carrot, and celery. Cook, stirring frequently, until the vegetables start to soften, about 5-7 minutes.
  • Stir in the leaves from 2 sprigs of fresh thyme until aromatic, about 1-2 minutes.
  • Add 2 cups of cubed cooked chicken and stir well to combine.
  • Incorporate the quartered baby potatoes and pour in the quart of chicken stock. Bring the mixture to a boil.
  • Once boiling, reduce the heat to low and let the soup simmer until the potatoes are tender for about 15-20 minutes.

Prepare The Cream Topping

  • While the soup is simmering, prepare your cream topping. In a small bowl, combine 1/2 cup of sour cream or Greek yogurt with 1 tablespoon of lemon juice and a pinch of salt.
  • Whisk until smooth. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Finish The Soup

  • After the potatoes have become tender, increase the heat to medium and add 1/4 cup of Israeli couscous. Let it cook until tender, about 10 minutes.
  • Stir in 3 tablespoons of chopped flat-leaf parsley and season with kosher salt and fresh black pepper to taste.
  • Allow the soup to simmer for 2-3 minutes to blend the flavors.

To Serve

  • Ladle the soup into bowls.
  • Dollop each bowl with a generous spoonful of the prepared cream topping.
  • Garnish with additional chopped flat-leaf parsley, if desired.
  • Serve hot and enjoy the layers of flavor in this comforting Chicken Couscous Soup.
chicken couscous soup

Variations, Add-Ons, And Toppings

Variations And Add-Ons

  • Proteins: You could substitute chicken with turkey, lamb, beef, or even tofu for a vegetarian version. Add cooked chickpeas, lentils, or white beans for extra protein.
  • Vegetables: Feel free to add other veggies like bell peppers, zucchini, sweet potatoes, or spinach for added nutrition and color. 
  • Grains: If you prefer, you could replace the couscous with quinoa, orzo, farro, or even small pasta like ditalini. 
  • Herbs and Spices: Experiment with rosemary, sage, or mint. Add a dash of heat with some red pepper flakes or a touch of smokiness with smoked paprika.


  • Herbs: Fresh herbs such as chopped parsley, chives, or dill would add color and brighten the flavors.
  • Cheese: A sprinkle of grated Parmesan or crumbled feta cheese would add a lovely creamy, salty note.
  • Citrus Zest: Grated lemon or lime zest could provide a fresh, citrusy flavor.
  • Toasted Nuts or Seeds: For a bit of crunch, consider topping your soup with some toasted almonds, pine nuts, or sesame seeds.
  • Croutons: Homemade croutons or a slice of crusty bread on the side would be a great addition.
  • Cream Topping: As previously mentioned, a dollop of sour cream, Greek yogurt, or even a drizzle of coconut cream for a dairy-free option would add a luxurious touch.
chicken couscous soup

Can I Make Chicken Couscous Soup In A Slow Cooker Or Instant Pot?

Slow Cooker

  • Add the olive oil, onion, carrot, celery, thyme, chicken, potatoes, and chicken stock to the slow cooker. 
  • Set the cooker on low and let it cook for 6-8 hours or on high for 3-4 hours.
  • 30 minutes before you’re ready to serve, add the couscous and let it cook until it’s tender.
  • Stir in the parsley and season with salt and pepper right before serving.

Instant Pot

  • Set the Instant Pot to the sauté setting and add the olive oil, onion, carrot, celery, and thyme. Sauté until the vegetables start to soften.
  • Add the chicken and potatoes, followed by the chicken stock.
  • Secure the lid on the Instant Pot and set it to manual high pressure for 10 minutes. 
  • After the time is up, quickly release the pressure. Stir in the couscous, replace the lid (but don’t seal), and let it sit for about 10 minutes or until tender.
  • Stir in the parsley and season with salt and pepper right before serving.
chicken couscous soup

Can I Use Store Bought Broth, Or Should I Make My Own?

Both store-bought and homemade broth can be used in the Chicken Couscous Soup recipe, and each comes with its advantages.

Store-Bought Broth

  • The store-bought broth is convenient and time-saving, perfect for when you want to make a quick soup. Always opt for a low-sodium version if possible, as it allows you to control the salt content of your soup. Also, look for broths with natural ingredients and without added preservatives or artificial flavors.

Homemade Broth

  • Homemade chicken broth usually has a richer flavor than store-bought ones because you can control the ingredients and simmering time. It’s also a great way to make use of leftover chicken bones. However, making your own broth does require extra time and effort.
chicken couscous soup

How To Serve?

Serving Chicken Couscous Soup at its best requires a few thoughtful touches to ensure it’s presented at peak flavor, temperature, and presentation:

  • Temperature: Serve the soup hot. Keep a warm temperature on a low simmer until ready to serve.
  • Freshness: Adding the couscous just before serving ensures it remains al dente and doesn’t absorb too much broth, preventing it from becoming soggy. 
  • Garnish: Fresh herbs like parsley or coriander sprinkled on top add color and a fresh flavor. A drizzle of good-quality olive oil can add a touch of richness and brightness.
  • Citrus: Offer slices of lemon or lime on the side. A squeeze of fresh citrus can enliven the soup and allows your guests to adjust the acidity to their taste.
  • Bread: Serve with warm, crusty bread on the side for dipping. It’s a classic companion to soup and creates a more fulfilling meal.
  • Bowls: Soup is best served in warm bowls. Rinse the bowls with hot water or place them in a warm oven for a few minutes before serving to ensure the soup stays warm longer.
  • Timing: Lastly, timing is crucial. Ensure your guests are seated and ready to eat just as the soup is done, as it’s best enjoyed fresh off the stove.
chicken couscous soup

Perfect Side Dishes

Chicken Couscous Soup is a hearty, comforting dish that pairs well with many side dishes. Here are a few options that would complement the soup as a sandwich, salad, or first course:


  • Chicken Pita Sandwich: You could continue the Mediterranean theme with a light chicken pita sandwich made with grilled chicken, fresh veggies, and a light yogurt sauce.
  • Hummus and Veggie Wrap: A wrap filled with hummus and an array of colorful veggies would offer a plant-based, flavorful pairing.
  • Mediterranean Grilled Cheese: A grilled cheese sandwich featuring feta or mozzarella, sliced tomatoes, and a sprinkle of oregano would pair well.


  • Greek Salad: The crisp freshness of a Greek salad, with its cucumbers, tomatoes, olives, and feta, would balance the warmth and heartiness of the soup.
  • Tabbouleh: This parsley and bulgur wheat salad is light and zesty and would complement the flavors in the soup.
  • Mediterranean Chickpea Salad: For added protein, a chickpea salad with cucumber, tomatoes, and a lemony dressing could be a great option.

First Course

  • Mezze Platter: A spread of Mediterranean appetizers like hummus, baba ganoush, stuffed grape leaves, and olives would be a delightful start to the meal.
  • Bruschetta: Toasted slices of bread topped with a mixture of tomatoes, garlic, basil, and a drizzle of balsamic reduction could make a simple, satisfying first course.
  • Stuffed Bell Peppers: Bell peppers stuffed with rice, herbs, and maybe some feta cheese, served cold or at room temperature, would make a flavorful first course.
chicken couscous soup

Storage And Make Ahead

  • Cool Quickly: Allow the soup to cool to room temperature before storing. Speed up the process by placing the pot in a sink filled with cold water.
  • Refrigerate: Store the soup in an airtight container in the refrigerator. It will keep well for 3-4 days.
  • Separate Couscous: If possible, store the couscous separately from the broth. Couscous continues to absorb liquid and can become mushy over time.
  • Freezing: Freeze the soup without the couscous for best results. Pour into freezer-safe bags or containers, leaving some space for expansion. Use within 2-3 months for optimal quality.
  • Reheating: Thaw overnight in the refrigerator if frozen. Reheat on the stove over medium heat until hot throughout. Add fresh couscous when reheating to maintain the best texture.

Make-Ahead Tips

  • Prep Chicken and Vegetables: Cook the chicken in advance and chop your vegetables. They can be refrigerated for a few days until you’re ready to make the soup.
  • Broth Ahead: Prepare your broth in advance, whether homemade or enhanced store-bought. Keep it refrigerated or frozen until you’re ready to assemble the soup.
  • Cook Couscous Separately: Cook couscous separately and store it in the refrigerator. Add to individual servings of soup upon reheating to avoid soggy couscous.
  • Assemble Last Minute: For the freshest taste, combine the pre-cooked ingredients (chicken, vegetables, broth) and bring to a simmer. Then add the couscous just before serving.
  • Herbs and Spices: Add fresh herbs or a final seasoning adjustment just before serving to brighten the flavors of the soup.
chicken couscous soup

What Can We Do With Leftovers?

Leftover Chicken Couscous Soup can be versatile and repurposed into several different dishes. Here are some ideas:

  • Chicken Pasta: Drain the soup, save the broth for another recipe, and mix the chicken and veggies with some cooked pasta. Add olive oil, garlic, and parmesan cheese for a quick pasta dish.
  • Stir-Fry: Strain the soup, reserve the broth for later, and stir-fry the ingredients in oil. Add soy sauce or teriyaki sauce and serve over rice.
  • Pot Pie Filling: Use the strained soup as the base for a quick pot pie. Add it to a pie crust, top it with a second crust or a layer of puff pastry, and bake.
  • Chicken Salad: Chill the soup, strain, and mix the chicken and veggies with some mayo, mustard, and fresh herbs for a quick chicken salad. Great for sandwiches or to serve over lettuce.
  • Hearty Sauce: Thicken the leftover soup with a roux and a splash of cream to create a hearty sauce, perfect for serving over rice or pasta.


  • Use Quality Chicken: Opt for bone-in chicken pieces for a richer broth; chicken thighs are especially flavorful. You can remove the bones after cooking if desired.
  • Sauté Vegetables: Begin by sautéing onions, garlic, carrots, and celery to build a flavor base. This step adds depth before adding liquids.
  • Season Well: Incorporate herbs and spices like cumin, coriander, turmeric, and a bay leaf early in the cooking process to infuse the soup with vibrant flavors.
  • Homemade Broth: If possible, use homemade chicken broth for the best taste and nutrition. It makes a noticeable difference in the depth of flavor.
  • Toast Couscous: Briefly toast the couscous in a dry pan or with a little oil before adding it to the soup. This enhances its nutty flavor and texture.
  • Add Couscous Later: Add couscous towards the end of cooking to prevent it from becoming too mushy. It cooks quickly and absorbs the flavors of the broth.
  • Adjust Consistency: If the soup is too thick after adding couscous, you can add more broth or water to reach your desired consistency.
Mouthwatering Chicken Couscous Soup Recipe (Flavorful Comfort Meal)

Mouthwatering Chicken Couscous Soup Recipe (Flavorful Comfort Meal)

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Chicken Couscous Soup is a nourishing and satisfying blend of lean chicken, hearty Israeli couscous, and nutritious vegetables. This soup is comforting and wholesome, infused with the aromatic flavors of fresh thyme, and cooked in a rich chicken broth. It’s a delightful dish perfect for a cozy dinner any day.


  • 2 Tsp 2 Olive Oil

  • 1 1 Small Onion (Peeled And Cut Into Large Dice)

  • 1 1 Medium Carrot (Cut Into Large Dice, Peel If Not Organic)

  • 1 1 Large Celery Stalk (cut Into Large Dice)

  • 2 Sprigs 2 Fresh Thyme

  • 2 Cups 2 Cubed Cooked Chicken

  • 6 6 Baby Yukon Gold Or Red-Skinned Potatoes (Quartered)

  • 32 fl. Ounce 32 Chicken Stock (homemade Or Low-Sodium Store-Bought)

  • 1/4 Cup 1/4 Israeli Couscous (Or Orzo Or Other Small Pasta)

  • 3 Tbsp 3 Roughly Chopped Flat-Leaf Parsley

  • Kosher Salt (To Taste)

  • Fresh Black Pepper (To Taste)

Step-By-Step Directions

  • Heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil over medium heat in a large pot.
  • Add the diced onion, carrot, and celery. Cook, stirring frequently, until the vegetables start to soften, about 5-7 minutes.
  • Stir in the leaves from 2 sprigs of fresh thyme until aromatic, about 1-2 minutes.
  • Add 2 cups of cubed cooked chicken and stir well to combine.
  • Incorporate the quartered baby potatoes and pour in the quart of chicken stock. Bring the mixture to a boil.
  • Once boiling, reduce the heat to low and let the soup simmer until the potatoes are tender for about 15-20 minutes.
  • Large Pot or Dutch Oven
  • Sharp Knife and Cutting Board
  • Measuring Cups and Spoons
  • Stirring Spoon or Ladle
  • Strainer or Colander
  • Bowls for Serving
  • Ladle for Serving


  • Fresh Ingredients: Always use the freshest ingredients you can get your hands on. Fresh vegetables and herbs will impart the best flavor.
  • Herbs: Feel free to experiment with different herbs. If you don’t have fresh thyme, use rosemary, sage, or even a bay leaf.
  • Stock: Homemade chicken stock will provide the richest flavor, but a good quality store-bought stock will work well in a pinch.
  • Couscous: Remember to add couscous just before serving, especially if you plan to have leftovers. Couscous continues to absorb liquid as it sits, which can lead to a mushy texture.
  • Spices: Feel free to adjust the spices to your preference. A pinch of chili flakes would work nicely if you like a bit of heat.
  • Chicken: If you don’t have cooked chicken, you can easily poach a chicken breast in the soup broth before adding the vegetables.
  • Freezing: If you plan to freeze the soup, remember to omit the couscous and add it fresh when reheating.
  • Reheating: Always ensure leftover soup is heated thoroughly before consuming.

Nutrition Table

chicken couscous soup

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You've entered a realm where each bowl isn't just a meal; it's an expedition to the core of comfort, well-being, and the sheer delight of feeding both body and soul. My name is Julia, and I'm here to navigate you through the flavorful worlds of Soup Chick. Together, we'll uncover the artistry behind each recipe, share stories that warm the heart, and celebrate the simple pleasures of making and enjoying soup.

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