This Persian Saffron Couscous is a great healthy recipe. You won't believe how quick & easy it is to cook. Vegetarian & Vegan friendly too!
Couscous flavoured with stock, saffron, dried cranberries, Ras el Hanout, Lemon, and Olive Oil. Great served up as a side dish with Persian, Morrocan, Mediterranean, or Israeli meals.
It is also great served cold as part of a salad or something different for your lunchbox.
How to make Persian Saffron Couscous?
Follow our step by step recipe card at the bottom of this page for full details and measurements.
Check out this video to sum up and see how quick and easy it is to make.
Read on below for extra tips and explanations.
What to add to Couscous for extra flavour?
Truth be told there is no cooking involved with couscous! You simply add hot water in equal parts to water, this will give you plain couscous!
However, the true beauty comes when you add extra flavouring to the couscous.
- Try using stock instead of water.
- Herbs and spices for extra flavour.
- Lemon for some sharpness.
- Fruit for sweetness
- Olive oil to help separate and fluff up the couscous.
In this Persian Saffron Couscous recipe, we use stock, saffron, dried cranberries, Ras el Hanout, Lemon, and Olive Oil. A brilliant combination which certainly, gives the couscous a middle eastern fragrant taste.
How to prepare saffron?
Place ¼ tsp of Saffron into a small bowl. Add a couple of tablespoons of vegetable stock for the saffron to soak in. Leave aside to soften the threads, bringing out the colour and flavour ready to add to the cooked couscous.
Ensure vegetable stock is boiling hot and add to the couscous. We used a lidded saucepan, you can use a bowl and cover with cling film/foil if preferred?
Leave to sit covered for 5 minutes. Fluff the couscous with a fork, before stiring through the saffron mix.
What is couscous?
Couscous is made from durum wheat semolina. It is technically a pasta, but because it is formed into tiny balls it appears more like a grain!
It is actually healthier than most pasta as it is made from unrefined, whole-wheat flour.
How to soften dried cranberries?
To bring out the best in dried cranberries, I like to soak them in boiling hot water. Soak for at least 5 minutes. Soak before you start cooking the couscous, the cranberries will be perfectly plump to add once the couscous is ready.
This is optional you can just add them straight from the packet!
What is Ras el Hanout?
Ras el Hanout is a made up of many spices, most supermarkets sell it, I got mine from Tesco. It contains a mix of Sweet Paprika, Sugar, Cumin Seed, Sea Salt, Coriander Seed, Chillies, Fennel Seeds, Black Pepper, Cinnamon, Shallot, Turmeric, Pimento, Rose Petals, Mace, Cardamom, Black Onion Seed, Nutmeg, Ginger, Star Anise, Clove.
If you can't find Ras el Hanout? You can substitute with your own mix of the above spices or try garam masala instead.
Finally, add in lemon and olive oil, use a fork to stir and evenly distribute the ingredients. Pour into a nice dish to serve.
How to serve Persian Saffron Couscous?
You can serve immediately whilst it is still warm with a dinner recipe. As we did with our Persian Lamb Shanks see in the image below.
Or refrigerate and serve cold as part of a salad. Also great for a BBQ or something different to add to your lunch box.
The Ras el Hanout bring a warming sweet-spicy flavour.
Meanwhile, the saffron brings a delicately bitter flavour which is found in many Middle Eastern & Mediterranean dishes.
Persian Saffron Couscous
- 2 tbsp Dried Cranberries
- ¼ tsp Saffron
- 250 ml Vegetable stock 1 cup
- 180 grams Couscous 1 cup
- 1 tsp Ras el hanout
- 1 tbsp Lemon Juice
- 2 tbsp Olive Oil
- (Optional step) To soften Dried Cranberries: Place dried cranberries into a bowl and pour enough boiling hot water to cover. Leave to soak until step.
- Place saffron into a small bowl. Make up the Vegetable stock with boiling water and use 2 tbsp to mix in with the saffron. Set the Saffron aside to soak the flavour and colour of the saffron whilst you make the couscous.
- Place couscous in a large lidded pan or bowl. Pour the remaining hot stock over the top and pop lid on or cover with cling film/foil. Leave to soak up water for 5 minutes.
- Fluff couscous up with a fork, add in the saffron mix you prepared earlier. Stir through.
- Drain the cranberries and add them with the ras el hanout, lemon juice and olive oil. Combine ingredients and fluff with a fork.
- Add salt & pepper to taste and serve immediately if having warm or refrigerate until needed if serving cold.
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