Moroccan vegetable Couscous Cakes are a great way to give new life to your leftovers! This is a simple pan fried patty recipe that uses cooled, leftover couscous. With some added vegetables, herbs, and seasonings, they’re delicious all on their own!
Couscous is a type of whole-wheat pasta that’s fluffy, chewy, and mild. It’s a fantastic side dish, but you’re bound to find yourself with heaps of leftovers whenever you make it.
Make use of those leftovers with these Moroccan couscous cakes! I fill in the gaps with peppers, onions, garlic, and parsley. Seasoning is made simple with a traditional North African Ras el Hanout spice blend.
Quickly pan fried, couscous patties are great either on the side or as the focus of your meal. Regardless of how you plate these patties, be sure to serve with an additional sauce or dip. I recommend having some nutty Tahini Dip or a smooth, creamy Tahini Yogurt Sauce and some diced Quick Lemon Pickle (as shown).
This recipe should be made with leftover, cooled couscous. It’s not something you can make with freshly made pasta. Keep in mind that it takes at least a couple of hours for it to cool.
What To Serve With Couscous Cakes
This pasta is traditionally served as a side dish, not as a main course. It will commonly accompany roast vegetables or roasted meats such as chicken, beef, or fish.
Try it alongside Turkish Chicken and Roasted Vegetables, Kafta Kabobs, Pomegranate Chicken, or Palestinian Fish Meatballs.
Couscous patties make an excellent vegetarian main course as well! Just serve it with some additional sides, like a Chilled Moroccan Carrot Salad or some Turkish Roasted Chickpeas.
INGREDIENT NOTES AND SUBSTITUTIONS
- Couscous - I make this recipe with Moroccan couscous, which is small and cooks quickly. However, you could also use Israeli or Lebanese variations.
- Eggs & Flour - Added to the veggies, couscous, and seasoning to form and bind the patties.
- Green Onions & Bell Peppers - Chop the onions fine and dice the peppers. Different variations of peppers and onions can be used per your preferences, and you can even throw in any other vegetables that you like. Squash, carrots, and hot peppers would work great!
- Garlic - Minced to spread its flavor throughout the couscous patties. You could replace with chives, if preferred.
- Parsley - A peppery herb that goes well with most others: add mint, rosemary, or basil if you’d like. They’d fit in perfectly.
- Ras el Hanout - A blend of warm spices and floral herbs used in Algerian, Moroccan, and North African cooking.
- Kosher Salt - To sprinkle on top of the cooked couscous patties.
HOW TO MAKE COUSCOUS CAKES
- Make the Batter. Add the couscous, eggs, flour, vegetables, garlic, parsley, and salt to a bowl and mix together into a thick batter.
- Heat the Oil. Heat the olive oil in a pan over medium heat.
- Fry. Scoop out ⅓ cup of the batter, ideally with a small ice cream scoop or similar utensil, and drop into the hot oil. Let the scoop sizzle in the pan for a couple of minutes before gently pressing down with a spatula, flattening into a patty. Allow to cook for another minute before carefully flipping over. Cook for 2-3 more minutes before transferring to a paper towel. Sprinkle kosher salt on top.
- Repeat & Serve. Repeat until all of the batter is used. Serve your couscous cakes with fresh lemon, tahini sauce, or tahini yogurt sauce.
How much couscous does 1 cup make?
It varies depending on the type of pasta you’re using.
With Moroccan couscous, which is rather small, 1 cup of uncooked yields about 2 ½ - 3 cups cooked. Keeping in mind that you need 3 cups to make this recipe, be sure to cook at least 1 ¼ cups of dry couscous.
Why do Moroccans eat couscous on Fridays?
This tradition dates back to when Islam made its way to North Africa in the 7th century. When the religion reached the Maghreb, including Morocco, it became commonplace to eat couscous following Friday midday prayers.
And it’s a tradition that lasts to this day!
How long is leftover couscous good for?
You should allow it to cool for at least an hour before storing in an airtight container and transferring to the refrigerator. Properly stored, it should keep for up to 5 days.
If already reheated and used in a new recipe, like in these couscous cakes, you should eat them right away and not reheat. Reheating food multiple times increases the chance of foodborne illnesses, and is not recommended.
This post, originally published on Silk Road Recipes May 2021, was updated with new content, photos and/or video in May, 2022.
Moroccan Couscous Cakes + Video
- 3 cups cooked couscous (See Note1)
- 3 large eggs
- 2 green onions chopped fine
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- ½ red bell pepper small ¼ inch dice
- 2 tablespoon fresh parsley chopped
- 2 tablespoon flour
- 1 teaspoon ras el hanout
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 tablespoon olive oil plus more if needed for frying
- In a bowl mix all of the ingredients up excluding the oil. Mix well to incorporate thoroughly.
- In a skillet (non-stick or cast iron) over medium heat add the olive oil.
- Using a small ice cream scoop or ⅓ cup measure, press the couscous (condense pressing open hand on couscous to pack) and place scoop in the hot pan.
- Allow to sauté for 2 minutes and then gently press down slightly to form a patty with a spatula. Cook another minute and flip carefully. Cook for another 2-3 minutes on other side.
- Remove from pan to rest on paper towel and season with kosher salt. Serve with slices of fresh lemon and or tahini sauce, or tahini yogurt sauce.
- I make couscous and allow to cool first or use leftover. 1 cup uncooked couscous added to 1 cup boiling water with 1 tablespoon butter. Remove from heat, leave covered for 15 minutes. Stir and allow to cool before using for this recipe. It typically makes 3 cups give or take.
*The information shown below is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist's advice.