Moroccan vegetable couscous cakes make use of leftover couscous, fresh diced vegetables and spices. Pan fried until crispy brown, they're fantastic for a flavorful side dish or light meal.
Are you a fan of using up leftovers? It seems that there are two teams in this arena; those who cook JUST enough to serve one meal, and those like to cook enough to serve an army.
As someone who is firmly on team Army, I like to create new recipes using leftover couscous. When I make Moroccan couscous salad or Israeli ptitim, there are often leftovers, and what could be easier than using them to make simple, pan-fried couscous cakes?
Moroccan Vegetable Couscous Cakes (Video)
Whether you use leftovers or use a fresh batch of Moroccan vegetable couscous, these couscous cakes are a snap to make.
To see the process from start to finish, watch the video in the recipe card at the bottom of this post!
Recipe Ingredients and Substitutions
- Cooked couscous- Moroccan couscous is the smallest of the three types of couscous, so it cooks the quickest. You can make this recipe with Israeli (pearl) or Lebanese (Moghrabieh) couscous if you prefer.
- Vegetables- One nice thing about vegetable couscous is that it's very adaptable. I use red bell peppers and green onions in the mixture, but feel free to swap them out for any other vegetables that saute well. Carrots, zucchini, yellow squash, celery, and even chili peppers would work well.
- Spices- For seasoning, I use a bit of salt and a popular Moroccan spice blend called ras el hanout. You can purchase it from most specialty spice shops, or use my ras el hanout recipe to make it yourself.
- Eggs- This ingredient helps to bind the mixture together. If you're avoiding eggs, you can try using a flax egg as a substitute. Just keep in mind that this recipe calls for three eggs and flax eggs work best when replacing just one or two eggs.
One cup of uncooked couscous yields about 2 ½ cups cooked. Making Moroccan couscous patties or cakes requires 3 cups of cooked couscous, so you'll need to make 1 ¼ cups dry.
After allowing it to cool, store leftover couscous in a covered container in the fridge and use it within 5 days.
NOTE: If you're using leftover couscous as part of another recipe, like Moroccan vegetable couscous cakes, they should be eaten the day they're made.
For food safety purposes, storing and reheating leftovers more than once is not recommended.
Eating couscous after Friday midday prayers is a long-standing Moroccan tradition, dating back to the 7th century!
At that time, Islam reached the Maghreb, and the dish became an important part of the North African tradition of families gathering together for a post-prayer meal.
What to Serve with Moroccan Vegetable Couscous Patties
Moroccan Vegetable Couscous Cakes
- 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 tbsp fresh parsley chopped
- 2 tbsp flour
- 1 tsp ras el hanout
- ½ tsp kosher salt
- 2 tbsp 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.