Couscous Soup (Cold-Buster!) – Chelsea’s Messy Apron

This Chicken Couscous Soup is an absolute delight! It’s packed with a variety of vegetables, shredded chicken, pearl couscous, sweet peas, and a rich and flavorful broth. Whether you’re feeling under the weather or simply in need of some comfort food, this soup is sure to hit the spot and help you feel better.

Overhead image of the chicken couscous soup

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Try out this Chicken Couscous Soup recipe, which is part of our collection of favorite soup recipes. Click here to see all the recipes in the collection.

Our Favorite Chicken Couscous Soup

Feeling sick and in need of a bowl of comfort? This healthy cold-busting Couscous Soup is just what the doctor ordered! Loaded with a variety of vegetables, succulent shredded chicken, and plump pearl couscous, this soup is sure to satisfy your craving for something hearty and delicious. The rich and flavorful broth is packed with immune-boosting ingredients that will help you feel better in no time. It’s a lot like chicken noodle soup–but with a little twist!

The legend of chicken soup curing a cold has actually been proven through science. Just look: This nourishing meal provides protein, carbohydrates and a variety of vegetables. It is also a good source of hydration and can help support the immune system. The broth in the soup can help to soothe a sore throat and clear congestion, making it a great choice when you’re feeling under the weather. Plus, it’s easy to make and ready to eat in under an hour–just what the doctor ordered!

Image of the pearl couscous used in this recipe

What Couscous To Use

Israeli couscous, also known as pearl couscous, is a type of pasta that is made with similar ingredients as regular couscous, but it has larger pearls with a softer and chewier texture. It is important to use Israeli couscous, rather than regular couscous in this recipe because the larger pearls of Israeli couscous will cook properly and provide the right texture for the soup. Regular couscous is much smaller and won’t work quite right in this recipe.

Process shots-- images of the veggies and seasonings being sautéed

Couscous Soup Tips

  • Use a flavorful broth. To add depth and richness to the soup, use a good flavorful broth, homemade or from a store. If the broth is not as flavorful as you’d like, add additional seasonings to give it more depth.
  • Check the seasoning. If the soup lacks flavor, it may just need a pinch more of salt and/or pepper. To enhance the flavors, add some acidity (such as a squeeze of lemon), fresh herbs, or crusty buttered bread for dunking.
  • Adjust the consistency. If the soup is too thick, add more broth to thin it out. If it is too thin, add more frozen vegetables to thicken it up.
  • Experiment with herbs and spices. To add more flavor to the soup, consider adding additional fresh herbs like thyme, or a pinch of chili flakes or paprika. You can also drizzle olive oil over individual bowls for added flavor. (Keep in mind that you can always add more seasoning, but it’s harder to remove it once it’s been added, so taste as you go and adjust accordingly.)

Process shots-- images of the chicken, chicken broth, bay leaf, and couscous being added to the pot

VARIATIONS

Couscous Soup Customizations

  • Replace the peas with baby spinach or baby kale. If using greens, stir them in at the end and allow them to wilt for a minute.
  • To make the recipe vegetarian or vegan, swap out the chicken for a can of drained and rinsed chickpeas. Also, use vegetable broth instead of chicken broth. Without the chicken, you may need to add in a touch more seasoning.
  • The recipe is natural dairy free.
  • Adjust the seasonings to your personal preference. As written, the soup is very mild. If you prefer more spice, consider using a spicy yellow curry powder or adding in some red pepper flakes.

Process shots-- images of the chicken being shredded and added back to the pot along with peas, chicken, and parsley

Serve On The Side

There are many side dishes that can be served alongside Couscous Soup to make a complete meal. Some options include:

  1. Salad: A simple Garden Salad with mixed greens, vegetables, and a light dressing can be a refreshing contrast to the rich and flavorful soup.
  2. Bread: A slice of warm crusty No-Knead Bread, Dinner Rolls, or a small baguette of French Bread is a classic pairing with soup. You could also serve pita bread or naan to scoop up the soup.
  3. Roasted vegetables: Roasted Vegetables such as Brussels Sprouts, Asparagus, or Broccoli can add a nice balance of texture and flavor to the soup.
  4. Grilled cheese sandwich: A Grilled Cheese sandwich made with gooey cheese and your favorite bread makes a delicious and comforting option to pair with the soup.

Overhead image of the soup ready to be enjoyed!

STORAGE

Couscous Soup Storage

Couscous Soup is best served fresh, as the couscous continues to absorb some of the soup liquid and swells slightly. However, if you have leftovers, they can be stored in the refrigerator for a few days. To reheat the soup, place it in a pot and gently heat it, stirring frequently. You may need to add a splash of chicken broth to thin out the consistency. Keep in mind that this soup does not freeze well – the couscous can become mushy when frozen and thawed. Enjoy it fresh or store it in the fridge for a few days.

-Up close overhead image of Couscous Soup ready to be enjoyed

More Nourishing Soup Recipes:

This Couscous Soup Recipe is adapted from Ambitious Kitchen’s Best Chicken Soup!

Chicken Couscous Soup

This chicken Couscous Soup is an absolute delight! It’s packed with a variety of vegetables, shredded chicken, pearl couscous, sweet peas, and a rich and flavorful broth. Whether you’re feeling under the weather or simply need some comfort food, this soup is sure to hit the spot and help you feel better.

Chicken Couscous Soup

This chicken Couscous Soup is an absolute delight! It’s packed with a variety of vegetables, shredded chicken, pearl couscous, sweet peas, and a rich and flavorful broth. Whether you’re feeling under the weather or simply need some comfort food, this soup is sure to hit the spot and help you feel better.

Instructions

  • VEGGIES: Add olive oil to a large Dutch oven or soup pot over medium-high heat. Once the oil is shimmering, add the onion, celery, carrots. Season to taste– we add 1/4 teaspoon salt & pepper. Cook, stirring often, until the onions are turning translucent and begin to soften, about 5 to 7 minutes.

  • SEASONINGS AND CHICKEN: Add the garlic, ginger, curry powder, turmeric, dried thyme, plus more salt and pepper to taste (we add another 1/4 teaspoon of each). Stir constantly for 30 seconds to 1 minute or until very fragrant. Add in the uncooked chicken (Note 1), chicken broth, and bay leaf; stare.

  • COUSCOUS: Bring the soup to a boil and then stir in the couscous. Be sure to press chicken below the liquid. Bring back to a boil then reduce the heat to medium low and simmer (uncovered) for 18-23 minutes or until couscous is pleasantly tender and chicken is fully cooked through.

  • FINISH: Remove soup from heat. Remove the chicken to a cutting board and shred with two forks or dice with a knife. Back to the soup: stir through the peas, optional parsley, and the shredded chicken. Stir well. Mix in lemon juice (added to taste) for some brightness and acidity if desired. Taste for seasoning, ladle into bowls, and enjoy with some crusty warm bread!

Recipe Notes

Note 1: Chicken: Boneless, skinless breasts or thighs work great here. Thighs are slightly more tender. If there is an excess of fat on the meat, trim it off. If the chicken breasts are large, cut in half. (Aim to get each breast about 8 oz. in size so they will cook through properly.)
Note 2: Couscous: Israeli couscous, also known as pearl couscous, is a type of pasta that is made with similar ingredients as regular couscous, but it has larger pearls with a softer and chewier texture. It is important to use Israeli couscous rather than regular couscous, because the larger pearls of Israeli couscous will cook properly and provide the right texture for the soup. Regular couscous is much smaller and won’t work quite right in this recipe.

Nutrition Facts

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 285kcal | Carbohydrates: 31g | Protein: 23g | Dish: 8g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Trans Fat: 0.01g | Cholesterol: 54mg | Sodium: 1152mg | Potassium: 577mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 5446IU | Vitamin C: 9mg | Calcium: 52mg | Iron: 1mg

We do our best to provide accurate nutritional analysis for our recipes. Our nutritional data is calculated using a third-party algorithm and may vary, based on individual cooking styles, measurements, and ingredient sizes. Please use this information for comparison purposes and consult a health professional for nutrition guidance as needed.

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