Moroccan Spiced Cauliflower Couscous

Moroccan Spiced Cauliflower Couscous

Moroccan Spiced Cauliflower Couscous Pilaf
One of my favorite new-to-me food trends this year has been cauliflower rice or couscous. I am 100% a fan. I started making this Moroccan Spiced Cauliflower Couscous in the summer and I haven’t stopped! We LOVE it. Like a whole bunch. Each time I give it a new little twist depending on what I have hanging out on the counter or in my fridge. It might be spinach or chard, it could be summer squash, and this time it’s deep, dark lacinato kale and cubed roasted butternut squash. If you told me you were stopping by for lunch, this is what I would make for you, especially if you claimed you didn’t like veggies. This.will.blow.your.mind.

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Each bite is different – you might get one with a crunchy almond and burst of sweetness from a piece of dried apricot, and the next has creamy roasted butternut with a salty kalamata olive. Oh, I love, love, love this. It just might be my favorite way to eat cauliflower couscous yet.

Moroccan Spiced Cauliflower Couscous Pilaf

It all started when I bought this “tower of spices” from Trader Joe’s. (Sadly, I haven’t seen it again for months!) One jar of ras el hanout was included and I was curious because I’ve seen it listed on ingredient lists, but have never bought it before. Ras el hanout is a common spice blend used in North Africa. The primary ingredients are coriander, cayenne, cumin, clove, cinnamon, peppercorn, and cardamom. Some variations, like the one I have, also include dried rose petals. Others may include ginger, paprika, fenugreek, or turmeric. So, pretty much all of the spices I adore.

If you can’t find ras el hanout in stores, you can find it online or make your own blend.

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Because it’s chilly outside where I live, I sautéed everything in a hot pan. The butternut is roasted in the oven while the other ingredients are prepped and sautéed. Even though it tastes fine with raw cauliflower too, but is particularly warming and comforting when it’s served piping hot, fresh from the pan. It works as a side or as a main dish. We like it with gluten-free falafel. My girls love it with chicken. It lends itself for endless variations of dried fruit and veggies. Carrots and sweet potatoes are great here if you don’t want to use butternut. Any dark leafy green can be subbed for the kale.

The only thing it really needs beyond that is a squeeze of fresh lemon juice. So, go and make this and let me know how much you love it.

And now, another smashing recipe from my dear friend, Becky over at Project Domestication. Each month we team up to share a recipe based on a theme. October’s theme is Squash and Becky came up with a brilliant idea – Teriyaki Spaghetti Squash with Carrot Noodles and Meatballs. Hop on over and check it out. I can’t wait to try it!

Teriyaki Spaghetti Squash with Carrot Noodles and Meatballs

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Moroccan Spiced Cauliflower Couscous

Moroccan Spiced Cauliflower Couscous

A flavorful pilaf made with cauliflower couscous and loaded up with dried fruit, nuts, roasted butternut squash, kale, and tomatoes.

  • Total Time: 45 mins
  • Yield: 6 1x


Units Scale
  • 3 Tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 2 cups diced butternut squash, 1/2″ cubes
  • 1 head cauliflower, riced (see notes)
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 cups kale, shredded
  • 1/2 cup kalamata olives
  • 1/2 cup grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1 Tablespoon ras el hanout spice blend
  • 1/2 cup currants
  • 1/2 cup dried apricots, diced
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds
  • 2 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice


  1. Preheat oven to 425°F. Toss cubed butternut squash with 1 Tablespoon olive oil. Spread evenly over a parchment-lined baking sheet. Season well with salt and pepper. Roast for 15-20 minutes, or until golden and soft.
  2. Meanwhile, remove the toughest part of the cauliflower stem. Cut the rest of the cauliflower into florets. Pulse in a food processor until it resembles couscous, working in batches if needed.
  3. Heat 1 Tablespoons olive oil in a large non-stick skillet. Add the onion to the pan and cook until it softens, about 5-10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for one minute, stirring constantly, then add ras el hanout. Continue cooking while stirring to prevent burning, for another one to two minutes, until fragrant. Add half of the cauliflower couscous and stir well, cook for a few minutes until tender. Transfer to a serving bowl. Add the remaining 1 Tablespoon olive oil to the pan, then add the remaining cauliflower. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Add the kale to the pan. If it’s sticking, add a little water.
  4. Transfer to the serving bowl and stir until well-combined. Add the roasted butternut, olives, tomatoes, currants, apricots, and almonds. Toss well. Then squeeze the fresh lemon juice on top.


To see how to “rice” cauliflower, see this post on Oh My Veggies.

  • Author: Lindsey Johnson
  • Prep Time: 20 mins
  • Cook Time: 25 mins
  • Category: Main, Side

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  1. This is calling my name!! I really wish we could have cooked together when we lived so close! We really do enjoy so many of the same flavors!

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