Leftover Chicken and Pearl Couscous

Leftover Chicken Pearl Couscous Recipe

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Need a recipe for leftover chicken breasts? This leftover chicken pearl couscous transforms any kind of leftover chicken into a meal that will make you hardly believe you’re eating leftovers.

Believe it or not, I used to have a severe issue with leftovers. It was definitely a mental thing for me, but I really struggled to eat leftovers. Spaghetti, chili, soup…all completely acceptable leftover meals. Anything beyond that was my husband’s responsibility.

I’ve successfully come around to leftovers. It feels like such an accomplishment, too; I’m learning new ways to transform yesterday’s bits and bobs into something new and delicious.

The best way to use leftover chicken breasts

This leftover chicken and pearl couscous is the perfect way to reuse leftover chicken breasts. Specifically, my baked sun-dried tomato chicken breasts. You can use really any leftover chicken here, but this recipe works great with leftover diced chicken breasts or thighs.

It would also work well with shredded rotisserie chicken. For this pearl couscous recipe, I recommend using chicken that is either simply seasoned with salt and pepper or flavored with Italian spices.

leftover chicken recipe

How to make this leftover chicken pearl couscous

This meal is really easy to put together, and it allows you to use up those scrappy vegetables or herbs in your fridge.

What you need

how to use leftover chicken breasts
  • Leftover chicken: I used 4 cups of diced leftover chicken breasts from my baked sun-dried tomato chicken recipe. Use diced thighs or shredded rotisserie chicken instead. You can also do this with 2 fresh chicken breasts. Simply dice them up, season them with your favorite Italian spice mix, and then sauté them in olive oil in the skillet until cooked through. Then proceed with the recipe as-is.
  • Onion and mushrooms: I use onions and mushrooms as the base of the pearl couscous.
Calabrian chili peppers
  • Calabrian chili peppers and sun-dried tomatoes: The chili peppers are optional, and I used DeLallo brand Calabrian Chili Peppers! My favorite brand is Tutto Calabria, though; I just didn’t have them on hand. You can use crushed red pepper to taste if you don’t have them. They add a nice heat to the pearl couscous, and the sun-dried tomatoes add a nice tangy flavor.
  • Pearl couscous: In terms of timing, pearl couscous works best here, but you can replace it with orzo or ditalini if necessary.
  • Fresh herbs and Parmesan cheese: I use a little extra minced oregano, but sliced basil, minced parsley, or a blend of herbs would be fantastic. Parmesan cheese gives this dish a welcome creaminess.
  • Lemon juice: I finish the pearl couscous with the juice from half a lemon. Use the whole lemon if you like it extra zippy!

how to make it

  • Step 1: It starts with the mushrooms and diced onion. I cook them in a little olive oil until the mushrooms are golden brown.
  • Step 2: As the mushrooms brown, I blend the Calabrian chili peppers and sun-dried tomatoes in a food processor. You can also chop them up with a knife if you prefer. Add them to the mushrooms.
  • Step 3: From there, I add the diced chicken, pearl couscous, and water or chicken broth. Bring it to a boil and then reduce the heat. Simmer, uncovered, for 15 minutes or until the couscous is tender, and nearly all the water is absorbed.
  • Step 4: Now you’re ready to finish it up! Stir in fresh herbs and Parmesan cheese. Finish with lemon juice and simmer for 5 minutes. That’s it!
Leftover Chicken Pearl Couscous

After that, you’re ready to serve it up. Simply spoon into bowls and finish with a few additional fresh herbs if you like. I recommend serving it alongside a simply dressed side salad for an easy, filling dinner!

leftover chicken recipes

Leftover Chicken and Pearl Couscous

This leftover chicken pearl couscous transforms any kind of leftover chicken into a meal that will make you hardly believe you're eating leftovers.
5 from 1 vote
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Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
15 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Servings: 4




Prepare the chicken:

  • Dice the cooked chicken breasts into bite-sized cubes. You should have about 4 cups. Set aside.

Cook the onion and mushrooms:

  • Heat 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté for 5 minutes. Add the sliced mushrooms and cook, turning occasionally, for 8–10 minutes until golden brown. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Mince the chili peppers and tomatoes:
  • Meanwhile, add the chili peppers and sun-dried tomatoes to a food processor. Pulse until minced. Alternatively, use a knife to mince them.

Simmer the pearl couscous:

  • Add the chili peppers and sun-dried tomatoes to the skillet. Toss to coat and cook for 2 minutes. Add the diced chicken and pearl couscous and stir to combine. Cook for 1 minute over medium heat. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Pour in the water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low. Simmer uncovered for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the pearl couscous is tender and has absorbed nearly all the liquid. Taste and season.

Finish the pearl couscous:

  • Add the oregano, Parmesan cheese, and lemon juice. Stir until the cheese melts. Simmer for 5 minutes. Taste and season one final time. Turn off the heat.

To serve:

  • Spoon the chicken and pearl couscous into shallow bowls. Garnish with fresh oregano, basil, or parsley. Serve with more grated Parmesan cheese on top. Enjoy!
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  1. This looks great Kylie! Was looking for something to use some rosemary rotissiere chicken and pearl couscous – dinner tonight!

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