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Harissa Couscous with Fennel

This harissa couscous with fennel is the pearl couscous with harissa recipe you've been waiting for. It's easy to make and absolutely loaded with flavor.
4.38 from 8 votes
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Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 4
Calories: 312kcal


  • Wide pot


  • 1 tablespoon neutral oil
  • 1 yellow onion peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 large fennel bulb trimmed, cored, and sliced into thin wedges
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 heaping tablespoon harissa paste
  • 1 cup pearl couscous
  • 3 cups water or stock plus more as needed
  • Salt and pepper to taste

For serving:

  • ½ cup labneh or Greek yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • A few splashes of water more as needed
  • Salt to taste
  • Fennel fronds reserved from the fennel bulb
  • Pomegranate seeds


Cook the aromatics:

  • Heat the oil in a wide pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion and fennel and cook, occasionally stirring, for 7–10 minutes until they begin to deepen in color. Adjust the heat as necessary to prevent burning. Continue cooking until the fennel is a deep, golden brown—season with salt and pepper.

Cook the harissa paste:

  • Melt the butter into the fennel and onions. Once melted and bubbly, add the harissa paste and let it sizzle in the butter for 30 seconds. Toss to coat the aromatics in the paste for 45 seconds more.

Cook the couscous:

  • Add the pearl couscous and toss to coat. Cook for 1–2 minutes.

Simmer the couscous:

  • Pour in the water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 20–25 minutes until the couscous is tender. Add more water, if necessary, if the liquid evaporates too quickly or if the couscous sticks. You may need to add up to ¼ cup or ½ cup of additional water—taste and season with salt and pepper.

Prepare the labneh sauce:

  • While the couscous simmers, combine the labneh, lemon juice, and a big pinch of salt and stir. Add water, 1 tablespoon at a time, whisking after each addition until the sauce is a drizzling consistency—taste and season with more salt.

To serve:

  • Divide the couscous between plates and spoon the labneh sauce on top. Garnish with fennel fronds and pomegranate seeds. Enjoy!


Calories: 312kcal | Carbohydrates: 41g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 13g | Sodium: 120mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin C: 11mg
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