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Beef Couscous Recipe – 20 Minutes

Beef Couscous – Welcome your family and friends to the table with this fragrant and delicious one-pot beef couscous that everyone will love. It is simple, nutritious and so easy to make. 

Couscous served in a bowl and garnished with basil.


This simple beef couscous dish is one of my favourites. It is a great fuss free mid week dinner on it’s own, and a wonderful addition to a dinner party table. It is quick and easy to pull together but looks and tastes invitingly impressive. 

I use ground beef for a meltingly soft finish. The bell peppers add freshness and crunch, and the couscous light and fluffy. Every mouthful has a range of different textures and flavors that make it a delight to eat. 

This recipe is really flexible, so if you have extra veggies on hand, apart from the ones I used in this recipe, feel free to stir them into the beef mixture for even more goodness!

Check out my homemade ground beef recipe to learn how to make your own.

Ingredients for making beef couscous

Why Ground Beef Couscous?

Ground beef is an ingredient most of us have laying there at the bottom of our freezers and couscous on the other hand is very versatile so adding ground beef to couscous together with all those beautiful veggies in the refrigerator crisper makes a decent meal that is ready in about 20 minutes!

Couscous is a firm favorite in our home. It is inexpensive, simple to cook, and provides a versatile blanket of filling carbs. It is traditionally served with stews, such as tagines, and can be adapted and flavored to fit any cuisine. 

Apart from this beef couscous recipe, here are some of our favorite couscous recipe:

What is couscous? 

Before we dive into my beef couscous recipe let’s answer the age-old question; what actually is couscous? Is it a grain like quinoa, or a type of pasta? 

Well to answer the question; it is neither! 

There is a common misconception that couscous is actually a kind of pasta, but in reality they are not as similar as you might think. Couscous is made from ground semolina and pasta is made from ground wheat. So, while they are made using a similar process, they are entirely different products with different properties. 

What are the benefits of using couscous? 

Couscous is relatively low in fat and calories, and high in fiber. It is a slow release carbohydrate that will keep you feeling fuller for longer, making it a healthier option to, and pleasant change from, rice and pasta. 

On it’s own it is slightly nutty but mostly bland. It’s important to cook it with stock and use spices to bring it alive. In this beef couscous recipe it serves as an excellent base to soak up the tasty flavors of the ingredients and seasonings. The vegetables add a healthy dose of vitamins and minerals, and the beef brings protein. So, with the addition of couscous, the dish becomes a complete and balanced meal. 

What kind of beef should I use? 

In this recipe, I use ground beef. It naturally falls into small pieces, absorbing all of the flavors running throughout the couscous so that you get a little with every bite. You could also use sliced steak, cooked to your liking. Here is how I make my own ground beef at home.

More easy and delicious one pot recipes from Chef Lola’s Kitchen.

Couscous served in a bowl and garnished with basil.

Beef Couscous

4.84 from 6 votes
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Course: Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
Cuisine: African, American
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes


  • 2 Tbsp Oil
  • 1 small onion diced
  • ½ lb ground beef
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp bouillon powder
  • ½ tsp thyme
  • 1 cup couscous
  • ½ cup red bell pepper
  • ½ cup green bell pepper
  • 1 Tomato diced
  • cup water
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Basil


  • Heat the oil, add the onion and cook till softened—about 3 minutes.
  • Add the ground beef and break it apart—season with paprika, bouillon powder, thyme, salt, and black pepper.
  • Stir in the diced tomato, red bell peppers, and green bell peppers—Cook for 3 to 5 more minutes.
  • Add the water and let it come to a rolling boil. Adjust the seasoning if necessary.
  • Turn off the heat and stir in the couscous immediately. Cover it up for 5 minutes.
  • Remove the lid, fluff with a fork and stir in the basil.
  • Serve immediately.


  • This beef couscous keeps beautifully in the fridge, so if you are lucky enough to have any leftovers it makes a wonderful lunch the following day.
  • My recipe calls for instant couscous. It cooks so fast. Just add the couscous to boiled water or stock, and leave to sit for 5 minutes until the water is absorbed. No need to boil!
  • Be aware of the liquid to couscous ratio. If there is too much water, the couscous will be soggy. Not enough water and it will be gritty and unpleasant.

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