Harissa Roasted Cauliflower Couscous

5 from 3 votes

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Harissa roasted cauliflower couscous is a spicy mix of grains that’s a great vegan main. Slicing the cauliflower maximizes its surface area for browning.

Harissa Roasted Cauliflower Couscous

It’s no secret that I am completely obsessed with pesto. 

That perfect mix of herbs, cheese and nuts is so much more than a sauce for pasta. I use this magical green paste as an easy flavor booster for eggs and grains and even a garnish for tomato soup.

I always make my pesto from scratch because I find that the jarred version has an almost cooked flavor. It’s just not the same without fresh herbs.

Couscous with harissa roasted cauliflower

Looking for another option for a sauce/marinade that can be ready-to-use but purchased from grocery, harissa has become my thing lately.

That distinctly spicy red pepper paste often found in Moroccan food is the ultimate shortcut to add a kick of flavor with just a spoonful.

Much like my strategy with pesto, I add harissa to baked egg cups with sweet potatoes, peppers and zucchini.

And now I’ve started using harissa as a marinade for roasted vegetables.

Harissa Roasted Cauliflower Couscous

When I first made this harissa roasted cauliflower couscous, I actually had the Super Bowl on the brain.

That probably makes no sense. Let me explain. 

I was experimenting with making a vegan option for spicy wings, but once the cauliflower came out of the oven I realized it was better suited to a bowl of grains rather than dipping.

Harissa Roasted Cauliflower Couscous

How To Make Harissa Roasted Cauliflower Couscous

To start, I trim the core of a head of cauliflower and then cut it into 1/2-inch thick slices.

The reason for flat pieces instead of florets is that more of the cauliflower has contact with the pan, so it maximizes the surface area for browning.

I add cumin, salt and pepper to the harissa and rub it all over the cauliflower before arranging it on a sheet pan. 

While the cauliflower roasts, I make the couscous.

Those grains are simple and plain on their own and need something to jazz them up.

I puree a mixture of cilantro, parsley, chives, lemon juice and olive oil in the food processor and stir that into the couscous.

Once the cauliflower is ready, I fold it into the herby couscous and add chopped parsley and cilantro and minced chives.

Harissa roasted cauliflower couscous is a great vegan main. With the leftovers, I do my usual strategy to make the most of what I have by adding a few handfuls of arugula to create a grain salad.

Harissa Roasted Cauliflower Couscous

5 from 3 votes
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 30 minutes
Total: 40 minutes
Servings: 4
Harissa roasted cauliflower couscous is a spicy mix of grains that’s a great vegan main. Slicing the cauliflower maximizes its surface area for browning.


  • 1 head cauliflower leaves removed, bottom stem trimmed
  • 1/4 cup harissa
  • 1 tablespoon + 1/3 cup olive oil and more for greasing pan
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 cup couscous
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1 cup parsley leaves plus more chopped for serving
  • 1 cup cilantro leaves plus more chopped for serving
  • 2 tablespoons minced chives plus more for serving
  • Juice of 1 lemon


  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  • Cut the cauliflower lengthwise into 1/2-inch slices. Break up any larger pieces of cauliflower.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together the harissa, 1 tablespoon olive oil, cumin, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Add the cauliflower and rub it with the harissa mixture.
  • On a sheet pan lightly greased with olive oil, arrange the cauliflower in a single layer. Roast for 25-30 minutes, flipping halfway through cooking, until browned.
  • While the cauliflower is roasting, place the couscous in a large bowl. Pour in the boiling water, cover and wait 8-10 minutes for the water to absorb. Then fluff with a fork.
  • Place the parsley and cilantro leaves, chives, lemon juice, 1/3 cup olive oil and the remaining salt and pepper in the bowl of a food processor. Puree the mixture until the herbs are finely chopped.
  • Stir the herb oil into the couscous and fold in the cauliflower. Top with chopped parsley and cilantro before serving.


Calories: 226kcal | Carbohydrates: 47g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 0.3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.2g | Sodium: 871mg | Potassium: 697mg | Fiber: 7g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 1721IU | Vitamin C: 101mg | Calcium: 78mg | Iron: 2mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Side Dishes
Cuisine: Mediterranean
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Hi, I'm Paige.

Welcome to Last Ingredient where you will find simple seasonal recipes with plenty of fruits and vegetables, all for the home cook.

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Recipe Rating


  1. You’re recipes are the best, so creative, yet simple. The sheet-pan gnocchi from several months back was just amazing. Thank you for sharing with all of us!

  2. 5 stars
    This would be tasty!
    I could see subbing quinoa in place of the couscous sometimes. Meal in a bowl.
    Thanks for sharing! 🙂

  3. 5 stars
    This was delicious! Great flavors and really easy! I added some roasted chickpeas to the top. Thanks for sharing!