A simple harissa marinated shrimp spends a couple of minutes on the grill, then cozies up to the vibrant Moroccan flavors of a cool, crisp couscous salad with zucchini, bell pepper, toasted almonds, chick peas, and dried apricots… Grilled Harissa Shrimp and Moroccan Couscous Salad is a flavor explosion in your mouth, and full of healthy goodness!
The defining ingredient in the shrimp marinade is harissa. If you are not familiar with harissa, you are missing out! Harissa is a paste made with hot chiles, and red harissa is by far the most commonly seen in the U.S. I did recently discover green harissa, though, and given my penchant for cilantro and green chiles, I think I might actually prefer the green. Green harissa has more of an herb base, and reminds me a bit of my beloved Hatch green chile sauce. 😀 I do periodically make my own red harissa (recipe) and green harissa (recipe), but both require a lot of ingredients and a bit of time. I have found commercially prepared all-natural harissa such as Mina Harissa and Mina Harissa Green Pepper Sauce. As you can see in the photos, I marinated half of my shrimp in one and half in the other – in true New Mexico “Christmas” style! In New Mexico, we referred to red and green chile sauce as “Christmas” style. Lol. The harissa is whisked together with fresh lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper. The shrimp requires only a few minutes to absorb the luscious flavors, and 4-5 minutes on the grill finishes them off!
The Moroccan Couscous Salad can be made with your preferred couscous. I chose to use toasted couscous that is similar to Israeli couscous. It requires a few minutes of actual cooking time rather than just a soak in boiling water as in the standard packaged couscous available in the U.S. Be sure to read the ingredients and amounts shown on the package of your particular couscous to determine amount of liquid and cooking time. The couscous is made with broth and spices, giving the salad so much flavor. Toss the prepared couscous with diced zucchini, sweet bell pepper, chick peas, chopped dried apricots, and slivered almonds, then dress it lightly with fresh lemon juice and olive oil. Garnish with the grilled harissa shrimp and some chopped fresh cilantro, and you’re “good to go!”
Do these flavors sound intriguing? For more Moroccan-inspired dishes, try my Roasted Vegetables With Dukkah, Roasted Harissa Chicken Thighs,and Pressure-Cooker Braised Lamb Shanks & Couscous. Living Lou brings a lovely and simple Moroccan Roasted Chicken Legs, and Venturists has a Chicken Tagine With Apricots, Prunes, and Preserved Lemon. A whole new world awaits… Time to get cookin’ 😉
Shrimp gets a quick soak in a harissa marinade, then grilled. The shrimp are paired with a flavorful combination of couscous, veggies, dried apricots, chick peas, and slivered almonds in this quick and healthy Moroccan-inspired main dish salad!
25 minPrep Time
5 minCook Time
30 minTotal Time
- 1/4 cup harissa (red or green)
- juice and zest of 1 lemon
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- several grinds pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 lb. shrimp, peeled and deveined
- broth or water (amount for 1 cup according to pkg instructions) see notes
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon ginger, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- a few grinds pepper
- 1 cup couscous see notes
- 1/4 cup dried apricots, chopped
- 1/4 cup slivered almonds or pine nuts, toasted
- 1 cup zucchini, diced (about 1 medium)
- 1 medium red bell pepper, chopped
- 1/4 cup red or sweet onion, chopped
- 1 can chick peas, rinsed and drained
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 small shallot
- a handful of cilantro
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- fresh ground pepper
- lemon wedges
Whisk together the harissa, lemon juice and zest, olive oil, salt and pepper. Add the prepared shrimp. Set aside while the salad is prepared.
In a medium saucepan, combine broth or water, turmeric, cinnamon, cumin, ginger, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil. Add couscous. If using quick cooking couscous, remove from heat, and cover. Check package instructions. Israeli couscous or my toasted couscous requires cooking and draining according to package instructions. Drain, then fluff with a fork. Allow to cool.
Thread the marinated shrimp on skewers (or cook in a grill basket. Grill the shrimp on medium high heat for 1-2 minutes per side. Don't overcook!
Add the apricots, almonds or pine nuts, zucchini, bell pepper, onion, and chick peas to a large salad bowl. Add the cooled couscous.
Puree the olive oil, lemon juice, shallot, cilantro, 1/4 teaspoon salt, pepper. Toss the salad with the dressing.
Garnish with cilantro, lemon wedges, and shrimp.
I use a good quality chicken or vegetable stock. You may also use water, and will have plenty of flavor.
Cooking methods and times really vary with couscous. I have used all different kinds. Be sure to read the instructions, and cook according to the method on the package.