Mediterranean Couscous with Shrimp

4.97 from 28 votes

A quick and easy summer recipe, this Mediterranean Couscous dish is made with shrimp, tomatoes, feta, olives and capers - it's fresh, healthy & irresistible

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This Mediterranean Couscous with Shrimp recipe is loaded full of flavor and it makes a healthy and easy one pot weeknight meal. Every mouthful is delicious and nutritious!

Close up shot of the Mediterranean Couscous final dish

This Mediterranean Couscous recipe is from Gina’s new cookbook, Skinnytaste One and Done. As you may know, this her third cookbook and I’m absolutely obsessed with all her cookbooks and recipes. This one is pretty unique because it’s 140 recipes all just for dinner, and made in ONE pot or pan. If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you know that’s totally my kinda cooking – one and done and YUM! I love that the recipes are all approachable, easy to make and clean up, and loaded with flavor!

What Gina Says about this recipe: “This [Mediterranean Couscous] recipe is super easy and crazy good! Perfect for the summer, it’s made with Israeli couscous (the larger, more pearl-like variety), shrimp and fresh tomatoes as the star of the dish. The warm couscous softens the feta cheese, making it just irresistible. Get ready to dig in.”

Ohhh, I certainly dug in…and had seconds the same day!

What is in Mediterranean Couscous with Shrimp?

I bookmarked 30 recipes to make already, and the first one I decided to try was this Mediterranean couscous with shrimp. Being middle-eastern, the ingredients in this recipes are all staple ingredients in my house. I literally have everything to make this recipe, and you probably will too!

  • Pearl couscous
  • Shrimp
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Kalamata olives
  • Feta cheese
  • Capers
  • Olive oil
  • Garlic
  • Lemon

How to Make Mediterranean Couscous

First, we put together the stars of the dish that bring out that Mediterranean flavor I love so much. In a bowl, I mix the tomatoes, olives, capers and crumbled feta cheese. Like Gina, I prefer cutting the tomatoes and olives so every bite of the Mediterranean couscous has a little bit of all the ingredients included.

Large bowl of tomatoes, feta cheese, kalamata olives and capers

Next, it’s time for the one-pan show! For this recipe, it’s a skillet. In here, I cook the shrimp and later on the couscous. I buy the largest shrimp I can find and cook the shrimp simply with olive oil and salt until they turn opaque orange color. Next, I remove the shrimp from the skillet, but I don’t wipe it down. That’s because the couscous will go right in there afterwards and cook with all the juices from the shrimp.

Large pan cooking the shrimp

Cooking couscous is like cooking quinoa or rice but the grain to water mixture is slightly different. Check the package instructions of your couscous. Typically though for a 1 ½ cups of couscous, you’ll need 2 cups of vegetable/chicken broth. That’s what I did here. I used these tri-colored pearl couscous, which just add more color to the dish – why not!

Pearled couscous after being cooked with vegetable broth

That’s pretty much it, folks! Then I bring all all the ingredients together in the skillet. I mix them all together with the juice of half a lemon, and then serve it warm. This also tastes amazing the next day served cold!

Top tips to make Mediterranean Couscous with Shrimp

  • Shrimp must be shelled and deveined, and thawed if frozen.
  • Use the freshest ingredients you can for maxium flavor.
  • Be sure to use fresh lemon juice not jarred – it makes all the difference!

Frequently Asked Questions

What exactly is couscous?

Couscous originates from Morocco and it is made from semolina, the hard part of the grain of wheat or barley. It is a tiny pasta that is traditionally hand rolled.

Is couscous healthier than rice?

Compared to rice, couscous is lower in calories, it is slightly lower in fiber but slightly higher in protein. Compared to brown rice, it is lower in nutrients but it is healthier than white rice.

Are fresh or frozen shrimp better?

Generally, the texture and flavor of the shrimp if you cook them fresh is better, and I used fresh in this recipe. Frozen shrimp though are convenient and easier to source for most people, so they absolutely can be used in this recipe. Just defrost them first.

Mixing the pearled couscous with the shrimp, tomatoes, kalamata olive, feta cheese and capers in a large pan

What’s the difference between couscous and pearl couscous?

I found this snippet from Escoffier Culinary Academy helpful in understanding the difference, which I myself didn’t know! For this Mediterranean couscous recipe, you can essentially use either one, but the nuttier flavor of the Israeli pearl couscous works very well with the other ingredients here.

Couscous
Although the granules look like grains, couscous is actually tiny ground pasta made from a type of wheat called semolina. Unlike other pastas, which are mixed with water and eggs into sheets, couscous is made by rubbing semolina between wet hands until miniscule pieces are formed. The couscous is then dried and later cooked in boiling water.

Israeli couscous
Israeli couscous is also a type of pasta, but consists of granules that are much larger – about the size of small pearls. Made from wheat flour and semolina, Israeli couscous has a ball-like shape and is toasted, rather than dried, after the granules are formed. This process gives Israeli couscous a nuttier flavor and chewy bite that adds an unexpected touch to regional recipes.

Large pan of the Mediterranean couscous with a small plate serving of the couscous next to it.

For more couscous recipes:

Try these other Mediterranean recipes:

I love how easy it is to prep and cook this delicious one pot meal! It’s so full of fresh flavors and healthy ingredients!

If you make this healthy-ish feelgood Mediterranean Couscous recipe, please be sure to leave a comment and/or give this recipe a rating! I would love to hear about your experience making it. And if you snapped some shots of it, share it with me on Instagram so I can repost on my stories!

And make sure you check out Skinnytaste One and Done on Amazon for more dinner recipes!

Mediterranean Couscous

A quick and easy summer recipe, this Mediterranean Couscous dish is made with shrimp, tomatoes, feta, olives and capers - it's fresh, healthy & irresistible
5 from 28 votes
Servings 4
Course Entree
Calories 428
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 17 mins
Total Time 22 mins

Ingredients
  

  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes 10 ounces, halved
  • 1/3 cup kalamata olives sliced pitted
  • ¼ cup feta cheese crumbled
  • 1 tablespoon capers drained
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 pound extra large shrimp peeled and deveined
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves minced
  • 2 cups vegetable broth low sodium
  • 1 ½ cups pearl couscous
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley chopped for garnish
  • ¼ teaspoon lemon zest grated for garnish

Instructions

  • In a large bowl, combine the tomatoes, olives, feta and capers. Season with the pepper.
  • Sprinkle the salt over the shrimp. Heat a large deep skillet over medium-high heat. When hot, add the oil, then the shrimp, and cook until opaque, 2 ½ minutes per side, stirring in the garlic for the last minute. Transfer to the bowl of the tomato mixture.
  • Add the broth to the skillet, increase the heat to high, and bring to a boil. Add the couscous, stir, cover and reduce the heat to medium. Cook until all the liquid is absorbed, 10-12 minutes. Fluff with a fork and add to the bowl of the shrimp and tomato mixture. Add the lemon juice and toss well.
  • Divide among 4 bowls, garnish with parsley and lemon zest, and serve.

Notes

Recipe: This recipe is from the Skinnytaste One and Done cookbook
Storage: Store any leftovers in an airtight container. They will last about 3-4 days in the fridge. You can heat it up or serve it cold. I ate my leftovers cold and I added a touch of olive oil to it since the couscous tends to dry up the next day.
Substitutes: For best results, follow the recipe as is. However here are some common substitutes that would work well in this recipe.
  • Instead of couscous, you can use quinoa or orzo pasta
  • You can replace the feta cheese with another cheese. Goat cheese works really well with this recipe.
  • If you're not a fan of one of the vegetables like tomatoes, olive or capers, you can leave them out or replace them with other favorites.
 
 

Nutrition

Serving: 1bowl, Calories: 428kcal, Carbohydrates: 55g, Protein: 33g, Fat: 6g, Saturated Fat: 2g, Cholesterol: 294mg, Sodium: 1847mg, Potassium: 379mg, Fiber: 4g, Sugar: 3g, Vitamin A: 865IU, Vitamin C: 25mg, Calcium: 247mg, Iron: 3.9mg

 

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Large pan of the Mediterranean couscous with a small plate serving of the couscous next to it.

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Comments

  1. I love this meal! But I used Quinoa instead of couscous because that’s what I had. And I added asparagus for some crunch.

  2. I’ve made this recipe. I enjoyed it but wish the serving size would be more specific. I’m afraid though the Mediterranean Diet is supposed to be the best diet to follow. I’m afraid that I’m getting too many carbs.

  3. Fantastic! I didn’t have fresh tomato’s, so I used drained canned diced. It was flavorful, colorful, and just we needed to brighten a pandemic night!