Harissa Moroccan Chicken with Dates, Pistachios and Cauliflower Couscous

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I love me some Moroccan chicken. In the winter months, when I’m looking for a step up from “our dinner,” or am batch cooking for the week ahead, I’ll often make a tagine. But I was excited to find something that was also one pan, but a little lighter and less stewy for the summer months.

Instead of the rice, I made a cauliflower couscous. Which, if we’re being clear, is the same technique as cauliflower “rice.” But I’ve always thought the little crumbs were a better healthy doppelganger for couscous.
If you’re looking for a slightly gussied up version of your usual weeknight meal, I highly recommend you try it.

Further Food Nutritionist Commentary:

In just one cup of cauliflower, it contains 21 calories, boasting 24% of recommended intake of vitamin C and 43% of recommended intake of healthy eyesight promoting lutein and zeaxanthin. Additionally, with more fiber than white potatoes, cauliflower is a great option if you're watching your blood sugar levels and sugar intake. Moderation with dates is key, as they're full of sugar, however, in small amounts, they're rich in fiber, energy and sugar while aiding in issues such as constipation, anemia, need for weight gain and diarrhea. The dietary fiber helps move waste through colon, preventing the build up of LDL (bad) cholesterol. They're also rich in vitamin A and K, which protect the eyes, maintains healthy skin and metabolizes bones.​

By Nikki Nies, MS,RD, LD

Harissa Moroccan Chicken with Dates, Pistachios and Cauliflower Couscous

  • Prep Time:10 minutes
  • Cook Time:35 minutes
  • Servings: 4

Ingredients

1 small head cauliflower , cut into small florets (about 6 cups)
Olive oil
Sea salt
8 pieces of bone-in , skin-on chicken (I used 4 thighs and 4 drumsticks)
2 tablespoons harissa , divided
1 medium yellow onion , diced
2 large cloves garlic , minced
2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 bunch asparagus , woody stalks trimmed (see note)
4 pitted meijol dates roughly chopped
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/4 cup roughly chopped pistachios

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. In a food processor, pulse the cauliflower in batches until the florets turn into coarse crumbs. Be careful not to overstuff the bowl – you don’t want it to turn to mush. You should have 4 cups of cauli rice. Set aside.
  3. In a large oven-proof skillet heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over a high flame. Season the chicken with salt and brown on all sides until nicely golden, about 7 minutes total. Remove to a bowl and toss with 1 tablespoon of the harissa.
  4. Add the onions and 1 tablespoon olive oil to the pan and sauté until translucent, 5 minutes.
  5. Stir in the garlic, cumin, ginger and remaining 1 tablespoon harissa. Cook for 1 minute, then fold in the asparagus, cauli rice, dates, lemon juice and 1 teaspoon salt. Spread the cauli mixture in an even layer and nestle the chicken on top. Transfer the pan to the oven and roast for 20 minutes, until the cauli couscous is soft and the chicken is tender.
  6. Garnish with the pistachios and serve right in the pan!
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. In a food processor, pulse the cauliflower in batches until the florets turn into coarse crumbs. Be careful not to overstuff the bowl – you don’t want it to turn to mush. You should have 4 cups of cauli rice. Set aside. In a large oven-proof skillet heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over a high flame. Season the chicken with salt and brown on all sides until nicely golden, about 7 minutes total. Remove to a bowl and toss with 1 tablespoon of the harissa. Add the onions and 1 tablespoon olive oil to the pan and sauté until translucent, 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic, cumin, ginger and remaining 1 tablespoon harissa. Cook for 1 minute, then fold in the asparagus, cauli rice, dates, lemon juice and 1 teaspoon salt. Spread the cauli mixture in an even layer and nestle the chicken on top. Transfer the pan to the oven and roast for 20 minutes, until the cauli couscous is soft and the chicken is tender. Garnish with the pistachios and serve right in the pan!

Nutrition Information

Per Serving: Calories: 655; Total Fat: 32g; Saturated Fat: 7 g; Monounsaturated Fat: 4 g; Polyunsaturated Fat: 2 g; Cholesterol: 170 mg; Sodium: 699 mg; Potassium: 1085 mg; Carbohydrate: 56 g; Fiber: 10 g; Sugar: 40 g; Protein: 45 g

Nutrition Bonus:

Vitamin C: 156%; Vitamin A: 20%; Iron: 34%; Calcium: 15%

 

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