This spicy tomato and couscous soup recipe is an easy choice for a light midweek meal at lunch or dinner. It's a healthy vegan meal, perfect for batch cooking and making ahead.
I first made this spicy tomato and couscous soup back in 2010. I can't believe it was so long ago now. We'd just returned from a holiday in Egypt and I'd picked up a little cookbook while I was there, Egyptian Cooking. I love North African and Middle Eastern flavours and this couscous recipe (M'Deshesha) was one of the first dishes I tried from the book.
Usually I use couscous in salads or serve it with a tagine so adding it to a soup was first for me. But why not? The great thing about adding carbs like couscous to a soup means that the soup becomes more substantial and filling enough for a main meal.
There is nothing worse than making super healthy choices at lunchtime but then giving in to sweet cravings mid-afternoon because you haven't eaten enough!
This soup is a healthy filling recipe that will keep you going all afternoon. It's also perfect as a light choice for an evening meal.
How to batch cook this soup
As you may know, I love to batch cook, especially with soups. I make a big batch of soup one day and then eat it up for lunch over the following days. This soup is perfect for that. You can easily increase the quantities in the recipe card below to make 2 or 3 times as much.
Storing and reheating
You can keep this soup in the fridge for up to three days. However, the couscous absorbs even more liquid when it is in the fridge so you may need to add a little extra liquid when you reheat it so it's not too thick.
Alternatively, if it does really thicken up, the leftovers make a great side dish the next day. I think this particular recipe goes brilliantly with white fish such as cod.
You can also freeze this soup for up to three months in an airtight container.
Could you adapt this couscous soup?
Like with most soups there are lots of ways you could adapt this tomato and couscous coup. You could even omit the couscous and use a different carb altogether. How about rice, green lentils or bulgur wheat?
If you replace the couscous you will need to simmer the soup for longer at step 3 though as couscous cooks very quickly.
The spices, especially the caraway seeds in this soup really give it its distinctive anise flavour. If you don't have caraway seeds you could replace them with fennel seeds as they have a similar liquorice flavour.
You could also replace the dried parsley with fresh parsley. If you do, just stir some in at the end and sprinkle a little on top to garnish.
Can you make it even healthier?
This spicy couscous soup is pretty healthy but if you want to make it an even healthier soup then why not add a few extra vegetables. You could finely dice an onion and cook it gently in the olive oil at the beginning before adding the tinned tomatoes. You could also add some diced red pepper or grated carrot to the soup at the beginning.
More Spicy Vegan Soup Recipes
For more inspiration do check out the recipes below They are all tasty filling vegan soups that are full of spice too!
Do also check out my recipe collection of easy homemade soups and my Cook Once Eat Twice recipe collection!
M'Deshesha: Tomato and Couscous Soup
- 400 g tinned chopped tomatoes
- ½ tablespoon olive oil
- 2 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1.5 teaspoon caraway seeds
- 1 dried chilli pepper
- 5 cloves garlic
- Pinch salt
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 2 teaspoon dried parsley
- 100 g couscous
- Puree the tomatoes in a blender then add to a saucepan with a little olive oil. Bring to the boil then add the coriander. Simmer for about 10 minutes.
- Crush the caraway seeds and dried chilli pepper in a pestle and mortar. Add the garlic and a pinch of salt and crush that too. Add to the saucepan along with the paprika and parsley.
- Add the couscous and about 500ml of water. Simmer until the couscous is cooked through. It should take about 5 minutes. If it becomes too thick, add another dash of water.
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That book (or book series) "X cooking", it's sold to tourists in all over the mediterranean, and can probably be sold all over the world in bookstores too, and is given out as gift by companies for example drugs representatives to doctors who they've heard are interested in cooking, the problem is that most recipes are identical no matter what country's cooking it's called... i've seen it called Moroccan Cooking, Turkish Cooking, Lebanese Cooking, Egyptian Cooking, and there are a few more different recipes in the turkish and greek ones but most of the content is exactly the same and not very typical for the country it supposedly represents. M'deshesha is in the Moroccan Cooking one too, but I asked some guys I know who are from Morocco and Algeria, and one of them is very food interested if he ever made m'deshesha, he said he's never heard of it and that people in Algeria don't ever use couscous in that way, he thought the name was probably real so maybe it's something that berber people from the desert regions south of the mountains in Algeria, Mali and western Sahel region might eat, So while the recipes are nice, they are certainly not typical for the region, at least not most of them, and they also said they don't agree with the spicing of the moroccan and algerian dishes in the book even though it's called "Moroccan Cooking". I really liked making mdeshesha for some years back in the mid 2000s though, became almost a staple in the dry cold winter here in sweden.
Thank you for commenting Johan and giving so much detail. It's a shame the recipes in all the books are identical, especially as we really like this one! I shall have to think of it as North African inspired rather than authentic from now on.
Ooh I love the sound of this! I've made cous cous a million times and tomato soup a million times but I've never thought to put them together. Definitely saving this to make!
I hope you like it Mandy! I'm just the same - I've made loads of tomato soups and use couscous all the time but not usually in soup!
This spicy tomato and couscous soup looks scrumptious!!! it is so perfect to enjoy in this weather. Loving couscous in this new avatar.
I'm so glad you like it Geetha! I have started eating quite a lot of soup now and often have leftovers for a few days.
Jo Allison / Jo's Kitchen Larder
This soup sounds really delicious with all the middle eastern spices and the addition of couscous sounds good to me! It will definitely keep you full for longer! I like the idea of having it thicker and as a side dish with some fish, I think it would be fantastic combination! x
I'm so pleased you like it Jo! I do like hearty soups that can be a meal in themselves. x
This soup sounds really aromatic, the caraway seeds sound very interesting in this recipe. I love how hearty it is!
I rarely use caraway seeds but I really like them in this. I actually need to use them a bit more as I'm sure the packet I've got has been open for quite a long time and like all spices, they are at their best when they're fresh! I'm glad you like it though.
Michelle Frank | Flipped-Out Food
I'm a huge fan of North African flavors as well. I love couscous, but I've never used it in a soup before. This looks delicious, so I can't wait to give it a try!
I hope you like it! North African recipes really do have some of my favourite flavours in them too.
soup is made for batch making. This soup sound really interesting.I haven't used couscous in soup before but why not.I must try this,
It is so good for batch cooking, isn't it? My lunch today will be leftover soup from yesterday!
I hope you like it Jacqui! Soup is definitely ideal for batch cooking - I'm making it a lot at the moment!
Mmm, I can smell the aroma of this hearty soup.