This spicy shrimp couscous with smoky, garlicky Spanish chorizo is a serious flavor party in under 30 minutes! A little bit Moroccan, a little bit Spanish, and all around delicious, the whole family will absolutely love this easy one pot dinner. 

A close up of a bowl of shrimp couscous.
Photo Credits: Suzy Karadsheh

My family calls this recipe, "jazzed up couscous" for a reason! It's a fun twist inspired by traditional Moroccan Couscous and Spanish Chorizo Pasta, with quick cooking shrimp and bold Mediterranean flavor-makers to marry everything together. 

Pulling this one-pot wonder together is a healthy dose of onions and garlic, a little fresh jalapeno for a kick, and feel-good Mediterranean spices like turmeric, paprika and cumin. It’s smoky, spicy, savory, garlicky, comforting, and very satisfying but not too heavy. Use this vibrant recipe to spice up your dinner routine!

Table of Contents
  1. Spicy Shrimp Couscous Ingredients and Substitutions  
  2. Ingredient Spotlight
  3. How to Make Spicy Shrimp Couscous 
  4. What to Serve with Shrimp Couscous 
  5. More Couscous Recipes
  6. Spicy Couscous Recipe with Shrimp and Chorizo Recipe
Ingredients for shrimp couscous including shrimp, couscous, garlic, jalapenos, onion, chorizo, turmeric, paprika, and cumin.

Spicy Shrimp Couscous Ingredients and Substitutions  

This recipe celebrates bold North African and Spanish flavors, with simple ingredients that are easy to find at most any grocery store. You’ll need:

  • Spanish chorizo: Spanish chorizo is a pork sausage that’s heavily seasoned with smoked paprika, which gives it a boldly smoky flavor. Unlike Mexican chorizo, it’s dry-cured, so it only needs a quick crisp in a hot pan.
    • Note: If you use Mexican chorizo or fresh chorizo, just be sure to cook it through (160°F) before removing it from the pan.
  • Olive oil: I love our peppery Spanish Hojiblanca with this recipe, but any high quality extra virgin variety will work well. 
  • Onion and garlic bring their signature sweet and savory depth of flavor. I like the sweetness of yellow onion, but white onion or shallot work well too.
  • Jalapeño complements the spice of the chorizo, adding a fresh kick. If you’re worried about the dish being too spicy, cut back to 1 jalapeño and remove the seeds.
  • Spices: Turmeric, paprika, ground cumin add layers of earthy, warming, peppery flavor. Stock up at our spice shop.
  • Kosher salt enhances the flavor.
  • Shrimp: Use large shrimp or prawns. Frozen works, just be sure to defrost them first. For tips on sourcing, peeling and deveining shrimp, check out our guide to Buying And Cooking Shrimp.
  • Couscous: Use fine to medium-grain couscous (not pearl, more information below).
  • Parsley adds lifts the heaviness of the smoky chorizo and shrimp. The freshness is key–I wouldn’t substitute with dried herbs but cilantro or mint could work in its place. 
Bag of Kartago couscous from the Mediterranean Dish shop.
Tunisian Couscous from the Mediterranean Dish Shop.

Ingredient Spotlight

Couscous, pronounced “Koose Koose,” is one of North Africa's most popular and most versatile ingredients. And although it looks like a grain, it's technically a pasta made with semolina flour from crushed durum wheat (in other words it is not gluten-free). There are three main kinds of couscous:  

  • Pearl couscous: Thicker, named for its resemblance to small pearls.  
  • Lebanese couscous: A bit larger–about the size of peas.
  • Fine to medium couscous: Often labeled simply “couscous.” This is what I use in this recipe, as its small size and delicate feel lets the shrimp and chorizo do all the talking. 
  • TRY IT: Try the Tunisian couscous from our shop, made from the finest durum wheat.
An overhead photo of shrimp couscous in a pot with a wooden spoon.

How to Make Spicy Shrimp Couscous 

This easy recipe requires very little cooking: the shrimp takes just a few minutes, the chorizo is already cured, and the smaller-grain couscous just takes a 5-10 minute soak to cook through. Easy as that! It comes together quickly, so it’s best ot get all your ready before you start. Here are the steps:

  • Get ready. In a small pot over medium heat, bring 2 ½ cups of water to a boil. Thinly slice 1 yellow onion. Finely chop 3 garlic cloves. Chop 2 jalapenos. Ready yourself 1 cup of chopped parsley leaves. Peel, devein, and rinse 1 ½ pounds shrimp. Slice 6 ounces of Spanish chorizo into thin rounds.
  • Crisp the chorizo. Heat a drizzle of olive oil in a large pot with a lid over medium-high. Add the chorizo and cook, stirring occasionally, just until crisp and brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer to paper towels to drain.
  • Sauté the onions. Turn the heat to medium. Add the onion, garlic, and jalapeño and stir briefly until the onions are translucent, about 4 minutes. 
  • Cook the shrimp. Add 1 ¼ teaspoon each of turmeric, paprika, and cumin and stir to coat. Add the shrimp and raise the heat to medium-high. Cook the shrimp just until it is firm and pink, 3 to 4 minutes. Do not overcook the shrimp.
  • Cook the couscous. Return the chorizo to the pot. Stir in 1 ¼ cup couscous, a drizzle of olive oil, dash of salt, and the boiling water. Immediately turn off the heat and cover. Let sit until the couscous has absorbed all of the liquid, 5 to 10 minutes. 
  • Serve. Uncover and stir in the fresh parsley. Transfer to serving bowls and enjoy! 
A close up overhead photo of shrimp couscous in a bowl.

What to Serve with Shrimp Couscous 

The beauty of a one-pot recipe like this spicy couscous is that you really don't need to add much more to complete the meal. That said, I always like to add something bright to start with, like a big Three Bean Salad or Fattoush. If you’re making this for a big party, make a 2 pitchers: one with Red Sangria, one with Non-Alcoholic Sangria Mocktails.

More Couscous Recipes

Browse all Mediterranean recipes.

Visit Our Shop.

4.78 from 31 votes

Spicy Couscous Recipe with Shrimp and Chorizo

Suzy Karadsheh
An overhead photo of shrimp couscous in a bowl. Next to the bowl is 3 jalapeno slices.
Easy, 20-minute spicy couscous recipe with shrimp and Spanish chorizo! This one-pot meal is a bit of a Moroccan-Spanish fusion. Quick-cooked couscous is combined with shrimp, Spanish Chorizo, and a few warm spices. Be sure to watch the video above to see how I make it.
Prep – 15 minutes
Cook – 20 minutes
Total – 35 minutes
Cuisine:
Mediterranean
Serves – 6
Course:
Entree

Ingredients
  

  • 2 ½ cups water
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 6 ounces Spanish chorizo, sliced into thin rounds (see note)
  • 1 small yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 jalapeños, chopped
  • 1 ¼ teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 ¼ teaspoon paprika
  • 1 ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 ½ pounds large shrimp or prawns, peeled, deveined, and well-rinsed
  • 1 ¼ cup couscous (fine to medium)
  • 1 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves

Instructions
 

  • Get ready. In a small pot over medium heat, bring the water to a boil.
  • Crisp the chorizo. Heat a drizzle of olive oil in a large pot with a lid over medium-high. Add the chorizo and cook, stirring occasionally, just until crisp and brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer to paper towels to drain.
  • Sauté the onions. Turn the heat to medium. Add the onion, garlic and jalapeno and stir briefly until the onions are translucent, about 4 minutes.
  • Cook the shrimp. Add the turmeric, paprika, and cumin and stir to coat. Add the shrimp and raise the heat to medium-high. Cook the shrimp just until it is firm and pink, 3 to 4 minutes. Do not overcook the shrimp.
  • Cook the couscous. Return the chorizo to the pot. Stir in the couscous, a drizzle of olive oil, dash of salt, and the boiling water. Immediately turn off the heat and cover. Let sit until the couscous has absorbed all of the liquid, 5 to 10 minutes.
  • Serve. Uncover and stir in the fresh parsley. Transfer to serving bowls and enjoy!

Notes

  • Shop this recipe: Visit our shop to browse quality Mediterranean ingredients including the olive oil, cumin, and paprika used in this recipe.
  • Make sure to use a dry-cured Spanish chorizo, sometimes labeled “hard” chorizo. If you’re working with fresh chorizo, be sure to cook it through (160°F) in step two.
  • Storage: Store leftovers covered in the fridge for up to 3 days. I prefer to enjoy leftovers at room temperature, though you can reheat gently if you’d like.

Nutrition

Calories: 331.6kcalCarbohydrates: 31.7gProtein: 32.7gFat: 7.7gSaturated Fat: 2.7gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.3gMonounsaturated Fat: 0.2gTrans Fat: 0.01gCholesterol: 200.3mgSodium: 151.6mgPotassium: 486.4mgFiber: 2.9gSugar: 1.1gVitamin A: 1.205IUVitamin C: 20.8mgCalcium: 111.1mgIron: 2.8mg
Tried this recipe?
Bag of Kartago couscous from the Mediterranean Dish shop.

Try Our Tunisian Couscous!

Meticulously crafted using traditional methods passed down through generations, this Tunisian couscous is made from the finest durum wheat semolina flour.

*This post first appeared on The Mediterranean Dish in February 2016 and has recently been updated with new media and information for readers' benefit. 

Share it with the world

I'm Suzy; born and bred right on the shores of the Mediterranean. I'm all about easy, healthy recipes with big Mediterranean flavors. Three values guide my cooking: eat with the seasons; use whole foods; and above all, share! So happy you're here...
Learn More

Get our best recipes and all Things Mediterranean delivered to your inbox.
4.78 from 31 votes

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

How many stars would you give this recipe?




This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Comments

  1. Jan says:

    3 stars
    This recipe was very lackluster for my husband and me. It was bland and lacked depths of flavor. Will not make it again. I cook Mediterranean dishes routinely but this was pretty bad. I’m sorry to leave a negative review.

  2. Michael Miller says:

    I have a gluten free friend. I would substitute quinoa for couscous Is that alter the taste much? I’ve purchased your cookbooks and store products and I’m very happy with them

    1. TMD Team says:

      Hi, Michael! I think substituting with quinoa is great to make it gluten free-friendly! It would alter that taste a bit, of course, but I really do think it would still be quite delicious!

  3. Thea Wiser says:

    OMGOSH I cannot even begin to describe how delish this recipe was. My husband could not stop eating it! We paired it with a 2019 Vino De Espana.

    May I suggest doing wine pairings with your recipes?! 😉😁

  4. gemma kirkwood says:

    5 stars
    Thumbs up from the kids !!!! Quick simple and really nutritious healthy tasty dinner . Big hit in our house !

  5. Shaynie says:

    3 stars
    Was a little disappointed to say the least to be honest!

    I followed the recipe and added a little more ingredients than stated just to add flavour and in all honesty I found it quite bland… I think the whole recipe is a good one to take and make changes to it to build on what is already there however as it is I feel it needs a lot more flavour.

    I added butter to bring out the richness and add more taste as it didn’t have much, additional salt and pepper and I’m hoping after it had been in the Fridge overnight it would have sat and brought the flavours out. I will take the recipe and add to it as needed but otherwise it is a great meal idea and more prawns needed to be added but otherwise it’s a keeper with tweeks, just wish it had more flavour!

    1. Suzy says:

      Thank you for the feedback, Shaynie.

  6. Jamie Brown says:

    5 stars
    Absolutely love this! I was missing a few items but made some substitutions, which I will list below because they were so good. Thanks for the awesome recipe!

    I used cilantro instead of parsley (sprinkled on at the end)
    Added a little lemon juice at the end
    Used smoked paprika instead of regular

    Probably not as authentic with those substitutions but they seemed to work really well.

    1. Suzy says:

      Thanks for for sharing your adaptions here, Jamie! Sometimes we just have to use what we have on hand, right?

  7. Julie Ann Valencia says:

    5 stars
    It's my first time cooking couscous and tried this recipe cause I love shrimps. The result is just wow. The flavors are powerful but not overwhelming. I skipped the chorizo. So delicious. Thanks for the recipe, this will be a staple.

    1. Suzy says:

      So glad you loved it, Julie Ann!

  8. Gwen Young says:

    Looks terrific, but it looks like regular couscous, not pearl couscous, right? Any way it could be modified to use pearl couscous? Cook it separately maybe? Thanks so much for all your terrific recipes and tips on each

    1. Suzy Karadsheh says:

      Hi Gwen. You are correct. This recipe uses quick-cooking Moroccan couscous not pearl couscous. If you're looking to use pearl couscous, you do need to fully cook that separately, then add it as indicated in the recipe but DO NOT add water again. You simply need to combine the already cooked pearl couscous with the rest of the ingredients.

    2. Maria says:

      5 stars
      I never leave comments on recipes.
      This was fantastic!! I looked forward to every leftover meal!! A few adjustments i made were 1. I used vegan chorizo and 2. I added dried cranberries along with the hot water and couscous. I love sweet bites in a spicy dish.

      Truly delicious!

      1. Suzy says:

        Yum! Thanks for sharing your variations!

  9. Laura H. Sandberg says:

    I lived in Morocco for several months years ago... I was fortunate enough to have been there during Ramadan and aId. One of the desserts we had during said time was 1/2 wide pieces of pastry with honey or similar and sesame seed... do you have the recipe for this? Love your site, sent it to my sister as well...

    1. Suzy Karadsheh says:

      Hey, Laura. Thanks for sharing! It sounds like you're talking about chebbakia? It's a honey cookie with sesame seeds? I have not tried making it myself. But it's wonderful .

  10. Susan ferrara says:

    4 stars
    I do like this very much the flavors are delicious I don’t know if I made a mistake somewhere but it seems very dry. And I have so much couscous maybe I didn’t add enough sausage and shrimp but the taste is delicious and was very easy

    1. Suzy Karadsheh says:

      If you've adjusted the ingredient list in some way, that might have been the issue?

  11. Sharon Revill says:

    5 stars
    Oh wow I'm just sat eating this and it is unbelievably tasty! Who said cous cous was bland and boring. Not in this recipe it isn't! The spices and jalapeno being warmth to the dish and the chorizo gives it that extra flavour and texture. Loads left over so this will definitely be a meal I take to work with me. Love it, thanks for sharing.

    1. Suzy Karadsheh says:

      Sharon, this makes my day! So glad you gave this one a try

  12. Natalie says:

    5 stars
    So delicious. I used vegan chorizo (for my husband who is a pescatarian) and it was very good! And I love that I had everything on hand. Lunch for the next two days too!

    1. Suzy Karadsheh says:

      Awesome, Natalie! I wasn't aware of vegan Chorizo. Thanks for sharing that!