Chipotle Chicken Couscous

Chipotle Chicken Couscous - A flavorful and spicy couscous salad that's a great use for leftover chicken. Perfect as a side dish or served over tostadas.


Chipotle Chicken Couscous

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I’ve been in cookbook testing mode for the last few months and I’m currently going back over all of the chicken recipes that are in the book. If you aren’t familiar with the book that I’m writing, it’s based on using leftovers effectively and one of the chapters is on leftover chicken.

This Chipotle Chicken Couscous is a recipe that I considered adding to the chapter, but decided not to just because the chapter is already pretty heavy on Tex-Mex recipes. That said, I thought the final dish was still unique and tasted great so I just decided to post it rather than save it for the book.

The nice thing about this recipe is that you can serve it as a side dish or serve it on tostadas and make a meal out of it. Either way, it’s a unique take on couscous and has great flavors.

Chipotle Chicken Couscous

Serves 4
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A flavorful and spicy couscous salad that’s a great use for leftover chicken. Perfect as a side dish or served over tostadas.


1/2 pound cooked chicken, chopped or shredded
1 cup grape tomatoes, quartered
1-2 chipotle peppers, diced
1 tablespoon Adobo sauce (from peppers)
1/2 lime, juice only
1 1/2 cups chicken stock
1 1/2 cups couscous
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 avocado, diced
Salt and pepper
8 fried tostadas,optional
Cilantro, garnish
Hot sauce, garnish
Pepper Jack cheese, garnish


1) In a medium pot, add oil over medium heat. Then add chicken and tomatoes and cook for a few minutes until hot.

2) Add peppers and Adobo sauce and stir together. Squeeze half a lime over the chicken.

3) Add in chicken stock, cover, and bring to a simmer.

4) Stir in couscous, cover, and remove from heat. Let sit for five minutes.

5) Fluff couscous with a fork, season with salt and pepper, and stir in diced avocado.

Serve as a salad or serve over fried tostadas with pepper jack cheese, cilantro, and hot sauce.

To make fried tostadas, add a tablespoon of neutral oil (sunflower or vegetable) to a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add corn tortillas and fry for about 2 minutes per side until crispy. As the tortillas fry, push down to remove air bubbles that form.

Chipotle Chicken Couscous

Making the Salad

If you don’t happen to have any leftover chicken, you can definitely leave it out for a vegetarian version of the salad or just poach a chicken breast in slightly simmering water for about 12 minutes until it’s cooked through. Then chop it up and use it in the recipe.

Besides the chicken, you need just a few things.

basics for Chipotle Chicken Couscous
The basics.

I quartered a few grape tomatoes and added them to my chopped chicken.

chicken for Chipotle Chicken Couscous Recipe
Great use of leftover chicken.

A lot of the flavor in this recipe comes from chipotle peppers. These are pretty common these days and can be found in almost any latin market or in the latin section of your supermarket. Be sure to get the ones in Adobo sauce. Dice the peppers finely and also reserve some of the liquid from the can to add to the recipe.

chipotle for Chipotle Chicken Couscous
The pepper and the sauce.

In a medium pan, add a drizzle of olive oil and then add the chicken, tomatoes, and chipotle peppers over medium heat.

starting the Chipotle Chicken Couscous
Just to heat everything.

Just stir these ingredients together to combine the flavors and then hit them with the juice from half a lime. This gives some extra acid to the dish.

lime going in Chipotle Chicken Couscous
Important squeeze.

Then add in the chicken stock (or vegetable stock if you’re making a vegetarian version). Cover the dish and bring the stock to a simmer.

Once the mixture is simmering, stir in your couscous!

couscous into Chipotle Chicken Couscous
Action shot.

If you’ve never cooked couscous before, you’re in for a treat. It’s pretty much the easiest pasta to cook. (And yes, it’s a pasta and not a grain) Once you stir it into the simmering liquid, cover it, remove the pot from the heat, and let it sit for five minutes.

That’s it! Then you can fluff the mixture with a fork and you’re all set.

Chipotle Chicken Couscous from Macheesmo
A few minutes later.

To finish off the Chipotle Chicken Couscous, season it with salt and pepper and stir in some diced avocado.

Serving option!

This Chipotle Chicken Couscous is great on its own, but if you want to make a meal out of it, I like to serve it over fried tostadas. Just add a drizzle of oil to a small or medium sillet over medium high heat. Then add a corn tortilla and fry it until it’s nicely crispy – about 2 minutes per side.

Chipotle Chicken Couscous
Serving option!

Scoop the salad mixture over the tostadas and garnish with some shredded cheese, cilantro, and hot sauce.

Chipotle Chicken Couscous Recipe from Macheesmo -

No doubt that this Chipotle Chicken Couscous is a different take on couscous. But the flavors actually work really nicely and the texture between the soft couscous and crispy tostada makes for a great meal.

Start to finish the whole thing takes less than thirty minutes to make so that’s also a pretty nice feature.

If you’re a couscous fan or a Tex-mex fan, give this a shot!

If you’re looking for more ways to use couscous, this Pearl Couscous Salad with Burst Tomatoes is a must try!

4 Responses to “Chipotle Chicken Couscous” Leave a comment

  1. I think perhaps you meant to say tortilla instead of tostada?

    In any event, I got all excited because I thought this was resting on a piece of naan! Looks delicious, no matter what its mode of delivery.

  2. Oh Nick! Tostadas AND couscous!! My two favorite foods!!! Your dear Becky is one lucky lady!!!! And I’ll stop using excessive exclamation point any second now!!!!!

  3. I love this and make it frequently! Just made some tonight with tempeh, a can of diced tomatoes since we have nothing fresh around here right now, and an onion. Sometimes I just eat them as tacos so I don’t have to fry the tortillas but either way this is delicious!

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