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Spicy Fennel-Tomato Couscous

4 Servings

45 minutes

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This recipe was inspired by Tunisian farfoucha, an aromatic dish of couscous finished with a spicy vegetable stew. Fennel fronds, the feathery greens that grow from the stalks, are a key ingredient in farfoucha—they form a fluffy bed on which the couscous is steamed, then are tossed in after cooking. But since fennel bulbs in U.S. supermarkets often are sold trimmed of their stalks, we sought other ways to infuse anise-like notes into the dish. To create a flavorful base for the sauce, we sauté a thinly sliced fennel bulb with onion and green chili, and we use a generous amount of ground fennel seeds in the couscous. Fresh dill provides grassy herbal notes that hints at fennel. Harissa is a spicy North African pepper paste; its chili heat varies by brand, so you may want to taste your harissa before deciding how much to use.




Don’t discard the fronds from the fennel, if your bulb has some attached. Chop them for use as garnish. Also, don’t discard the dill stems. We mince and cook them into the sauce; the leaves are chopped, reserved separately and stirred into the sauce at the end.

45 minutes


  • cup sliced almonds

  • 4

    tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided, plus more to serve


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Scott P.
July 27, 2022
Wonderful recipe. Serves more like 6 than 4. I used 3 Tbsp of spicy harissa and that was perfect. Presentation is gorgeous and mouth-watering.
Rachel B.

I don't have small couscous, but do have pearl / "Israeli" couscous. Wondering if anyone's tried this recipe with that couscous -- adding the couscous to the sauce 5-7 minutes after the fennel's been simmering and cooking it for 9 or 10 minutes that way?

Jennifer B.

I used middle Eastern couscous, and yes it had to sit in boiling water for longer. Regardless, somehow am not a huge fan of this dish.