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Chicken Breasts Stuffed with Herbed Couscous


Thanks to fresh mint and lemon zest, this stuffing has plenty of vibrancy. For a quick flavor switch, try cilantro or basil instead of mint, and walnuts instead of pine nuts. Use a spoon to pack in the couscous; most of it will stay put as you saute the chicken, but any that falls out won't burn.

  • Prep:
  • Total Time:
  • Servings: 4

Photography: John Kernick

Source: Everyday Food, September 2007


  • 1/2 cup couscous
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 1/2 cup fresh mint leaves, coarsely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons pine nuts
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced crosswise
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest plus 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice (from 1/2 lemon)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, (6 to 8 ounces each)


  1. In a small saucepan, bring 3/4 cup water to a boil. Add couscous; season with salt and pepper. Cover, and remove from heat; let steam 5 minutes. Add mint, pine nuts, scallions, lemon zest and juice, and 1 tablespoon oil; season with salt and pepper, and fluff with a fork.

  2. Lay chicken flat on a work surface. With a paring knife, cut a 2-inch-long slit in the thick side of each breast. Insert knife, and pivot inside chicken without enlarging opening, carefully forming a deep pocket (make sure not to pierce the opposite side). Stuff each breast with an equal amount of couscous mixture, packing it tightly.

  3. In a large skillet, heat remaining tablespoon oil over medium. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Place in skillet, and cook until browned on one side, 6 to 8 minutes. Carefully turn chicken over, and add 1/2 cup water to skillet (a little couscous may fall out). Cover, and cook until chicken is opaque throughout, 6 to 8 minutes more.

Cook's Notes

Couscous is a Middle Eastern staple; just like pasta, it's made from semolina flour. At the store, you'll find it by the rice and grains.

Reviews Add a comment

  • marywoodro4984859
    28 FEB, 2016
    I've made this twice now. I do stuff the chicken as breast can be a bit dry. I make about double the couscous though as the chicken portion needs more couscous than I can stuff. I also serve wedges of lemon and mint to garnish.
  • Smoothis
    14 OCT, 2010
  • jdorourk
    25 JUL, 2010
    very good. I made it easier and just cooked the chicken by itself and served it with the couscous on the side. I ended up using parsley instead of mint and added some dried cranberries. kind of tasted like tabbouleh. As a side dish I made the recipe Roasted Carrots with Feta and Parsley from this website.
  • LGW
    20 AUG, 2008
    It was real good! My husband loved it, was something new.
  • Timbo
    11 AUG, 2008
    I added 5 diced dried apricots to the cous mixture. Also at the time of turning the breasts I used a nice chicjken stock instead of water. Kep adding small amount to keep the pan from drying up. This made a really nice caremelized broth. I added some left over cous to this broth and let it soak up all that love...... Very Delicious I'll make this again. Enjoy!
  • krunyen
    20 MAY, 2008
    This was fantastic! I used cilantro in the couscous. So moist and delicious! And good for you! Will make this many times over!
  • anniepoonanny
    18 MAR, 2008
    This was an awesome twist on just plain old chicken breasts. I think I used too much basil though. I served it with a salad.
  • Colleenk3293
    14 FEB, 2008
    This is really good! It has a lot of flavor!
  • lnikoleb
    28 JAN, 2008
    I really love this dish. However, I usually substitute fresh basil for the mint since my boyfriend dislikes anything remotely sweet unless it's dessert! :) I also add garlic to the couscous and omit the pine nuts (he doesn't like nuts either). But at least those are his only food idiosyncrasies. Happy cooking!
  • gardenangel
    24 JAN, 2008
    Easy and delicious. I used fresh parsley instead. Made the peas and carrots.. loved the carrots( thinly sliced on the mandolin). Very tender.