Moroccan Turkey with Cranberry Couscous

Variety is the spice of life or so the saying goes. I like to try new recipes and shake up our menu to keep things from getting boring. When I saw this recipe I just had to try it because it was so unusual. The recipe called for boneless skinless turkey breast but I had a bone in and it worked well. Hubby Tom and I are split on the final outcome. I thought the turkey breast had tons of flavor with a rub containing cumin, coriander,oregano, garlic and black pepper. He thought it was a little boring. Well truth be told he likes dark meat and I like white meat so turkey breast is not on the top of his list to begin with. I have made better turkey breast recipes so I won’t be repeating this one any time soon. However the side dish was a different story!

What we both agreed on is that the Cranberry Couscous side dish is the best couscous we have ever had! If you like couscous and cranberries then you owe it to yourself to try this recipe. It is a keeper! The flavor begins by soaking dried cranberries in orange juice, (fresh squeezed? no  –  I used store bought) the cranberries become very soft and infused with a slight orange flavor. Fresh garlic, red bell pepper and onion are cooked until soft, then chicken broth, left over orange juice and curry powder are added and the mix is brought to a boil. The couscous (I use whole wheat) goes in and sits for 5 minutes. The finale requires stirring in fresh basil, cilantro, lemon zest and just a little bit of chopped fresh lemon sections creating a beautiful, slightly sweet, slightly citrus infused couscous with plump cranberries. This dish comes together quickly once you start. It does require chopping a little of this and that so prep all of the ingredients before you begin. This will be my go to couscous recipe from now on! Even if you choose not to make the turkey breast, please make the couscous!

It makes for such a pretty presentation and would be a nice holiday side dish!

Moroccan Turkey with Cranberry Couscous


  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander seeds
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 (1 1/4-pound) skinless, boneless turkey breast halves
  • Cooking spray


  • 1 cup fresh orange juice
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 8 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 2/3 cup finely chopped onion
  • 2/3 cup finely chopped red bell pepper
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 (14 1/2-ounce) can fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 cups uncooked couscous (I used whole wheat)
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil (I only had dried and used 2 TBLS)
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 4 teaspoons grated lemon rind
  • 1/3 cup chopped peeled lemon sections

Preheat oven to 400°.

To prepare turkey, combine first 8 ingredients; rub over turkey. Place turkey on a broiler pan coated with cooking spray; insert a meat thermometer into thickest portion of a breast. Bake at 400° for 55 minutes or until thermometer registers 180°. Let stand 10 minutes before slicing.

To prepare couscous, bring orange juice to a boil in a small saucepan while turkey bakes. Stir in cranberries. Remove from heat; let stand 30 minutes. Drain cranberries in a colander over a bowl, reserving juice.

Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add sliced garlic; saute 1 minute. Add onion and bell pepper; sauté 2 minutes. Stir in reserved juice, water, curry, 1 teaspoon salt, and broth; bring to a boil. Gradually stir in couscous; remove from heat. Cover and let stand 5 minutes.

Fluff couscous with a fork. Add cranberries, basil, cilantro, rind, and lemon sections, tossing gently to combine. Cut each turkey breast into 1/2-inch-thick slices. Serve turkey with couscous.

Yield:  10 servings (serving size: 3 ounces turkey and about 3/4 cup couscous)

CALORIES 339 (7% from fat); FAT 2.8g (sat 0.5g,mono 1.2g,poly 0.5g); IRON 2.5mg; CHOLESTEROL 70mg; CALCIUM 49mg; CARBOHYDRATE 42.7g; SODIUM 548mg; PROTEIN 33.8g; FIBER 3.9g

Old WWP 6 / WWPP 8

Adapted From Cooking Light, DECEMBER 2002

Nutmeg Notes

Thank you for all the helpful ideas on how to ship cookies! With your help I am sure I will become proficient at it!

Yesterday was a sad day as I had the last hair cut from my favorite hairdresser for the past 18 years! We vowed to stay in contact and I will see her once a year when she comes back to CA to visit. I hope to travel to Vermont to visit her as well.

Son David just sat down next to me and told me he likes chicken! I think he is hinting that he wants a chicken meal soon. If he had it his way, we would mostly eat chicken and ground beef!


Please Leave Me A Comment

Do you like couscous?

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  1. Carol says:

    Another great recipe to add to my collection! Both dishes look delicious!!I must put curry powder on my grocery list!

    Sorry you had to say good bye to your hair dresser & friend but great that you will still be in touch!

    1. Tami says:

      Oh yes Carol you must make this and the curry is a key ingredient.

  2. Karen says:

    My hairdresser’s youngest is a high school junior and I am pretty sure when he finally graduates she and her husband will move south. Sigh.

    Do you have a healthy sweet potato casserole recipe? I have a craving for that for Thanksgiving. And have you made anything with quinoa?

    1. Tami says:

      I love sweet potatoes and will try to post a recipe for you in the next two weeks.

      Oh, yes I do fix Quinoa and I will try to post about it as well. Thanks for the great ideas! It helps give me some direction.

  3. Marisa @ Loser for Life says:

    That couscous did steal the show!!! It looks amazing!

    sorry about your hairdresser 🙁 So hard after all those years!

    1. Tami says:

      It is hard Marisa, we had become friends of course after so many years!

  4. Sharon says:

    I love couscous, but the better response to this for me is that thanks to Tish, Mr. B now “loves” couscous. She made a yummy side dish one night and he is still raving about it. I’m headed to Earth Fare today for all the ingredients for this recipe! I second Karen’s request for quinoa recipes. Bought some, but haven’t used it yet.

    Didn’t comment on the suggestions for shipping cookies, but we had friends living in South Africa (Lesotho) and I shipped things to them all the time including cookies. Unless they were just being nice, cookies always arrived intact!

    1. Tami says:

      Sharon I am so pleased that you are going to try this recipe!

      Thank you for letting me know that shipping cookies can have good results! I need to hear that!

      I will try and post some Quinoa recipes soon!

  5. Helen says:

    Losing a long-time hairdresser is just like losing a family member! On the other hand, sometimes it’s nice to have a fresh perspective. Good luck finding someone new.

    1. Tami says:

      Helen you are so right, it is like losing a family member!

  6. fittingbackin says:

    YUM- I love couscous and think it’s fascinating that this has OJ in it! All of the flavors/ingredients really sound great!!

    1. Tami says:

      You have to try this recipe as it is fantastic!

  7. Marsial2010 says:

    The couscous looks fabulous. If I wasn’t planning to make Pad Thai tonight with the wonderful jumbo shrimp I buy at TJ’s, I’d make the couscous. Well, that will be on tomorrow night’s menu. Thanks for the recipe.

    1. Tami says:

      You are very welcome. Come back and let me know if you like it!

  8. Andrea@WellnessNotes says:

    The couscous sounds great! I love couscous but my hubby “can live without it” so I don’t make it very often. I’m definitely making this recipe however. Maybe it’s the one that will win him over (to the couscous side!) 🙂

    1. Tami says:

      You know it just might make him like it! Couscous is rather plain on it’s own but this dish is anything but plain!

  9. Carla says:

    Hi Tami,

    Your food and photos are always amazing! I am definitely going to try that couscous recipe. You are super talented!!!

  10. fatgirlwearingthin says:

    I don’t know how you do it Tami, but you seem to know exactly what recipes I need. I bought whole wheat couscous the other day instead of the flavored kinds from Near East that I usually get. My husband did not particularly like the ‘plain’ flavor. I’ve been sitting here wondering what on earth I was going to do with the other box. Now I know. Thank you!

  11. MaryFran says:

    That couscous looks REALLY good!

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