Date and Chickpea Stew with Couscous

A couple of weekends ago I went on a last minute weekend trip to Mt. Pinos with my parents and some friends. Almost everyone was going for an orienteering event, but I went just to spend the weekend outdoors, away from the heat. I didn’t have time to go grocery shopping, so I browsed the online in search of a meal I could make out of ingredients I already had in my pantry. I stumbled upon this recipe on the Vegetarian Times website and figured I’d give it a try. I thought a whole cup of dates seemed like too many but in the end I was thrilled with the results. It was quick to throw together and extremely satisfying.

Date and Chickpea Stew with Couscous


6-8 servings

Prep Time / Cook Time


Activity Guide

Bike Touring, Car Camping


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 15-oz can diced tomatoes
  • 2 15-oz cans chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup pitted dates, sliced
  • Juice of one lemon
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1 cup couscous
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt


  • Cutting board
  • Knife
  • Large pot
  • Medium pot
  • Mixing spoon


  1. At home, combine spices in a spice jar or zip-top bag.
  2. Heat oil in a large pot. Add onion and cook for about 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Stir in garlic and spices and cook for about 30 seconds. Add tomatoes, chickpeas, and 1/4 cup water. Cover and simmer for about 10 minutes. Stir in dates and lemon juice.
  3. Meanwhile, bring 1 1/2 cups water and salt to a boil. Stir in couscous, remove from heat, and cover. Allow to sit while the stew finishes cooking.
  4. When youโ€™re ready to serve it, fluff the couscous with a fork. Spoon the couscous into bowls and top with the stew and a sprinkle of cilantro.

14 thoughts on “Date and Chickpea Stew with Couscous

  1. Awesome looking recipe! I’ll be trying it minus the tomatoes because friends are avoiding them… ๐Ÿ™ But I think I will bring some of my preserved lemons. Do you do these? For dishes of a similar (North African? Mediterranean?) spirit, I guess they SHOULD be good?

    1. Christopher – I would play with the quantity of preserved lemons but they should play well with the other ingredients in this recipe. Let us know how it goes!

  2. Any thoughts on how to make this a dehydrated, light weight meal? I’m looking for options for my vegetarian daughter about to embarking on a 14 day trip.


  3. Jane – I was thinking the same thing and am working on adapting it this. Any suggestions would be much appreciated. I’m also happy to send in my adaptation when I finish it.

  4. @ Jane & Margy

    I would experiment with dehydrated chickpeas. Only thing I’m not sure with those is the cook time, might eat a lot of fuel. To replace tomatoes, I’ve used chopped sun-dried tomatoes. Soak them in the water that you will use to make the coucous. They will soften up and give it a rich tomato flavor. For extra tomato taste you can also use tomato paste or tomato powder. Please let us know how it goes ๐Ÿ˜€

    1. That’s exciting news! Where have you applied?It was a tough decision to make, but Jen and I decided not to stay for a second year in Mongolia so we’ll be back home soon, looking for teaching jobs of our own.Thanks for sharing your stories. As frustrating as teaching can sometimes be, it’s always the students who make it all worth it.

  5. Pingback: Camping Recipes!
  6. Well, I made some adaptations, including dehydrated chickpeas and it was a huge hit. Delish. You can simply soak the chickpeas during the day while you’re hiking – no need to rehydrate them in boiling water. I also used sun dried tomatoes and added tomato paste. HOWEVER, the chickpeas gave all of us horrible gas, etc. So, I’m afraid this recipe has been moved to the “good idea but no go” pile. Unless someone has an idea of how to de-gas dehydrated chickpeas?

  7. I work for an the outdoor program at my university, and was leading a backpacking trip and cooked this meal for 8 people total. I added a little bit of chicken and it was a complete hit! Everybody loved it, and it was really easy to make. It takes a minute to cook but was completely worth it!

    1. Ryan, Glad to hear you adapted the recipe to fit the needs and wants of your group. This website is ALL about customizing recipes to fit your own tastes! A lot of our recipes are vegetarian because its hard to camp with perishable meats, but many people forget how easy it is to add any protein you like.

  8. Loved this recipe! I made it at home before camping, put the meal into ziploc bags (to save space) and then reheated at the campsite. Delicious, thanks for a great recipe!

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