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Butternut Squash Broccoli Cheddar Chicken Couscous

Here’s the deal. One night about 5 years ago now Tony and I were deliriously hungry but couldn’t make up our minds as to where we should go out to eat. Sometimes figuring out and agreeing on a restaurant is much like figuring out what we’re going to watch on Netflix. We just can’t decide.

After about an hour of going back and forth on which restaurant we were going to go out to, I opened the fridge and decided that I was simply going to whip something up. I pulled out chicken breast, broccoli and cheddar cheese. Because broccoli cheddar is the best combo, amiright? Hello, broccoli cheddar chicken pot pie. Then I peeked into the cupboard and found the last of my very favorite pearl couscous and knew what was about to go down.

About 30 minutes later, Tony and I were having a fabulous, filling, veggie and protein-packed broccoli cheddar chicken couscous while watching some weird documentary about Scottish wild cats on Netflix. Ha. The next day there were leftovers, so I decided to roast some butternut squash that needed to be used up and add it to the dish. OH MY GOSH, it was fabulous — sweet, spicy, cheesy, savory and SO good I knew I had to remake it for the blog.

I’m bringing back this incredible butternut squash broccoli cheddar chicken couscous for your comfort food weeknight cravings. It’s the perfect way to use up the last of winter squash, too!

broccoli cheddar chicken couscous in a pot next to a spoon

Everything you’ll need to make this broccoli cheddar chicken couscous

This delicious chicken couscous recipe is packed with lots of veggies, lean protein and FLAVOR! Basically, this is like a healthy version of mac and cheese with veggies and protein. I’M SO INTO IT. Here’s what you’ll need to make it:

  • Butternut squash: you’ll roast it to tender perfection with a little olive oil, maple syrup, chili powder, garlic powder, cayenne pepper, salt & pepper. SO GOOD.
  • Chicken: feel free to use chicken breast or thighs. You’ll cook it with garlic powder, paprika, cayenne, salt & pepper.
  • Broccoli: gotta love the boost of greens in this meal.
  • Couscous: I will say that the couscous really takes the dish to the next level. It’s slightly chewy and doughy, which gives it a pasta-like flavor/texture. It’s important that you use Israeli or pearl couscous to keep the texture of the dish (it’s like mini baby gnocchi!)
  • Cheese: you’ll also need some cheddar cheese for that amazing mac and cheese flavor and to pull the dish together.

broccoli cheddar chicken couscous in a pot

Customize this chicken couscous

Because this broccoli cheddar chicken couscous was truly a throw-together meal, it’s also easy to customize. Here’s what I can recommend:

  • Choose your veggies: I love the crisp bites of broccoli but feel free to mix in some roasted brussels sprouts, spinach or even kale for a boost of greens!
  • Go vegetarian: instead of chicken, feel free to use 1 can of drained and rinsed chickpeas or white beans. Simply add them directly to the couscous once it’s done cooking.
  • Add a kick of heat: Tony says it’s delicious with a little hot sauce on top if that’s your thing! A sprinkle of red pepper flakes would also be delicious.
  • Swap the squash: you could also roast up sweet potato the same way you do the butternut squash. Easy!
  • Add extra savory flavor: I think some cooked, chopped up bacon would also be delicious in this recipe.

Can I make it gluten free?

A reminder that pearl couscous is not gluten free because it’s essentially like mini pasta! You could try using white basmati rice in place of the couscous, but note that the liquids and cooking times will differ. Let me know in the comments if you try it!

broccoli cheddar chicken couscous in a ceramic bowl with a spoon

Easy vegan options

If you’re looking to make this broccoli cheddar couscous vegan or dairy free, try using a vegan cheese shreds, vegan queso like Siete, or stirring in this cashew cheese sauce.

Tips for prepping your butternut squash

Before you roast it up, remember to get all of our tips & tricks for peeling and cubing butternut squash here! You’ll roast up these cubes with the spices before adding them in the dish.

How to make this butternut squash chicken couscous

  1. Roast the squash. Start by adding the butternut squash cubes to a large baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Add the olive oil, maple syrup and spices, and toss the squash well before roasting. Get more tips for roasting butternut squash here!
  2. Cook the chicken. While the squash is roasting, cook your cubed chicken in a skillet with olive oil, garlic powder, paprika, cayenne pepper, salt & pepper. Transfer it to a bowl once it’s cooked.
  3. Cook the couscous & broccoli. The broccoli florets actually steam in the pot with the couscous, so you’ll want to add both to a large pot or dutch oven with water or broth. Bring them to a boil, then cover, reduce the heat to low and cook for just 8-10 minutes total.
  4. Mix & serve. Once the couscous absorbs the water, give it a stir and then fold in the cooked chicken and shredded cheddar. Finally, mix in the roasted butternut squash, taste and adjust the seasonings, and enjoy!

broccoli cheddar chicken couscous in a ceramic bowl with a spoon

Storing tips

Store any leftover broccoli cheddar chicken couscous in airtight containers in the fridge for up to 4-5 days. Simply reheat in the microwave!

More cozy dinner recipes

Get all of our delicious dinner recipes here!

I hope you love this broccoli cheddar chicken couscous! If you make it be sure to leave a comment and a rating so I know how you liked it. Enjoy, xo!

Roasted Butternut Squash Broccoli Cheddar Chicken Couscous

broccoli cheddar chicken couscous in a ceramic pot

Cozy and delicious broccoli cheddar chicken couscous with sweet and spicy roasted butternut squash. You’ll love this easy, comforting dinner recipe for any night of the week! Kid-friendly and easily vegetarian, too.


  • For the butternut squash:
  • 4
    cubed butternut squash (from about 2 pounds butternut squash)
  • 1
    olive oil
  • ½
    pure maple syrup
  • ½
    chili powder
  • ½
    garlic powder
  • ¼
    cayenne pepper
  • Freshly ground salt and pepper
  • For the chicken:
  • 1
    olive oil
  • 1
    boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into bite sized chunks (can also use boneless skinless chicken thighs)
  • 1
    garlic powder
  • 1/2
  • 1/2
    cayenne pepper
  • Freshly ground salt and pepper
  • For the broccoli cheddar couscous:
  • 1 3/4
    water or low sodium chicken broth
  • 1
    israeli (or pearl) couscous
  • 1
    medium head broccoli, cut into small florets (about 3 ½ cups broccoli florets)
  • 1 1/2
    shredded cheddar cheese
  • Freshly ground salt and pepper, to taste


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Place butternut squash cubes on the baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and maple syrup. Sprinkle on chili powder, garlic powder and cayenne pepper. Generously season with freshly ground salt and pepper. Use your hands to toss together so that the squash is well coated. 

  2. Bake for 20-30 minutes, flipping halfway through, until the squash is tender. Once done, allow to rest on baking sheet until you are ready to add to the rest of the dish.

  3. While the squash is cooking, cook your chicken breast. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to a large skillet and place over medium-high heat. Add in chicken. Immediately sprinkle with garlic powder, paprika and cayenne pepper and generously season with salt and pepper. Cook chicken for 5-8 minutes until no longer pink. Remove from heat and set skillet aside or transfer to a bowl.

  4. To make the couscous: In this order add the following to a large pot or dutch oven: water, couscous and broccoli florets. Bring to a boil, then cover, reduce heat to low and cook for 8-10 minutes total; check after 5 minutes and give everything a stir. 

  5. Replace the lid and allow to cook for 3-5 more minutes to absorb the water. Stir again, and then add in cooked chicken and shredded cheddar. Stir to melt the cheddar.

  6.  Finally fold in the roasted butternut squash. Taste and adjust seasonings as necessary. Enjoy! Serves 4.

Recipe Notes

To make vegetarian: Instead of chicken, feel free to use 1 can of drained and rinsed chickpeas or white beans. Add directly to couscous once it is done cooking.

To make gluten free: You can try using white basmati rice in place of the couscous, but please know that liquids and cooking times will differ.

To make vegan: Instead of using cheese, try using 1/2 Siete queso, a vegan queso. You can also make a homemade cashew cheese sauce and blend in.


Servings: 4 servings

Serving size: 1 serving

Calories: 543kcal

Fat: 18.9g

Saturated fat: 6.8g

Carbohydrates: 26.4g

Fiber: 6.3g

Sugar: 8g

Protein: 42.4g

Recipe by: Monique Volz // Ambitious Kitchen Photography by: Eat Love Eats

This post was originally published on December 10th, 2018, republished on February 24th, 2022, and republished on January 1st, 2023.

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