Thursday, January 8, 2015

Israeli Couscous

Israeli Coucous with pistachios, pine nuts, raisins, and more - the perfect recipe for a casual lunch or a fancy dinner.
Toasted pearl couscous with pistachios and pine nuts, chewy raisins, a hint of cinnamon, and a squeeze of lemon combine in this incredibly flavorful dish. Over a year ago, my sister, Jenny, told me that she had a dish she wanted to make for me. She described this Israeli Couscous to me and I have looked forward to trying it ever since the first time she mentioned it. This past month, we finally had the chance to make this recipe together. Served with Pan Fried Chicken Thighs, this is a meal that is as perfect as it can possibly be.

I loved this so much, I hid the leftovers in the back of the fridge and helped myself to them frequently over the next couple days. This is a wonderfully easy side dish that is substantial enough to stand alone for a meal. This keeps fabulously in the refrigerator and I can see myself making future batches to eat for my lunches all week long.

This was the first time I tasted Pearl (or Israeli) couscous. Pearl couscous are little round balls of pasta. They are slightly chewy, a little bit nutty, and absolutely nothing like traditional couscous. I am head over heels in love with this dish and I can't encourage you enough to try it for yourself.

COOK'S NOTE: Use caution when salting the final dish. Most store-bought chicken broth will provide enough salt that you won't need to add much salt at all. If you are using homemade chicken broth, be sure to use enough salt to bring out the flavors.

Barberries are a Middle Eastern dried fruit. They are very tart and you need to rehydrate them prior to adding them to the dish. They aren't required, but they do add a distinct flavor to the dish. It is definitely worth the effort of locating them if possible. I'm linking to them here, but you can also find them at most markets that sell Middle Eastern foods.

Israeli Couscous
recipe adapted from Trader Joe's
Yield: 6 servings
(printable recipe)

1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 cup pine nuts
1/4 cup pistachios
Optional: 1/8 cup barberries
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 large onion, very thinly sliced
2 cups pearl couscous
1 cinnamon stick
2 1/2 cups chicken broth
1/4 cup raisins
1/2 cup Italian parsley
zest of 1 small lemon
1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, adjust to taste

(If you are using barberries, place them in the bottom of a coffee mug or heatproof cup and cover with boiling hot water. Let them sit for 15 minutes and rinse the barberries before adding them to the dish.)

Warm the oil in a large deep skillet over medium high heat. Add the pine nuts and pistachios to the skillet. Saute until toasted and fragrant. Remove from the skillet to a plate or small dish. Melt the butter in the skillet and then add the onion, couscous, and cinnamon stick. Cook, while stirring frequently, until browned.

Add the chicken broth, bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Simmer until the couscous is tender, about 6 minutes. Remove from the heat. Add the barberries, raisins, toasted nuts, parsley, and lemon zest. Stir to combine. Taste and salt as needed. Enjoy!

Israeli Couscous - recipe by Barefeet In The Kitchen

ONE YEAR AGO TODAY: Peanut Butter and Honey Yogurt Dip
TWO YEARS AGO TODAY: Garlic and Paprika Roasted Cauliflower


  1. Oh hellllllooooooo Israeli Couscous salad. I've been WAITING for this one to pop up in my feed! YAY!

  2. This would make a lovely addition to the Australia Day BBQ - pinned!