Israeli couscous is also known as pearl couscous, Jerusalem couscous or ptitim in Israel. Like regular couscous, it is made by wheat flour or semolina and is small and whole-grain. It is vegan but not gluten-free. It does have a low glycemic index, so it is high-fiber and healthy. This food has a texture that is slightly chewy like barley, and due to its texture and the toasted nature, it has a slight nutty flavor. Despite that, it is fairly bland on its own, with much of the flavor coming from the preparations, including fresh herbs, sauces, spices, and seasonings. Here are some possible recipes to try.
Israeli Couscous with Asparagus, Peas and Sugar Snaps
Extra-virgin olive oil
Garlic cloves (minced)
Fresh lemon juice
Lemon peel (finely grated)
1 ⅓ cups (6-7 ounces)
1 ¾ cups
Slender asparagus spears (trimmed and cut diagonally creating ¾ inch pieces)
14 ounces (2 ½ cups)
Sugar snap peas (trimmed and cut diagonally creating ½ inch pieces)
8 ounces (2 ½ cups)
Shelled green peas (fresh or frozen and thawed)
Chopped chives (fresh)
Parmesan cheese (finely grated)
Whisk the lemon peel, one garlic clove, lemon juice and 2 tablespoons of oil together, setting it aside.
Heat up a tablespoon or oil on medium heat in a heavy saucepan.
Add the couscous, sprinkle with salt and then saute for five minutes until it is golden brown.
Add 1 3/4 cups of broth, bringing it to a boil.
Lower the heat down to medium-low, cover and simmer about 10 minutes until the couscous absorbs the liquid and is tender. Add a tablespoon of broth if dry.
Meanwhile, heat the last tablespoon of oil in a nonstick skillet on high. Add the second garlic clove, green peas, sugar snap peas, asparagus, salt and pepper. Saute for three minutes until tender.
Combine the couscous, fried vegetables, cheese, chives, as well as salt and pepper.
Toasted Israeli Couscous with Pine Nuts and Parsley
⅔ cup (3 ½ ounces)
Shallots (finely chopped)
16 ounces (3 cups)
Cinnamon stick (large)
Bay leaves (fresh or dried)
Chicken broth (canned, low-salt)
3 ¾ cups
Fresh Italian parsley (minced)
Melt a tablespoon of butter over medium-low heat in a large saucepan. Add the pine nuts, and stir for 8 minutes or until golden brown.
Put the nuts in a small bowl.
Add leftover four tablespoons butter to the saucepan, adding the shallots and saute for 10 minutes or until golden brown.
Add the couscous, bay leaves and cinnamon stick, stir often for 5 minutes or until couscous is slightly brown.
Add salt and broth, bringing to boil.
Lower the heat, cover the saucepan, and let it simmer for ten minutes or until the couscous is tender with the liquid absorbed.
Stir in pine nuts and parsley, seasoning with black pepper.
Pearl Couscous with Olives and Roasted Tomatoes
Dressing and Roasted Tomatoes
Cherry or red grape tomatoes
2 pints (1 ½ pounds)
Extra-virgin olive oil
Lemon juice (fresh)
2 ¼ cups
2 ¾ cups
Black olives (brine-cured, pitted and chopped)
Fresh mint (chopped)
Flat-leaf parsley (fresh and chopped)
Fresh thyme (chopped)
Start by roasting the tomatoes and making the dressing. To do so, preheat the oven at 250 Fahrenheit.
Halve the tomatoes, then place them with the cut sides facing up in a single layer on a large but shallow baking pan.
Add the garlic and roast in the oven’s center for an hour, or until the edges of the tomatoes are slightly shriveled.
Cool the tomatoes (in the pan) on a rack for 30 minutes.
Peel the garlic, pureeing it with 1/2 cup roast tomatoes, pepper, salt, lemon juice, water and oil (in a blender) until it is very smooth.
Now you can start the couscous. Put the broth in a heavy saucepan (three quart size) and boil.
Stir in the couscous and leave the saucepan uncovered to simmer for six minutes.
Cover the pan, take it off the heat and let it stand for ten minutes.
Put the couscous in a single layer on a fresh baking sheet for fifteen minutes to cool.
Put the couscous into a bowl, adding the leftover ingredients, roasted tomatoes, dressing, salt and pepper.
You can make the dressing, couscous and roasted tomatoes a day ahead of time (separately), but bring them up to room temperature before combining.
Salmon with Toasted Israeli Couscous
Extra-virgin olive oil
Red bell pepper (finely chopped)
Unsalted pistachios (chopped coarsely)
Shallot (large and chopped)
1 ½ cups
Fresh parsley (chopped)
Fresh oregano (chopped)
Wild Alaskan salmon in fillet (skinned and in four portions)
1 ¼ pounds
Pepper (freshly ground)
Place the oil on medium heat in a large skillet (nonstick).
Add the shallot, pistachios, bell pepper, couscous and a 1/4 of salt.
Stir the mixture frequently and then cook for five minutes or until the couscous is toasted lightly.
Stir in the water, then cover to cook for five minutes, stirring occasionally.
Stir in a tablespoon of oregano and another of parsley.
Sprinkle the salmon with 1/4 teaspoon of salt and pepper.
Put the salmon on the couscous, and reduce the heat down to medium-low. Cover and then cook five to seven minutes when the salmon is thoroughly cooked and the water has been absorbed.
Garnish the dish with lemon wedges, additional oregano and parsley.