Perfect Israeli Couscous

Bowl of couscous salad
Dennis Lane Photography / Getty Images
  • Total: 30 mins
  • Prep: 10 mins
  • Cook: 20 mins
  • Servings: 4 to 6 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
332 Calories
8g Fat
54g Carbs
12g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4 to 6
Amount per serving
Calories 332
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 8g 10%
Saturated Fat 1g 6%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 690mg 30%
Total Carbohydrate 54g 19%
Dietary Fiber 5g 17%
Protein 12g
Calcium 80mg 6%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Israeli couscous is a delightfully soft, satisfying, healthy pasta grain that is a delicious substitute for your typical pasta and rice. Some cooks boil it and then strain it like pasta, others simmer it in water as one would rice or small couscous. This recipe involves lightly toasting the couscous, which adds flavor and keeps the texture from being mushy, before simmering it until all of the liquid is absorbed.

Feel free to substitute the mushrooms with another vegetable of your choice—sauteed or steamed broccoli or spinach have are wonderful additions to Israeli couscous dishes, as is a sprinkle of nutritional yeast. Add tofu—seared, steamed, baked, or fried—to keep this meal vegan, or add grilled fish, chicken, or another healthy protein to add a little bit of heartiness.

Note: This recipe as written is suitable for dairy-free and vegan diets, but as with any recipe intended for persons with dietary restrictions or allergies, make sure to read the ingredients labels on all ingredients to make sure that there are no hidden dairy-derived ingredients or other allergens that apply to you.

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil (divided)
  • 2 cups Israeli couscous
  • 4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 2 large cloves garlic
  • 1 pound crimini mushrooms, halved
  • 3 tablespoons white wine
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt (plus more to taste)
  • Black pepper (to taste)

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Prepare the couscous. In a medium-sized saucepan over medium-high heat, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil. Add the couscous and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 3 to 4 minutes or until fragrant and lightly toasted.

  3. Add the vegetable broth, bring the mixture to a boil, and then turn down the heat and simmer for 10 to 12 minutes or until the liquid is absorbed and the couscous is tender. Set aside.

  4. While the couscous simmers, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the garlic, mushrooms, and white wine and cook, stirring often, for about 5 minutes.

  5. Add the dried thyme, fresh parsley, and salt, stirring to combine, and cook for about 3 to 4 minutes more, or until most of the moisture from the mushrooms has evaporated.

  6. Add the cooked Israeli couscous to the mushroom mixture, tossing well to combine. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Recipe Variations

  • If you're not a vegetarian, feel free to use chicken broth instead. Water will also work, but it'll have decidedly less flavor.
  • If you don't have white wine, swap it for broth or water.
  • Add some diced onion and cook along with the mushrooms and garlic.
  • Switch up the herbs for a slightly different flavor.