Perfect Israeli Couscous

Perfect Israeli couscous with mushrooms in a green bowl

The Spruce Eats / Eric Kleinberg

Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 20 mins
Total: 30 mins
Servings: 4 to 6 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
167 Calories
7g Fat
20g Carbs
5g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4 to 6
Amount per serving
Calories 167
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 7g 9%
Saturated Fat 1g 5%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 284mg 12%
Total Carbohydrate 20g 7%
Dietary Fiber 2g 6%
Total Sugars 3g
Protein 5g
Vitamin C 6mg 30%
Calcium 37mg 3%
Iron 1mg 8%
Potassium 461mg 10%
*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 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 smaller couscous. Either way will work. This recipe involves lightly toasting the couscous first, which adds flavor and keeps the texture from being mushy, before simmering it until all of the liquid is absorbed. It also accentuates the nutty flavor, as Israeli couscous is made from semolina and wheat flour.

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 that you've seared, steamed, baked, or fried to keep this meal vegan. Or try grilled fish, chicken, or another healthy protein to add a little bit of heartiness.

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

"A great vegetarian/vegan recipe. It comes together very quickly and it's perfect for a weeknight’s dinner. Also, if you are not vegetarian I totally recommend making some chicken. It tastes great with the couscous. I added a splash of fresh lemon juice and loved the zing that it gave to the recipe." —Tara Omidvar

Israeli couscous with mushrooms on a white plate with a fork
A Note From Our Recipe Tester


  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided

  • 2 cups Israeli couscous

  • 4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth

  • 2 large cloves garlic, minced

  • 1 pound cremini mushrooms, halved

  • 3 tablespoons white wine

  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme

  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley

  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt, more to taste

  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for perfect Israeli couscous gathered

    The Spruce / Eric Kleinberg

  2. In a medium 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.

    Couscous in a pot with olive oil and a wooden spoon

    The Spruce Eats / Eric Kleinberg

  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.

    Couscous and vegetable broth simmering in a pot

    The Spruce Eats / Eric Kleinberg

  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.

    Garlic, mushrooms, and white wine in a saute pan

    The Spruce Eats / Eric Kleinberg

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

    Mushrooms with dried thyme, fresh parsley, and salt in a pan

    The Spruce Eats / Eric Kleinberg

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

    Couscous, mushrooms and thyme in a saute pan with a wooden spoon

    The Spruce Eats / Eric Kleinberg


  • 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; fresh rosemary is nice with dried thyme instead of parsley, for example.