Israeli Couscous Risotto With Parmesan Recipe

Israeli couscous risotto with spinach recipe

The Spruce / Anastasiia Tretiak

Prep: 5 mins
Cook: 20 mins
Total: 25 mins
Servings: 3 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
240 Calories
12g Fat
22g Carbs
9g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 3
Amount per serving
Calories 240
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 12g 16%
Saturated Fat 3g 14%
Cholesterol 7mg 2%
Sodium 824mg 36%
Total Carbohydrate 22g 8%
Dietary Fiber 3g 12%
Total Sugars 2g
Protein 9g
Vitamin C 33mg 164%
Calcium 195mg 15%
Iron 4mg 22%
Potassium 726mg 15%
*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.)

Yes, you can make a perfectly cheesy, creamy and decadent vegetarian risotto by using whole grain Israeli couscous instead of rice. In fact, if you're someone who likes the chewiness of brown rice over white, or similarly, if you really like the texture of chewy grains like barley, you might even prefer using Israeli couscous in your risottos instead of the traditional arborio rice or risotto rice. The starch in the Israeli couscous doesn't break down quite the same way as the starch in the rice of a traditional Italian risotto, so the texture is indeed a bit different, but we think you'll find the finished dish to be incredibly satisfying and tasty nonetheless.

In this version of a couscous risotto, we've paired traditional risotto ingredients, such as white wine, vegetable broth, and fresh grated Parmesan cheese, with Israeli couscous instead of rice and added fresh spinach, just because we always like getting our greens in, and this creamy risotto recipe is an excellent way to sneak some in. The spinach softly wilts and blends in perfectly with the risotto texture. 


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, butter, or margarine

  • 1/2 small yellow onion, or 2 to 3 shallots, coarsely chopped

  • 1 cup Israeli couscous (also called pearl couscous)

  • 1 3/4 cups vegetable broth

  • 1/4 cup dry white wine

  • 1 bunch fresh spinach

  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, more for garnish

  • Salt, to taste

  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for Israeli couscous risotto with spinach
    The Spruce / Anastasiia Tretiak
  2. First, heat the chopped onions in olive oil, butter or margarine stovetop in a large skillet. Allow the onions to cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 to 7 minutes until they are softened.

    The Spruce / Anastasiia Tretiak
  3. Next, add the Israeli couscous to the skillet, and toast the grains, stirring, for just a minute or two, until they are lightly browned.

    Next add couscous
    The Spruce / Anastasiia Tretiak
  4. Once your Israeli couscous is lightly toasted, add about half of the vegetable broth and bring to a simmer. Allow to cook for about two to three minutes, stirring occasionally, then add in the other half of the vegetable broth. Allow to cook, stirring, for an additional 2 to 3 minutes.

    Add vegetable broth
    The Spruce / Anastasiia Tretiak
  5. Finally, add in the dry white wine, stirring to combine. Heat, stirring, for another 3 to 5 minutes, then add in the fresh spinach.

    Add spinach
    The Spruce / Anastasiia Tretiak
  6. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and allow to heat until spinach has wilted about 2 minutes, then turn off the heat and stir in the Parmesan cheese and season generously with sea salt or kosher salt and a bit of black pepper, to taste.

    Reduce heat
    The Spruce / Anastasiia Tretiak
  7. As soon as Parmesan cheese has melted, plate and serve immediately. Garnish individual servings with a bit of extra Parmesan cheese, if you'd like.

    Israeli couscous risotto
    The Spruce / Anastasiia Tretiak