Traditional couscous doesn't do much for me, but I can definitely get down with the Israeli kind. With its cute pearl shape and slightly chewy texture, it makes a great starting point for a side dish or weekday lunch.
The versatility of Israeli couscous allows you to customize this recipe to your personal tastes. I threw in some pistachios, but you could mix in toasted almonds or pine nuts. I chose to use dried cherries and golden raisins, but dried cranberries or apricots would also be fabulous. I stuck simply to parsley as my herb, but throw in a little cilantro or mint, if you please.
The addition of cinnamon brings a touch of sweetness to the dish, while lemon zest and juice add a slight tartness. The dish is finished with a small pat of butter, which melts as the warm Israeli couscous hits the mixing bowl. Yum! I can't wait for lunch :)
Rainbow Couscous with Fruit, Nuts, and Herbs
- zest and juice of 1/2 lemon
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
- 1 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup diced dried fruit (I used dried cherries and golden raisins)
- 1/2 cup roasted and lightly salted (shelled) pistachios, very coarsely chopped
- 3/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1 1/4 cups Israeli couscous, other small pasta such as orzo, or a blend (I used what I had on hand, which was a harvest grains blend of israeli couscous, orzo, baby garbanzo beans and red quinoa)
- Freshly ground black pepper and sea salt, to taste
In a medium-sized mixing bowl, combine the lemon zest, parsley, dried fruit, pistachios, cinnamon, and butter.
Bring a pot of salted water to a boil over high heat (read the instructions on your couscous/orzo to see how much you need). Add the couscous and cook according to package instructions (mine cooked at a simmer in a lidded pot for about 10 minutes). Add the cooked couscous to the bowl, stirring until the butter is melted and all the ingredients are mixed. Add a squeeze of lemon juice (or more, to your liking), and season generously with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Recipe adapted from seven spoons