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Couscous recipe

Couscous recipe

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This recipe will show you how to make plain couscous. It's easy, simple and incredibly quick to make. It makes a great alternative to plain rice, pasta or potatoes.

34 people made this

IngredientsServes: 4

  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 300g couscous
  • 500ml water

MethodPrep:5min ›Cook:5min ›Ready in:10min

  1. Heat the water, salt and olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Bring to the boil. Remove from heat and sprinkle in the couscous. Stir well and cover. Set aside for 5 minutes until the couscous has completely absorbed the water. Fluff with a fork. Serve hot.


For presentational purposes, press the couscous into coffee cups and turn out onto a plate.

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Reviews & ratingsAverage global rating:(5)

Recipe Summary

  • 2 cups dry couscous
  • ½ cup chopped green onions
  • 1 fresh jalapeno pepper, finely diced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper
  • 1 pinch ground black pepper
  • 2 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 bunch asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1/4-inch pieces
  • 1 cup shelled fresh or thawed frozen peas
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Combine couscous, green onion, jalapeno, olive oil, cumin, cayenne pepper, and black pepper in a large bowl stir until olive oil is completely incorporated.

Bring vegetable stock, asparagus, and peas to a boil in a saucepan over high heat.

Pour stock, asparagus, and peas over couscous mixture shake bowl to settle couscous into liquid. Cover and let stand for 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork, then stir in mint and season with salt and pepper to taste.

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Couscous often gets forgotten about and honestly, I don't know why. It's much easier to make than most grains or pastas and you can take the flavor profile with it anywhere. A simple drizzle of olive oil and lemon juice is our favorite way to serve it, but the possibilities are endless.

How do I cook couscous?

Couscous is amazingly easy to cook. For every cup of dry couscous, simply bring 1 1/2 cups of water or broth to a boil, then turn off heat, add your couscous, cover, and let sit 10 minutes. Easy peasy.

How should I serve couscous?

The best part about couscous is how versatile it is. It can be used in place of any pasta or grain. Replace the chickpeas or add it into this Chickpea Mediterranean Salad or serve it with Chicken Curry!

Guest post from Skinnytaste dietitian Heather K. Jones, is a healthy dish that the whole family will love!

Hello, I’m excited to guest post here on Skinnytaste again (thank you, Gina!), and I’m also excited to invite you to my FREE 31-day Master the Weight Loss Mindset Challenge starting January 1st. If you struggle with weight anxiety, emotional eating, or body image issues of any sort, this free challenge is definitely for you. Click HERE to sign up!

During my college years at the University of Maryland, my sister Cyndi and I waited tables at a restaurant in Bethesda, Maryland, called Houston’s. Everything they served was seriously addictive, but this couscous recipe is the one dish that Cyndi and I still make at home … over 20 years later!

It’s so tasty, made with lots of fresh herbs, lemon, radishes, raisins and almonds. You can serve it with just about everything from fish, chicken, beef, lamb, or pork, or you can serve a larger portion and keep it as a light, vegetarian main dish by swapping the chicken broth for vegetable broth.

Is this a salad or side dish? Sort of both! Houston’s served it as a side dish, but I eat it as a salad for leftover sometimes. It’s room temperature when you make it, bur leftovers can be eaten cold. This will keep for several days, so it’s also great to make ahead for a few days (will it keep) Yes, it keeps for sure! It is good warm and cold.

What is couscous?

Couscous is a pasta, not a grain, despite popular belief.

It has a rice-like appearance but is actually made of semolina and wheat flour that is steamed. It’s prepared in a matter of minutes unlike pearl couscous which is larger in size. Whole wheat couscous is more nutritious than the regular variety. Lundberg also makes a brown rice gluten free couscous.

It is widely available, you can find couscous in the pasta section, rice section, or often the “international foods” area of your grocery store.

For a low-carb alternative, you can use raw cauliflower in place of couscous. To do so, place cauliflower florets in a food processor and pulse a few times. Mix with the remaining ingredients and serve.

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Large pearl couscous, also called Israeli couscous, adds dimension to this simple, healthy Mediterranean salad of fresh and sun-dried tomatoes, green beans, and olives.

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Step 1

Heat oil in medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add garlic and turmeric stir 1 minute. Add 1 2/3 cups water, lemon peel, and 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt bring to boil. Remove pan from heat. Stir in couscous. Cover let stand until liquid is absorbed, about 5 minutes. Fluff with fork mix in cilantro and lemon juice. Season with pepper and additional coarse salt, if desired.

How would you rate Couscous with Fresh Cilantro and Lemon Juice?

Excellent, simple dish. But be ready with the water after you put in the garlic and tumeric, or it will burn very quickly! (Or consider heating the oil at medium instead of medium-high, then increasing the heat after adding the water.)

Recipes you want to make. Cooking advice that works. Restaurant recommendations you trust.

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11 Couscous Side Dishes for the Ultimate Fall Meal

Couscous is one of the fastest and easiest ways to make a meal complete. A North African staple, couscous is actually made from semolina, a type of wheat, and comes in a variety of forms. You can choose from instant (pour boiling water in and let sit for five minutes – voila!) and the more traditional non-instant that requires more cooking time. Israeli couscous, also known as pearl couscous, is a toasted pearl-shaped nutty tasting gem also made from semolina. No matter what type you choose, if you make any of these 11 types of couscous side dishes for fall, you won’t be disappointed.

1. Israeli Couscous with Saffron, Pine Nuts, and Currants

This is a great make-ahead recipe that has crunch from the pine nuts and a hint of sweetness from the currants (or substitute raisins, if you can’t find them at the store). Saffron adds both flavor and a terrific red hue. Get the recipe here.

2. Israeli Couscous with Apples, Feta, and Mint

Fresh mint, lemon juice, and creamy feta make for a fresh side dish that you can serve for lunch or dinner. Substitute pears instead of apples depending on the season and make extra to serve the next day this recipe makes for great leftovers. Get the recipe here.

3. Sweet and Savory Moroccan Couscous

Moroccan couscous with prunes, raisins, almonds, chickpeas, and seasoned with turmeric, black pepper, cumin, sweet paprika, and salt is a delicious combination that pairs well with grilled meat.
Get the recipe here.

4. Browned Butternut Squash Couscous

Our recipe for butternut squash couscous is a great way to get some vegetables into your meal and add a little color. Almonds, scallions, and cumin add flavor to the whole-wheat couscous, but you can use any type of couscous you have on hand. Get our Browned Butternut Squash Couscous recipe.

5. Couscous Stuffed Mushrooms

If you’re looking for a wholesome vegetarian side dish, look no further. Use Portobello mushrooms and stuff them with a mixture of couscous (any kind you have on hand), raisins, cinnamon, onion, pine nuts, parsley, and some salt and pepper. Get the recipe here.

6. Israeli Couscous with Roasted Cherry Tomatoes, Parmesan, and Lemon Vinaigrette

Chowhound’s recipe for Israeli couscous is packed with fresh parmesan, roasted cherry tomatoes, and a lemon vinaigrette made with olive oil and any combination of fresh herbs that you have. Get our Israeli Couscous with Roasted Cherry Tomatoes, Parmesan, and Lemon Vinaigrette recipe.

7. Roasted Winter Vegetable Couscous

This is a dish that takes very little effort for a nutritious and filling side dish that has endless variations. Roast some winter vegetables (squash, turnips, sweet potatoes, etc) and flavor with dried herbs. Use whole-wheat couscous to keep it as healthy and protein-packed as possible. Get the recipe here.

8. Cilantro Almond Couscous

A wonderfully simple combination, this couscous pairs beautifully with grilled lamb, fish, or any type of meat. The Middle Eastern flavors are subtle but add some pizzazz to plain old couscous. Get our Cilantro Almond Couscous recipe.

9. Couscous with Kalamata Olives

This Greek take on couscous is a great pairing for roasted lamb or served with a salad. Grape tomatoes, red onions, parsley, feta, garlic, and whole wheat couscous make for a healthy and filling side dish.

10. Mediterranean Couscous Salad

A hummus dressing made from olive oil, white wine vinegar, salt, pepper, and hummus mades for an interesitng addition to this couscous salad. Mix in roasted, salted pistachios, scallions, feta, and red bell pepper for a complete Mediterranean inspired feast. Get our Mediterranean Couscous Salad recipe.

11. Couscous Cakes

These are an easy way to make a side dish that’s a little more interesting than just a pile of grains. Make a couscous cake (similar to a veggie burger) and change up the flavorings, spices, and add-ins. Get the recipe here.

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I love this recipe. Most recently I served it with a recipe for Moroccan chicken and carrots. (seasonings: cumin, coriander and cinnamon) Since the chicken recipe includes Marcona almonds, I don't use the almonds with the couscous. Of course, it's great with the lamb, too.

Made this with the Moroccan Lamb Kebabs and based on earlier reviews I added golden raisins, which were a nice touch. I used the quick cooking Couscous. Definitely going to make this again.

I love this recipe! The last time I made it, I added pine nuts and dried apricots. This goes particularly well with lamb. Here is a picture and my review:

Greatly enjoyed this recipe - it is more mild than other couscous recipes, but when made with the lamb kebabs it is perfect compliment to the lamb. I used quick-cook couscous and prepared the couscous with only 3 cups of broth and added more right before serving because couscous had absorbed most of the liquid. Followed others suggestions and added raisins and dried apricots - love them! Definitely make this again.

I used equal parts couscous and broth add the golden raisins as they are a wonderful touch.

Have made several times. some with great results, and some with near disaster. Apparently couscous comes in different varieties of cook time. I like the whole wheat organic, and ended up with soup. So, now I prepare couscous plain, however the box, bag etc tells me to- quick cook, slow cook, wheat, organic whatever- with broth, no butter. I reduce the broth by a bit from however the label tells me to. In a separate pan, I saute the onions and spices in this recipe and a few tablespoons of broth. I also add chopped dates and the raisins. When the couscous is done, I add the perfectly textured couscous- no soup- to the seasoned paste and toss. Perfect every time.

This is great couscous. Next time around I will try with the Golden Raisins as other reviewers suggested. I'm guessing this will give a bit more complexity to this dish. 3- days worth of leftovers after feeding 5!

Absolutely delicious! As other reviewers noted, adding golden raisins makes this dish.

Apart from halving the recipe, I followed it exactly. I wish Iɽ paid more attention to the broth/pasta ratio because when I lifted the pot lid at the end of the 12 minute rest period, I encountered a soupy mess. I was able to salvage it by cooking off the excess, but the end result was more reminiscent of rice-a-roni than couscous. And meanwhile my nice grilled lamb and veg, which had been timed to coincide with the couscous, were steamed in their own juices in a warm oven.

I found this a little bland. I much preferred the Couscous timbales with pistachios, scallions, and currents (Gourmet July ➑) as an accompaniement.

delicious! i halved the recipe (and used less butter), and added golden raisins. the flavors go so well together - and is even better with very fresh spices. Served with Tagine Bil Kok from this site.

I cut everything in half, but otherwise made it exactly as written, with the addition of an equal amount of currents along with the almonds. It is an excellent side dish and makes a lot. My husband loved it, even going so far as saying "this recipe is a keeper". I served it with grilled lamb chops and later with chicken with lemon sauce.

Maybe i did something wrong, but i didn't much care for the flavor of this. Plus, the couscous was overcooked.

I just made this recipe with the ➯rican Adobo Rubbed Tuna Steaks' from this sight and it was to die for! This couscous is so easy, and the flavors are fantastic. I added some crumbled mild feta, which was added some nice flavour without overwhelming the dish. Will make again!

My new utility player of side dishes. I can't think of anything you couldn't serve it with. Maybe 3-4 mintutes of extra work than a box but tons better. Tuscany Hills, I can't think of what may have happened. I also used organic from a local natural foods store, not quick cook. Followed the recipe to the letter and it was perfect. Maybe altitude is the only thing I can think of? We're about 6,800 feet so I'm used to adjusting for it. Don't know what to tell you? We loved it.

This is wonderful couscous and a great alternative to rice! I caramelized the onions and it added a superb flavour. Enjoy!

This dish is so easy to make and works wonderfully as a side to moussaka. Everyone in my family loves it!

Wow - this is almost as easy as those pre-packaged boxes of couscous and tasts so much better!

This recipe was great! I made it for a crowd and got rave reviews. I used smokehouse almonds in it instead of almonds on top. It just needed a little "fluffing up" and it was perfect.

I'm not going to rate this recipe because I'm not sure if I did something wrong. I cook constantly so I know I followed the recipe. The only thing I did was half it. The coucous turned out like soup. I used heath food store cousous and I wonder if it needs longer time to cook. Apparently there's quick-cooking.

Tasty and easy to make. Goes really well with just about every kind of lamb. I added golden raisins to the broth to plump up just before pouring it into the couscous mixture. Delicious!

I couldn't find a recipe for Israeli couscous, so I adapted this one which worked well. You need to simmer Israeli couscous for 10-15 minutes after the broth is added. Excellent with lamb, turkey, or grilled chicken.

Delicious alongside Lamb Chops with Cumin and Lime. Only made 1/3 of recipe, as there were only 2 of us for dinner, and still had quite a bit leftover. Yum!

Goes really nicely with the Morrocan Lamb - highly recommend the combination.