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Your New Favorite Side Dish: Toasted Israeli Couscous (Recipe)

Your New Favorite Side Dish: Toasted Israeli Couscous

My step-mom recently introduced me to Israeli couscous and now I am obsessed. If you've never heard of this type of grain, it is a type of pasta that originated in 1953 in Israel. Also known as "ptitum", it was created during a "regime of austerity" in which food was rationed and resources were limited as the country began to establish itself after its formation in 1948.


Israeli couscous has a unique flavor, almost nutty. Toasting the grain before cooking it in liquid enhances this flavor, giving it a nice aroma. You can find Israeli couscous at your local grocery store. It tends to be a little more expensive than similar products, but if you buy it online you may be able to save some money.

How to Prepare Toasted Israeli Couscous:


2 tbsp of olive oil (regular or flavored)

2 cups of Israeli couscous

2 1/4 cups of chicken broth (or water, vegetable broth)


1. In a saucepan or pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat.

2. Add the 2 cups of Israeli couscous and toast for approximately 6-8 minutes, while frequently stirring, until they have acquired a light-medium brown color.

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3. Add the chicken broth (or the liquid of your choosing) to the pot and bring the contents to a boil.

4. After a boil has been reached, reduce to a simmer and cover the pot with a lid.

5. Cook until the couscous is soft and all of the liquid has disappeared, approximately 9 minutes.

Adding Flavor

The recipe above is intended to be a basic guideline to be followed when preparing Israeli couscous. As a side dish, I love to add sauteed mushrooms and onions to this. I recently prepared this as a main dish by tossing sauteed shrimp, sausage, onions, and peppers over the top as an almost "deconstructed" jambalaya. It was delicious! I imagine topping it with seared scallops would be tasty too.

In the picture below, I have topped fresh arugula with Israeli couscous, goat cheese, and salt and pepper.


Although I've never made it, Claire Robinson from 5 Ingredient Fix on the Food Network has a side dish recipe where she toasts the couscous in lemon olive oil and tosses it with apricots, pistachios, and scallions. Bobby Flay also has a highly rated recipe that includes roasted summer vegetables, zucchini, peppers, and asparagus, over Israeli couscous (see link below.) One of the reviews suggested adding mozzarella to the recipe to transform it into a caprese salad. Both recipes look excellent in my opinion.

Bobby Flay's Toasted Israeli Couscous

Share your thoughts

Please comment below with your own Israeli couscous creations. I love to collaborate with others and gather new ideas and different ways to prepare this awesome, underrated grain. Or if you have your own Israeli couscous recipe, please share the recipe (or the link to it) below.


Sarah from Europe on August 17, 2018:

Me again - I love giant couscous so definitely need to add your recipe suggestions to Pinterest for future reference! :)

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