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Israeli Couscous with Olives and Roasted Tomatoes

Israeli Couscous with Olives and Roasted Tomatoes

Israeli (aka Pearl) Couscous is something I haven’t tried before. I’ve seen it used in recipes and heard about it, but have never actually eaten it. So when we saw a box of it for sale at Trader Joe’s, I snapped it up, and began searching for recipes in which to use my unique find.

This recipe is a keeper. It reminds me a lot of the Mediterranean Orzo and Chicken Salad recipe we made this summer, both in flavor and in mouth feel. I think orzo and pearl couscous are very similar, so if you can’t find the later, orzo is a good substitute.

We added half of a rotisserie chicken for some protein, and so we could eat this as our entire dinner. It’s eaten cool or room temperature. We always like meals like that because I can get photos, Taylor can get all the dishes done, and we don’t have to worry about our food getting cold. It’d be a good summer meal, but also a good winter meal when your tired of all the hot and heavy foods.

Enjoy!

Pearl Couscous with Olives and Roasted Tomatoes

Makes 6 servings. Recipe from Epicurious.

Ingredients:

For roasted tomatoes and dressing
2 pints red grape or cherry tomatoes (1 1/2 pound)
3 large garlic cloves, left unpeeled
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup warm water
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

For couscous
2 3/4 cups chicken broth
2 1/4 cups pearl (Israeli) couscous
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup Kalamata or other brine-cured black olives, pitted and chopped
1/3 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/4 cup chopped fresh mint
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
1 roasted chicken, shredded (optional)

Directions:

Roast tomatoes and make dressing:
Preheat oven to 250°F.

Halve tomatoes through stem ends and arrange, cut sides up, in 1 layer in a large shallow (1-inch-deep) baking pan. Add garlic to pan and roast in middle of oven until tomatoes are slightly shriveled around edges, about 1 hour. Cool in pan on a rack 30 minutes.

Peel garlic and purée with oil, water, lemon juice, salt, pepper, and 1/2 cup roasted tomatoes in a blender until dressing is very smooth.

Make couscous:
Bring broth to a boil in a 3-quart heavy saucepan and stir in couscous, then simmer, uncovered, 6 minutes. Cover pan and remove from heat. Let stand 10 minutes.

Spread couscous in 1 layer on a baking sheet and cool 15 minutes.

Transfer couscous to a bowl and stir in remaining ingredients, dressing, roasted tomatoes, chicken (if using), and salt and pepper to taste.

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10 CommentsLeave a Comment →

  1. 1
    Posted On January 31, 2009 at 12:34 pm

    This is exactly what I have been looking for. I have some Israeli couscous and I have had no idea what to do with it. Now I know! Thanks!

    Reply

  2. 2
    Posted On January 31, 2009 at 9:06 pm

    Congratulations on being featured on FFF at leftoverqueen.com! I have never worked with Israeli couscous, but I am intrigued by it. I’ve recently begun playing with quinoa, but I bet my quinoa experiments could easily be adapted to the couscous. Thanks for the great ideas:)

    Reply

  3. 3
    Posted On February 1, 2009 at 11:13 am

    mmm, i love couscous!

    Reply

  4. 4
    Posted On February 1, 2009 at 4:09 pm

    I found some couscous at Target last week. I like your idea.

    Reply

  5. 5
    Posted On February 3, 2009 at 7:34 am

    Very beautiful looking couscous.

    Reply

  6. 6
    Posted On February 4, 2009 at 11:40 am

    I have the same box from TJs. I love the stuff, too, because it’s so versatile and toothsome. Have you tried the harvest blends from TJs? Good stuff.

    Reply

  7. 7
    Posted On February 8, 2009 at 4:11 pm

    I LOVE roasted tomatoes! Yum!

    Reply

  8. 8
    Adarsh
    Posted On February 10, 2009 at 2:02 am

    Loved it!

    I am a vegetarian so I made it sans chicken and a little variation: I used TJs harvest blend (Israeli couscous + baby chickpeas and other good things). I also steamed some baby broccoli, zucchini and baby bell peppers on the side, as well as baby artichokes to also dip in the incredible sauce!

    With this variation, makes a whole veggie meal! Thank you for this wonderful blog!

    Reply

  9. 9
    Adarsh
    Posted On February 10, 2009 at 2:03 am

    Loved it! I really liked how the simple step of roasting the tomatoes and garlic really adds to the meal.

    I am a vegetarian so I made it sans chicken and a little variation: I used TJs harvest blend (Israeli couscous + baby chickpeas and other good things). I also steamed some baby broccoli, zucchini and baby bell peppers on the side, as well as baby artichokes to also dip in the incredible dressing!

    With this variation, makes a whole veggie meal! Thank you for this wonderful blog!

    Reply

  10. 10
    Posted On May 22, 2009 at 9:55 pm

    Not sure what it is about Trader Joes but I love the place too. I moved out to the East Coast for college and sorely missed TJ’s. My mom used to send TJ care packages to me at the fraternity house. My friends all knew what the box in front of my door was so generally by the time I got back from classes and swim practice at the end of the day….my “friends” generally had sampled my care package. I love the Israeli couscous and am going to try this recipe!

    Reply

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