Love and Olive Oil

Israeli Couscous with Roasted Eggplant and Cinnamon-Cumin Dressing

Israeli Couscous with Roasted Eggplant and Cinnamon-Cumin Dressing

For what it’s worth, we’re not vegans. Not even vegetarians. But that doesn’t mean we eat meat or animal products every meal. Nor does that mean we don’t enjoy a good, flavorful vegan dish just as much as any steak. In fact, I’d argue that this dish, with it’s rich ethnic flavors and hints of savory sweetness, would win even if pitted against the meatiest of meals.

Israeli couscous, or Pearl couscous, for those who may not be familiar with it, is like couscous on steroids. I’d say it more closely resembles a round-ish orzo than couscous in both flavor and texture; so if you can’t find it, orzo would be a better substitution. We always choose Israeli couscous over regular couscous, as Taylor has never been a fan of the typically dry texture of your standard couscous. For even more flavor, toast it first in a splash of olive oil and a dash of cinnamon and cumin, then add the liquid and cook as directed.

Israeli Couscous with Roasted Eggplant and Cinnamon-Cumin Dressing

Makes 6 servings. Recipe from Bon Appetit.

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Nonstick vegetable oil spray
2 3/4-pound unpeeled eggplants, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (8 to 9 cups)
5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 cup Israeli couscous
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
1/3 cup golden raisins
1/3 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro


Preheat oven to 450°F. Coat rimmed baking sheet with nonstick spray. Place eggplant cubes on sheet; drizzle with 3 tablespoons oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper; toss to coat. Roast until tender, turning occasionally, about 40 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook couscous in boiling salted water until just tender, about 8 minutes. Drain. Rinse under cold water until cool; drain again. Place in large bowl.

Toast cumin seeds in small skillet over medium-high heat until slightly darkened, about 4 minutes. Grind seeds in spice mill; place in small bowl. Add vinegar, cinnamon, and 2 tablespoons oil. Whisk to blend; season with salt and pepper. Mix in onion.

Add raisins, cilantro, eggplant cubes, and dressing to couscous. Toss to coat.

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  1. I was so excited to try this recipe as I LOVE eggplant and needed a new way to incorporate it into my recipes. Since I am a vegetarian I actually added in roasted Cajon chickpeas. It was amazing! Thank you!

  2. wow, it looks delicious. Love the idea of using cinammon and cumin while cooking the couscous. A must try recipe

  3. made it, ate it all, loved it. definitely a keeper. thanks!


  4. we’re making this tonight to go with spicy venison kefta. very much looking forward to the interesting flavor profile!



  5. Hooray for vegan entrées! Okay, fine, I’ll try eggplant again to make this… it’s probably the only vegetable food that I don’t care for. But Israeli couscous and rich spices? Yes, please!
    Nice work, L &T!

  6. This dressing sounds amazing! I llove the warmth of the spices here. Yum!

  7. I’m the same way!! Definitely not a vegan/veggie, but I still eat vegetarian meals quite often. This looks awesome. I keep wanting to cook with eggplant more often… And I love the idea of cinnamon-cumin dressing!

  8. Yum! This looks delicious! Perfect recipe for the unused box of Israeli couscous in my cabinet.

  9. We’re hosting vegetarian friends for dinner this week, and this dish sounds perfect! Thanks.

  10. Sounds yummy! I have some Israeli couscous just waiting for a little inspiration!

  11. I love the sound of everything about that dish!

  12. Love the tip about toasting the couscous with the spices!

  13. Oh the coincidence! I just made this with some zucchini fritters and it was fantastic!

  14. This dish looks right up my alley!

  15. This looks delicious! Simple but delicious, which is how I like to eat in the summer. I think I’m going to roast my eggplant on the grill so I don’t have to heat up the house with the oven :)

  16. Yum! That sounds delicious, and I love the Moroccan-like flavors. I still haven’t tried Israeli couscous, but if we get more eggplants in our CSA this week, I might have to make this!

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