Israeli Couscous Pilaf

Adapted from How to Cook Everything

My kids love traditional couscous but the clean up can be a nightmare. I love the texture of Israeli couscous, which is also sometimes called pearl couscous, and the clean up is a bit easier, too. If your kids are green averse, try serving them this dish without the spinach to see if they’ll give it a try.

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large shallot, chopped
  • 1 cup Israeli couscous
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1-1/4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/3 cup raisins
  • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons hot water
  • 1 cup cooked chopped spinach, squeezed dry
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts
  • In a medium saucepan, heat olive oil over medium high heat. Add the shallot and the couscous and cook until browned and fragrant, about 5 minutes, stirring frequently. If you find that the mixture is browning too quickly, turn the heat down to medium. Add the garlic and cook another 2 minutes. Stir in the broth, salt and pepper, then bring to a boil. Turn heat down to low, cover and cook until the liquid is absorbed and the couscous is al dente, about 10 minutes.
  • While the couscous is cooking, put the raisins in a small bowl, then add the cider vinegar and hot water. Allow to stand for 5 minutes, then drain.
  • When couscous is al dente, remove from heat, then add the raisins, spinach and pine nuts. Taste seasonings and adjust if necessary. Serve hot or room temperature.
  • Quick Tips
  • 1. This can be a very quick recipe if you use a 10 oz. package of frozen chopped spinach. Just cook according to package instructions, then drain and squeeze dry. Toss the whole thing into the couscous. You can also use pre-washed bagged spinach. Wilt it in a skillet with a few teaspoons of olive oil. Remove from heat, squeeze dry, roughly chop then throw it in. The longer way is to use a bunch of spinach that needs to be washed, dried, de-stemmed THEN wilted, dried and chopped. I only did it this way because a) I had a bunch of spinach that needed to be used and b) I made this recipe on a Sunday when I had the time to spare. This can easily be a mid-week recipe if you use frozen or pre-washed spinach.
  • 2. The versatility of this recipe should be noted. If you’d like to make it a one pot meal, add some cooked shrimp or cooked, diced chicken. You can also consider adding a different combination of vegetables. The original recipe calls for dried tomatoes and olives, but why stop there? You can also consider feta cheese, walnuts, kale or whatever you want, really.

Preparation time: 10 minute(s)

Cooking time: 25 minute(s)

Number of servings (yield): 4

2 responses to “Israeli Couscous Pilaf”

  1. Sandra Jerez says:

    Yum!! I used kale instead and it was outstanding. Love all your recipes, Alicia! You’ve replaced Epicurious as my go-to recipe site!

    • Alicia says:

      Wow, Sandra! That’s quite a nice compliment. I am so happy your family enjoyed this and that you were able to make a seasonally-appropriate adaptation.

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