Discover how easy it is to prepare this Toasted Pearl Couscous with Almonds and Raisins recipe. This is a quick solution for a healthy and flavorful vegetarian side dish that is suitable for vegetarians and not only.
- What is pearl couscous?
- Why do I like cooking with Israeli couscous:
- Pearl couscous versus Moroccan couscous:
- Recipe Ingredients:
- How to cook pearl couscous with almonds and raisins:
- Expert tip:
- How to store this easy pearl couscous recipe:
- Recipe Faqs:
- More recipes to love:
- More side-dish recipes:
- 📖 Recipe
- 💬 Comments
What is pearl couscous?
Pearl couscous, also known as Israeli couscous, ptitim, Jerusalem couscous, or giant couscous, is a type of pasta developed in Israel in the 1950s.
It's crafted from semolina or wheat flour and water and is toasted, resulting in a nutty flavor and a satisfying, chewy texture closer to al dente pasta.
This couscous is larger than the more traditional varieties, allowing it to better absorb flavors, which makes it a versatile choice in various dishes worldwide.
Differing significantly from Moroccan couscous, which consists of much smaller grains, pearl couscous offers a chewier texture and a stronger ability to absorb the flavors of the dish it accompanies.
Its larger grains give it a presence in dishes that Moroccan couscous can't quite match, bringing a distinctive and hearty element to your meals.
Why do I like cooking with Israeli couscous:
- Quick to cook: Pearl couscous can be ready in just a few minutes, saving you time in the kitchen.
- Satisfying and delicious: Its larger grains are more filling compared to regular couscous, offering a hearty and delightful experience.
- Unique texture: Imagine a cross between barley and pasta; it's both chewy and soft, providing a playful pop in your mouth as you chew.
- Deep flavor profile: Thanks to a light toasting process before packaging, it boasts a deeper, earthier flavor that leans more towards a grain than a typical pasta.
- Versatile in recipes: Use it as a side dish, make a salad, or as a fantastic bed for grilled meat or fish.
With its rich history and unique characteristics, pearl couscous takes the center stage in our recipe today. I promise you will not only have a flavorful experience but also a delightful texture that adds a hearty element to a cozy meal.
Serve it with your favorite meats, use it as a hearty side dish, or make it the star of a vegetarian meal. This easy-to-make pearl couscous recipe brings a touch of international flavor to your dining table.
Pearl couscous versus Moroccan couscous:
Pearl couscous requires a longer cooking time, around 12-14 minutes, and is boiled in water or broth, much like pasta. It benefits from being stirred occasionally to prevent clumping. The result is a chewy and somewhat al dente texture, which holds up well in a variety of dishes, including salads and pilafs.
Moroccan Couscous cooks faster. In many quick recipes, it is simply rehydrated in hot water or broth for 5-10 minutes. The final product is much lighter and fluffier compared to the pearl variety.
- Pearl Couscous: The star of our dish, bringing a chewy and satisfying texture to the table. You can definitely replace it with regular couscous or other grains, like faro or barley. Quinoa or orzo make great replacements as well.
- Almonds: They add a crunchy contrast to the couscous; I used sliced almonds, but feel free to use pine nuts instead, based on your preference.
- Cinnamon Stick and Bay Leaf: These spices infuse the dish with a depth of flavor, creating a rich and aromatic base.
- Raisins: Introducing a note of sweetness, these perfectly balance the savory elements of the dish. You can replace them with cranberries for a more festive look.
- Parsley: Fresh parsley not only adds color but also a burst of freshness in every bite.
- Lemon Zest: For a touch of zesty brightness that elevates the flavors.
- Butter: Used to sauté the ingredients, it adds a rich and buttery note to the dish.
- Onion: Bringing a subtle sweetness and texture that complements the other ingredients wonderfully.
How to cook pearl couscous with almonds and raisins:
This is a short summary of the instructions. Please refer to the recipe card at the bottom of the article to see the detailed recipe.
- Step 1: Toast the nuts in butter, then set aside.
- Step 2: Sauté the onions in the same pan until golden.
- Step 3: Add couscous, cinnamon stick, and bay leaf; toast slightly.
- Step 4: Add water and salt; simmer until couscous is tender and liquid absorbed.
- Step 5: Stir in nuts, parsley, lemon zest, and raisins; mix well before serving.
Feel free to swap out the water with a vegetable or chicken broth to add more depth of flavor to the couscous.
How to store this easy pearl couscous recipe:
Once the pearl couscous has cooled to room temperature, transfer it to an airtight container. It will keep well in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days.
When you're ready to enjoy it again, you can reheat it in the microwave in intervals of 30 seconds, stirring in between to ensure even heating. Alternatively, reheat it on the stove over medium heat, adding a little water or broth to prevent it from drying out.
While it's best enjoyed fresh, you can also freeze the cooked pearl couscous. Place it in a freezer-safe container, leaving some space for expansion, and freeze for up to one month. Thaw it in the refrigerator overnight before reheating.
While almonds add a nice crunch and flavor, feel free to substitute them with other nuts like walnuts, pine nuts, or pecans depending on your preference or what you have on hand.
Yes, this recipe is naturally vegetarian and can easily be made vegan. Simply replace the butter with a vegan alternative such as olive oil or vegan butter.
If raisins aren't your favorite, you can replace them with other dried fruits like dried cranberries, chopped apricots, or dried cherries to add a sweet and tart element to the dish.
No, this pearl couscous recipe is not gluten free. Pearl couscous is made from wheat, so it contains gluten. Quinoa, short grain rice, buckwheat or rice cauliflower are good alternatives to the couscous. You might even find a gluten free version of pearl couscous.
Enjoy, and let me know what you think!
More side-dish recipes:
Pearl Couscous With Almonds And Raisins
- 3 tablespoons butter divided
- ½ cup sliced almonds or pine nuts
- ½ cup onion finely chopped
- 1½ cups pearl couscous
- ½ large cinnamon stick
- 1 fresh or dried bay leaf
- 1¾ cups water
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ cup parsley minced
- zest of ½ lemon
- ¼ cup raisins
- Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a large saucepan over medium-low heat.
- Add almonds or pine nuts and stir until golden brown. Then transfer to a small bowl.
- Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter in the same pan over medium heat.
- Add onion and sauté until golden.
- Then add the couscous, the cinnamon stick, bay leaf, and often stir until couscous is lightly brown.
- Pour the water, add the salt, and bring to a boil.
- Reduce to low heat, cover, and simmer until the liquid is absorbed and the couscous is tender, about 12-14 minutes.
- Remove from heat and stir in the parsley, almonds, lemon zest, and raisins.
- Vegan option: Replace butter with olive oil or vegan butter.
- Nut-free: Omit almonds or replace them with pine nuts or other nuts you like.
- Add protein: Stir in cooked chickpeas or shredded chicken.
- Herbs: Garnish with fresh parsley or mint for a refreshing note.
- Citrus: Finish with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice for brightness.
- Dried fruits: Swap raisins for dried cherries or cranberries for a tart twist.
- Cooking tip: Ensure couscous is al dente to retain a slightly chewy texture.