Toasted Israeli Couscous with Spring Vegetables

by Addie Kelzer

A recipe full of fresh green vegetables and the chewy goodness of Israeli Couscous?! Sign me up! I’ve been saving this recipe for years and finally tried it. I really do mean years since this page I ripped out of a Tasteforlife magazine that is dated back to May of 2012. It’s been lying dormant in my recipe binder since then and I’m glad I finally got around to trying it when I happened to have all these ingredients on hand!

The full recipe is listed below, but here are photos from my own kitchen of this recipe in progress.

The couscous gets lightly browned in some oil and salt before adding vegetable broth and saffron to simmer until all of the liquid is absorbed. Saffron isn’t part of my regular stockpile of spices because it’s quite expensive for a very small amount. However, I love the taste and wanted to stick as close as I could to the recipe the first time. I found a small, and reasonably priced, container of saffron threads at Cub Foods and now have leftovers to make another recipe. Maybe some sort of risotto?! I still dream about the saffron risotto that a restaurant I used to work at made as a side dish to some of their seafood entrees. Heavenly!

The chopped asparagus, green peas, snap peas and garlic go in the pan next to sauté lightly so that they are still crunchy. The couscous and vegetables get combined in a bowl and tossed with a lemony oil dressing with fresh garlic and then topped with freshly chopped chives.

My husband thought that the chives were overpowering so go light at first and add more as needed if chives aren’t your favorite.

While couscous isn’t a whole grain, I thought the taste of this fresh but warm grain dish that’s still half vegetables makes it a keeper. Paired with a protein, a vegetable side that’s not green or a fruit, this dish rounds out a satisfying meal!

A few other things I liked about this recipe:

  • Because the vegetables are only lightly sauteéd, they stay crisp as leftovers, not soggy.
  • Reheats well and is also good cold.
  • Baby liked this dish as well (I saved some out for her before the chives were added). I’m guessing she likes what I do about this dish: chewy grains and fresh green peas!

Here is the full recipe that’s straight out of the Tasteforlife magazine.

Toasted Israeli Couscous with Spring Vegetables

30 minutes prep time, Serves 6

  • 4 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp finely grated lemon peel
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced, divided
  • 1 1/3 c Israeli couscous
  • 1 3/4 c low-sodium vegetable broth, plus additional as needed
  • 6 to 8 saffron threads
  • 1 lb slender asparagus spears, trimmed of woody ends, cut diagonally into 3/4-inch pieces
  • 8 oz sugar snap peas, trimmed, cut diagonally into 1/2 inch pieces
  •  1 c shelled fresh green pease or frozen, thawed
  • 1/3 c chopped fresh chives
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  1. Whisk 2 tablespoons of the oil, the lemon juice, the lemon peel, and 1/2 of the minced garlic in a small bowl. Set dressing aside.
  2. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a heavy medium saucepan over medium heat. Add couscous, sprinkle with salt, and sauté until most of couscous is golden brown, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add broth and saffron threads, increase heat, and bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium low, cover, and simmer until liquid is absorbed and couscous is tender, about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add additional broth by tablespoonfuls if mixture becomes too dry.
  4. Meanwhile, heat remaining tablespoon of oil in a heavy large skillet over high heat. Add asparagus, sugar snap peas, green peas, and remaining garlic. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Sauté until crisp-tender, about 3 minutes. Transfer vegetables to a large bowl.
  5. Add couscous to bowl with vegetables. Drizzle dressing over. Add chives and toss. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Per serving: 293 Calories, 9 g Protein, 42 g Carbohydrates, 5 g Fiber, 10 g Total fat (1g sat, 7 g mono, 1 g poly), 92 mg Sodium. A good source of Vitamin C, Folate, and a fair source of Vitamin A, B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin), Iron, Manganese. Recipes are analyzed by Anna Kanianthra, MS, LD. Nutritional values vary depending on portion size, freshness of ingredients, storage, and cooking techniques. They should be used only as a guide. Star rating are based on Standard values (SVs) that are currently recommended.

*While I typically like to link directly to websites that offer their recipes online, Tasteforlife’s catalogue of recipes only dates back to 2015 online. If you’d like to browse their other recipes, click here.

Source: Wansleben, Chef Christine. “Toasted Israeli Couscous with Spring Vegetables.” Tasteforlife, May 2012, pp. 17–18.

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