Hi! Excited to share a healthy Israeli Couscous Recipe today. It’s more of a couscous salad with a zesty lemon-dill vinaigrette. So simple and fresh!
The other night I had to make a tough choice: cook a new recipe or watch a marathon of Downton Abbey. I struggled with the options…Eeny meeny miny mo…Guess which I chose to do? As much as I love cooking and this amazing blog, and YOU, amazing people; I caved in and watched one episode after another of Downton Abbey. If you should be judging me for giving into temptation so easily, I would not be offended. Downton Abbey is one of the most widely watched television drama shows in the world! Which means, I’m not the only one plagued with Downton Abbey obsession :-). I mean, from the plot, to the beautiful accent, and the costumes! Gosh! And that huge countryside estate! How could I resist?!
I shall be delighted to tell you more about Downton Abbey sometime. But today’s happy task is to talk about this healthy Israeli Couscous Recipe.
There is neither a long tale nor a huge inspiration behind this recipe. It came together kinda on a whim; out of a need for a little side dish next to our family dinner of skillet chicken tenders. So when I opened my pantry and found a box of Israeli couscous, a can of chickpeas and a can of artichoke hearts, the idea of a couscous salad was born.
Israeli couscous is also known as pearl couscous. It is made of whole wheat flour, and I pretty much treat it as I do tiny pasta. In today’s recipe, I started by sauteing the couscous in a little olive oil. I believe this little “toasting” really adds some richness in taste and color. Then, I simply cooked the couscous in boiling water according to the package. And while it cooked, I put together the rest of the ingredients; chopped fresh veggies, chickpeas, artichoke hearts, some good olives, and fresh mozzarella! I love nothing more than herbs, especially in my salads. Fresh basil was the choice this time, but it could have been parsley, cilantro, or fresh mint leaves. I put everything together and dressed it so finely in a lemon-dill vinaigrette. Easy peasy!
The beauty of this couscous recipe, as you can see, is that you can totally make it your own. Use different vegetables. Experiment with different herbs. Use feta cheese instead of mozzarella. Omit the cheese all together for a vegan bowl. Add chicken, salmon or your protein of choice…Whatever floats your boat!
But if you choose to make this Israeli couscous recipe exactly how I have it here, you won’t be disappointed; not in the least. That last bit, “not in the least,” is totally borrowed from Downton Abbey. Alas, I must now end the chatter and go on to the recipe.
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Step-by-step instructions for Israeli Couscous Recipe
To make the lemon-dill vinaigrette, place the lemon juice, olive oil, dill weed, garlic powder, salt and pepper in a bowl. Whisk together to combine. Set aside briefly.
In a medium-sized heavy pot, heat two tablespoons of olive oil. Saute the couscous in the olive oil briefly until golden brown. Add 3 cups of boiling water (or the amount instructed on the package), and cook according to package. When ready, drain in a colander. Set aside in a bowl to cool.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the remaining ingredients minus the basil and mozzarella. Then add the couscous and the basil, and mix together gently.
Now, give the lemon-dill vinaigrette a quick whisk and add it to the couscous salad. Mix again to combine. Test and adjust salt, if needed.Finally mix in the mozzarella cheese. Garnish with more fresh basil. Enjoy!
- 1 large lemon, juice of
- ⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tsp dill weed
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- salt and pepper
- 2 cups Israeli couscous (Pearl couscous)
- Olive oil
- 2 cups grape tomatoes, halved
- ⅓ cup finely chopped red onions
- ½ English cucumber, finely chopped
- 15 oz can chickpeas
- 14 oz can good quality artichoke hearts, roughly chopped if needed
- ½ cup good pitted kalamta olives
- 15-20 fresh basil leaves, roughly chopped or torn; more for garnish
- 10 mini fresh mozzarella balls (or 1 cup chopped fresh mozzarella), optional
- To make the lemon-dill vinaigrette, place the vinaigrette ingredients in a bowl. Whisk together to combine. Set aside briefly.
- In a medium-sized heavy pot, heat two tablespoons of olive oil. Saute the couscous in the olive oil briefly until golden brown. Add 3 cups of boiling water (or the amount instructed on the package), and cook according to package. When ready, drain in a colander. Set aside in a bowl to cool.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the remaining ingredients minus the basil and mozzarella. Then add the couscous and the basil and mix together gently.
- Now, give the lemon-dill vinaigrette a quick whisk and add it to the couscous salad. Mix again to combine. Test and adjust salt, if needed.
- Finally mix in the mozzarella cheese. Garnish with more fresh basil. Enjoy!
- Or add grilled chicken breast or salmon to complete this healthy meal