What’s the difference between regular couscous and Israeli couscous? The former is a tiny semolina pasta that’s a cornerstone of Moroccan cuisine. Traditionally hand-rolled, steaming turns the tiny couscous grains light and fluffy, and perfect for catching all of the goodness of saucy tagines. Today, instant couscous is widely available, and cooks around the world have embraced couscous as a side dish and salad base. Israeli couscous, or pearl couscous, is also semolina based, but it is larger and has a chewy texture that is quite different from regular couscous. It also takes longer to cook than instant couscous. While the two types of couscous aren’t exactly interchangeable texture-wise, either will work in salads like this one. If you want to experiment with swapping varieties, just be sure to follow the cooking directions for whichever type you choose before proceeding with the rest of the recipe.
The recipe is reprinted with permission from “Hip Kosher: 175 Easy-To-Prepare Recipes for Today’s Kosher Cooks” by Ronnie Fein.
- 1 cup Israeli couscous
- 1/4 cup almonds, chopped or slivered
- 1/3 cup dried cranberries
- 3 to 4 medium scallions, chopped
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon fresh orange peel, finely grated
- Salt, to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Gather the ingredients.
Place the couscous in a dry sauté pan over medium heat and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, shaking the pan occasionally, until the couscous is lightly toasted.
Place the couscous in a saucepan, add 1 1/2 cups water and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low and cover the pan. Cook for 8 to 9 minutes or until all the water has been absorbed and spoon it into a bowl.
While the couscous is cooking, toast the almonds in the sauté pan over medium heat for 4 to 5 minutes or until they are lightly browned. Add to the couscous.
Stir in the cranberries and scallions, distributing them evenly.
Mix the olive oil, vinegar, and orange peel in a small bowl and pour over the couscous.
Toss the ingredients and season to taste with salt and pepper.