Herbed Couscous Recipe

Oi Gente!!

this herbed couscous recipe is a quick and super tasty side dish that will take your mid-week dinners to a whole other level. It’s made with pearl couscous, garlic, herbs and a little lemon. The best part? It’s ready in about 20 minutes and the pairing possibilities are endless!

Herbed Couscous

This herbed couscous recipe is one of my favorites to make with pearl couscous. It’s fresh and herby, and the hint of lemon in the end brightens all the flavors even more! Finish it with some olive oil, and I swear to you, you’ll be digging into this dish with a big spoon!!

I love this recipe because you can eat it hot, or cold, and it’s a great side dish to bring to gatherings, picnics and barbecue parties! 

herbed couscous recipe

What is pearl couscous?

Israeli couscous, also known as pearl couscous, are these pasta-like little pearls made from wheat flour and semolina, that aren’t gluten free at all!

I do have a confession to make, tho… As much as I love couscous now, I had never had, or heard of (!) pearl couscous in my life until I was in culinary school a few years ago. It just wasn’t a thing when I was growing up – remember, we Brazilians love our rice!

Since eating it for the first time, pearl couscous, or Israeli couscous as it’s also know, has become part of our weekly meal planning. It’s super delicious, easy to make, and its great to use in salads, or as a side dish. If you don’t use it regularly, I totally recommend!

Herbed Couscous

Tips on how to cook pearl couscous

By itself, pearl couscous can taste pretty bland, sorta like plain cooked pasta. Here are my tips on how to make pearl couscous super delicious!

  1. Toast the dried pearls in olive oil. You can even add aromatics like onion, garlic or Brazilian sofrito for extra flavor!
  2. Add the water, or broth to the pan. Typically we use 1 1/4 cups of liquid to each cup of dry pearl couscous – some brands call for 1 1/2 cups of liquid to each cup of dry pearls. Check the package instructions to see the specific recommendations from the brand you’re using.
  3. Add a bay leaf and some thyme to the cooking liquid to add even MORE flavor!
  4. Simmer covered for about 10 mins.
  5. Fluff with a fork, and while you’re at it, you can add some fresh herbs and more olive oil.

Other couscous recipes:

Other quick and easy side dish recipes:


5 from 18 votes

Herbed Couscous

this herbed couscous recipe is a quick and super tasty side dish that will take your mid-week dinners to a whole other level. It's made with pearl couscous, garlic, herbs and a little lemon. The best part? It's ready in about 20 minutes and the pairing possibilities are endless!
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 4
Author: Aline Shaw



  • heat up one tbsp of the olive oil in a small sauce pan over medium to high heat
  • sautée onion until transparent, about 2-3 mins
  • add garlic and sautée until frangrant, about 1 minute
  • add dry couscous and stir
  • add salt, stir
  • add water* thyme and bay leaf
  • bring it to a boil then reduce to a slow simmer
  • cover and let it simmer until all the water has been absorbed (about 10 mins)
  • after all liquid has been absorbed, remove the thyme sprig and the bay leaf and discard
  • add remaining tbsp of olive oil, the parsley and the lemon zest, stir to combine

Bom Apetite!!

    Did you make this recipe? Show me how it turned out! Snap a photo and share with me on Instagram tagging @aline_shaw!


    about 1 1/2 cups of liquid per each cup of dry couscous – check the package instructions for more information

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    1. 5 stars
      SO YUMMY! Definitely on my favs. I’m sure I’ll make it more then once again this week. It’s so good!
      I would definitely opt out of 1 lemon zest to 1/2 of a lemon.
      A bit to lemony for me, but can’t complain to much, its still delicious😍

    2. 5 stars
      I added the juice from the lemon as well and extra fresh herbs (we have pots, so might as well use them). Went great with my chicken marinated in rose harissa, sumac and pomegranate syrup. Works fine with wholemeal couscous too.

    3. 5 stars
      You recipe turned out great!
      You say you never knew about it, when you lived in Brazil. I remember visiting my maternal avuela, Pearl couscous was served almost every Sunday. He brother my uncle Maheen, killed a chicken and she would make chicken soup.
      Then, took the cooked chicken pieces out of the broth and added the couscous while frying the pieces of chicken.

    4. I followed the recipe re quantities for the most part – but I added at least a half a cup of chopped fresh herbs – coriander, parsley, lemon thyme,and a smallish bay leaf. All these were fresh herbs. When I put in the water, I used chicken stock, added the herbs and a couple of tablespoons of lemon juice and then tossed in a half a cup of fresh baby tomatoes, then I left the water to be absorbed. It smells amazing. The tomatoes explode in the pan spreading their flavour throughout the couscous. Served with a lamb and chick pea tagine, I was using Lebanese couscous and it needed 1+1/2 liquid to 1 cup couscous. The. I added a dash more water and cooked until water disappeared. The flavour of the couscous was magic. Advice – dontt be afraid of herbs. Most people don’t add enough and use tomatoes to make your dish sing.

    5 from 18 votes (4 ratings without comment)

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