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!
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!
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!
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!
- Toast the dried pearls in olive oil. You can even add aromatics like onion, garlic or Brazilian sofrito for extra flavor!
- 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.
- Add a bay leaf and some thyme to the cooking liquid to add even MORE flavor!
- Simmer covered for about 10 mins.
- 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:
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- 1 cup of dry couscous
- 1 garlic clove minced, or a tsp of Brazilian Sofrito
- 1/2 onion diced
- 1 sprig of thyme
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 tbsp of olive oil
- salt to taste
- 1 lemon zested
- 1 tbsp of roughly minced parsley
- 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
Ooohhh… now this is something I can get down with. I am always looking for more healthy side dishes.
This is one of my mid-week faves!! Glad you like it too! xx
Couscous is such a versatile side dish. I love the addition of herbs and lemon. The couscous will absorb those flavors beautifully!
Indeed it does! It’s so great!!
I love me some couscous! It’s perfect for bumping up the weekday meals.
Exactly! This is one of our mid-week faves!!
Looks amazing! And I really love garlic too. I don’t think I’ve ever cooked with coucous but I have had it before. Delicious and healthy.
Thank you, this recipe is definitely worth trying!
This looks so light and fresh! I haven’t had couscous in a while. I’ll have to add this to my menu very soon.
Yes! SO fresh!!!
Wonderful flavors!! Loved this recipe paired with a roasted chicken 😋 delicious!
yay!! Happy you liked it!! Roasted chicken is also one of my favorite ways to serve it with 😛
Can’t wait to try. I’ve never made it. Always wanted to. I’m excited!
Definitely adding this to the easy night suppers!!
This is the perfect summer side dish!
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😍
Awesome, Lyd! I’m glad you liked it and will make it again! And yes, just adjust the lemon zest to your liking 🙂 Enjoy!!
Will dry herbs work for this recipe?
Dry herbs will work, but they truly don’t compare to fresh herbs in this dish. I definitely recommend fresh over the dry.
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.
Yes, sounds delicious!!!
Hi there, could you use chicken stock in place of the water?
Hi Eve, absolutely!
This was so easy to prepare, and it was delicious!