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Israeli Couscous

May 27, 2010

I have no idea why this particular carbohydrate speaks so loudly to me in the summertime, but it does. It’s great warm, and in all kinds of stew-ey presentations in cold weather, but in the summer I want to make a room temp Israeli couscous salad at least once a week. I love Alfred Portale’s recipe for Israeli Couscous Salad with Grilled Summer Vegetables, and of course it is a great template for messing around with your own vegetable add-ins, or even some proteins if you’re looking for a non-veggie main course salad.

Regular Moroccan couscous is good, in my opinion, but not great. Cooked properly it is is fluffy and light, but there’s not a whole lot of there there, in terms of chew or consistency. And orzo, Israeli couscous’s Italian cousin, while delicious in soups, salads, and other favorite dishes, often doesn’t have that chewiness that I (obviously) crave. Israeli couscous is like little happy chewy pearls, and can serve as the anchor to a substantial salad as well as any traditional pasta–even better, in some ways, becuse the small orbs mingle so nicely with the veggies, which I prefer to cut up pretty small so everything plays nicely together in the sandbox. Anyway, this is the roasted pepper/mint/black olive/leek version of Alfred’s salad that I made last weekend, and if you’re coming to my house this weekend, you’ll be getting something along these lines. It pairs well with a crisp white, if you’re asking.

6 Comments leave one →
  1. May 29, 2010 8:51 am

    I enjoy reading your blog and visit the Cookstr site often as well. Both are entertaining and educational. Reading someone’s blog sort of gives you a false sense that you know the person – the posts are personal. So, with this false sense that I know you well enough along with a false sense that I know a little something about blogging (I write my own family cooking blog), I have some constructive criticism. I sincerely hope you take it the right way. It’s your photographs. They are yellow. You need to photograph your food using only natural light. Turn off the indoor lights. I don’t know what kind of camera you are using, but look into the Canon G11. This affordable digital camera is used by journalists and was recommended to me by Penny de los Santos, a food photographer for Saveur Magazine. Her seminars are wonderful. Everything else is top notch!

  2. May 29, 2010 12:22 pm

    Dear Waverly,

    Thank you so much for writing, and believe me, I agree with your comment! I have a new camera, Nikon Coolpix P90 and am kind of puttering along with it, hoping and waiting for a break in the action when I will really be able to learn how to properly use it! Frankly, I’m missing the old point and click at times, because then I wouldn’t feel so geeky about not knowing waht all of the options are with this camera. I appreciate your writing, and your thoughts…sadly this couscous was in fact taken with only natural light, right by the window, in full daylight, so who knows what I m doing wrong. But I will work on it!


  3. Dana permalink
    June 1, 2010 5:28 pm

    This recipe sounds wonderful! However, I have to pledge ignorance on the different types of couscous. Where would I find Israeli couscous? Perhaps at a Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s? I don’t believe I have ever seen this. Great blog, btw!

    • Katie Workman, Editor-in-Chief permalink*
      June 3, 2010 7:07 am

      Hi, Dana,

      You can find this kind of couscous at many supermarkets, and also check out any health food stores or specialty food stores in your area. I have seen it at Whole Foods, too, and I always buy it at one of the bigger Stop and Shops near our house. The brand I’ve been using is called Marrakesh Express, and they label their large couscous “Couscous Grande”. It is also called Mediterranean Couscous, sometimes. Also, you can buy it online, even at Amazon! Here’s another online source: I hope you love it!

  4. June 23, 2010 2:02 pm

    I am a huge fan of nigella’s tv shows. i just want to say that combination cereal=couscous and meat is not healthy. maybe better use for meat vegetables, no rice, no potato.

  5. elias permalink
    August 14, 2011 8:32 pm

    what you call israeli couscous is actually traditional moroccan berber couscous thats made by hand !-thats before the introduction of machinery etc.
    No couscous, falafel, tabouleh etc. was ever invented in israel!
    How dare you call this food israeli when berbers were making it thousands of years before any zionist ever existed?

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