Spicy Kale and Lemon Israeli Couscous
Couscous: the food so nice, they named it twice. Even with very few ingredients, this dish packs a punch of flavor! It’s a perfect side dish or is great as a quick lunch.
I’ve been eating more and more kale. Why wouldn’t I? It’s delicious and ridiculously healthy for you! And with the addition of loads of lemon and chile and creamy goat cheese, I could eat this salad day-in, day-out.
The name, couscous, itself means well-rolled, well-formed, and rounded. And that’s just what these little pearly grains look like, well-rounded little balls of pasta! Perfect shape and size to mix with any other ingredient.
And without any further ado, here's the recipe!
- 1 Cup Israeli couscous
- 3 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 scallion, green and white parts, chopped
- 1 Cup kale, chopped
- Zest and juice of 1 lemon
- 1/2 Tablespoon crushed red chile pepper flakes
- 2 Tablespoons creamy goat cheese
- Sea salt, to taste
- 1 slice lemon, for garnish
Roasted Eggplant with Quinoa and Kale Dinner
The perfect vegan dinner for anyone looking to eat less meat. The eggplant is cooked perfectly when you make the criss-cross slices and roast in the oven. The honey and sesame seeds add sweet and crunch. Serve with the gorgeous couscous and kale side.
- 1 eggplant
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Kosher salt
- Freshly cracked black pepper
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 lemon, zest and juice, divided
- ⅔ cup couscous, dry
- 1½ tablespoons sesame seeds
- 4 teaspoons honey
- ⅓ cup pomegranate arils
- 2 cups kale, chopped
1. Wash eggplant, cut in half lengthwise, with the tip of the knife, cut diamond criss-cross into the flesh, not cutting through the skin.
2. Drizzle eggplant with oil and season with salt and pepper. Heat large oven-safe pan on medium-high heat. When pan is hot, place eggplant face down and sear until golden brown. Turn over and place pan in the oven for 10 minutes at 425℉.
3. Meanwhile, in a medium pot, heat 1 tablespoon oil, add garlic, and ½ the lemon juice. Add 1 cup of lightly salted water and bring to a boil. Add couscous, stir, cover and remove from heat.
4. In a small dish, combine sesame seeds and honey together. Remove eggplant from the oven and drizzle honey until covered. Sprinkle pomegranate arils over the eggplant. Replace pan in oven and continue to bake for an additional 10 minutes.
5. Place kale in a medium bowl, drizzle with 1 tablespoon oil and toss with remaining lemon juice, ½ the lemon zest, couscous and season with salt and pepper.
Plate dish: Divide kale and quinoa salad between two plates, place eggplant, drizzle with tahini and garnish with remaining lemon zest.
- 1 cup water
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 cup whole wheat couscous
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 (15 ounce) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 cup chopped kale
- 4 cloves garlic, chopped
- ¼ cup whole salted almonds, halved
- ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Bring water and butter to a boil in a saucepan remove from heat. Add couscous and stir well. Cover saucepan and let couscous sit until water is absorbed, about 5 minutes. Fluff couscous with a fork.
Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat cook and stir cannellini beans, kale, and garlic in the hot oil until kale is wilted, 5 to 10 minutes. Mix kale mixture into couscous fold in almonds.
Spoon couscous mixture into 4 serving bowls top with Parmesan cheese. Season with salt and black pepper.
Regular couscous is usually soaked in hot/warm water for few minutes until it’s light and fluffy.
Pearl couscous however needs to be cooked in water on stove top just like pasta. You can cook it in plenty of water just like pasta and then drain it soon as it turn light, fluffy and each bead grown in size a bit. Or you can cook it like steamed rice, adding just enough water to cook the pearl couscous.
I personally like to enhance the taste of couscous while cooking it, so I first saute minced garlic and onions, then add in couscous along with liquid. Following the packet instructions to cook perfect couscous can be tricky sometimes.
I noticed by following packet instruction to cook 1 cup of couscous in 2 cups of water turned it gummy and very soft. So I always follow the ratio – 1 cup couscous cooked in 1 ½ cup water or stock. You get perfect, each bead separated couscous every time.
Warm Couscous Kale Salad
A regular favorite for my husband and I is a raw kale salad with sesame vinaigrette dressing. We try to eat at least a little kale almost every day, but still keep it interesting and with exciting flavor combinations. One that is a new favorite of ours is a warm couscous kale salad. The Warm Couscous Kale Salad recipe is very easy to follow, quick to make and you can even refrigerate it and enjoy it the next day for lunch.
Please note that this recipe has a bit of acidity, so feel free to add some raisins into the recipe to balance it off with more sweetness. You can use fresh diced tomatoes or canned, just be sure to pick canned dice tomatoes without added sugar/salt or other unhealthy extras. For a non-vegan version, you may also add some freshly grated parmesan cheese during serving. The Pomegranate seeds might be the best part of this salad, as it&rsquos a rare instance where they play a supporting role. They give just enough pop in color, taste and texture to make the salad that much more interesting. The salad is truly balanced, with nuts, fruit, great veggies and couscous and in my humble opinion they all come together amazingly well.
Israeli Couscous Salad Recipe is another name that this salad may go by, and that is a completely accurate description. I had the great pleasure of going to Israel about fifteen years back and it is one of the most memorable places I&rsquove ever visited. Sites in Jerusalem and the Dead Sea are like nothing else, and the Israeli people from all backgrounds and walks of life were friendly towards me. The food in Israel is outstanding, with amazing varieties of falafel, Shawarma, and couscous dishes around every corner. Before going I didn&rsquot know that this desert area would have such great fruits and dairy, but they were all top notch. My dream is to someday visit that region of the world again, and go on a culinary/historical tour of Israel, Jordan, Egypt and Lebanon.
Spicy Kale and Lemon Israeli Couscous - Recipes
A wonderful and healthy combination! Israeli couscous is great.
I love Israeli couscous, what a tasty side dish!
TY Laura & super simple too! :)
I think we read the same article!! I quoted it as I posted my own roasted kale, or kale "chips". That recipe was actually my first foray into the world of kale, and we liked it. I've never really been a "green" person, and sauteed greens have not been in my repertoire, but I'm eager to learn more about this one. Love the ingredients you have here. I think this is one the kids would like too. Maybe, maybe even my husband!
ahaha Kim, I wanted to shy away from wikipedia, though I do read it too. :) My son said kale chips taste like seaweed,:) You can use orzo instead of Israeli couscous.
I never understood the "fad" that was kale. It has always been on the French markets and has always been considered a rather poor man's healthy ingredient. Not fancy and trendy. And I have always loved it: in soups, sautéed or steamed, in quiches, tons of ways. And I love it tossed as you have in Israeli couscous. I should do that this week!
I can imagine the markets in France, sensational! :) In Israel the Kale just started showing up, so I can see where it is new, a trend can develop. There is however a close relative called Mangold, that is really closer to beet leaves than Kale. Since I didn't grow up on it, I started using kale only in recent years, and quite taken by it, Just like you I add it to everything.
My garden overflowed with chard and kale last summer, so I blanched, chopped and froze what I couldn't use right away. Now, in (what I hope are) the waning months of winter, I'm trying to use up the remaining 8 quart-bags of greens before I plant another crop. This recipe is going on my list. Thanks!
How fun Tracy. I wish I can have a vegetable garden again. The deer and other critters ate all my veggies in the past. I read that kale freezes well, so good planning on your part.:)
I live in a first-ring suburb, so no deer. But rabbits and cabbage worms are the bane of my existence. And the squirrels that devour my tomatoes. And I get about one zucchini per plant whatever precautionary measures I take, due to the newly-arrived squash-borers. And don't get me started on the japanese beetles that are destroying my bean harvest. All behind a 3-foot-high fence of half-inch hardware cloth. Sigh. So I revel in the kale and chard! And am glad I still have some left (and a big jar of Israeli couscous, too) to use in your recipe!
How to Cook Couscous
Welcome to couscous 101! Learn what it is, how to cook it, and how to serve it. Delicious and easy to make, it'll become a staple in your kitchen!
Couscous! I’m sure you’ve heard of it, but you might be wondering, “What is it, exactly?” Though it might seem like one, couscous is not actually a grain, but a tiny North African pasta! It’s a fantastic staple to keep on hand in your kitchen – it cooks in under 10 minutes, and you can use it in anything from salads to bowls to simple side dishes.
How to Cook Couscous
How you cook couscous will depend on what type you buy. In grocery stores, you will most often find these two varieties:
- Pearl or Israeli couscous: It’s easy to see how pearl couscous got its name, as it’s shaped into round, pearl-like balls. I cook it like I do other kinds of pasta. First, I bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, and then, I add the couscous, cooking for 7-8 minutes, or until al dente. As soon as I drain it, I toss it with a large glug of olive oil so that the pearls don’t stick together.
- Traditional couscous (white or whole wheat): As you can see in the picture below, this variety is even smaller than quinoa! Consequently, it cooks in a flash. To cook it, measure a 1:1 ratio of couscous and water, and bring the water to a boil. When the water is boiling, add the grains, cover the pot, and remove it from the heat. Let it stand for 5 minutes, covered, before you remove the lid and fluff with a fork. Though it’s not totally necessary, I also like to add a bit of olive oil and salt to the boiling water to add flavor and prevent clumping.
Couscous Recipes and Serving Ideas
Once you’ve cooked your couscous, you have all sorts of options for using it! Here are a few of my favorites:
- Make a couscous salad. Try making this one with roasted tomatoes and chickpeas, or substitute whole wheat couscous for the grain in any grain salad. It’s an especially great substitute for millet or quinoa.
- Serve it as a side dish. Below, you’ll find my favorite way to prepare it as a simple side dish. I dress it up with herbs, lemon juice, pine nuts, and olive oil to make a bright, healthy pilaf. It pairs nicely with any protein, vegetable main dish, or soup!
- Top it with a stew. Traditional Moroccan couscous is often served with stewy seasonal vegetables, and I adore this preparation. Find my riff on North African tagine on page 207 of Love and Lemon Every Day!
- Make it a meal on its own! Make the recipe below. Then, top it with roasted veggies like cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, or butternut squash, drizzles of tahini sauce, and your favorite protein to make an easy meal!
More Plant-Based Cooking Basics
If you love this recipe, try one of these plant-based cooking components next:
23 Easy, Delicious Couscous Recipes
We may get commissions for purchases made through links in this post. Please read our disclaimer.
Couscous is a delicious, nutritious pasta made with semolina flour mixed with water that&rsquos associated with Morocco. It&rsquos easy to cook, and there&rsquos no end to what you can do with it. These couscous recipes can make great side dishes or entrees.
This is one of the most versatile grains you can keep in your pantry. Like rice, it stores well so you can buy it in bulk and save money.
In fact, if you can&rsquot find it in your local grocery stores, you can order regular couscous or instant couscous online. If you&rsquove never cooked or eaten it before, now&rsquos the time to start!
One of the best things about this dish is how short the cooking and prep time are. Some of these recipes can be made in about 20 minutes. Very few take more than 30, unless they need some time in the slow cooker.
Note: couscous is not gluten free. For that, you&rsquoll need quinoa recipes.
Lemon-Pistachio Israeli Couscous
Couscous Israélien au Citron et aux Pistaches
Every year in Menton, a city near Nice that's on the border of Italy, there's a festival celebrating the famed Menton lemons. Plump and irregularly shaped, they're seasonally available in Paris markets, with their leaves still attached. They are prized by chefs and cooks for their intense lemony flavor (without the harshness of commercial lemons), and their not-too-bitter pith, which makes them perfect for preserving.
This nutty, lemony salad makes good use of preserved lemons, which you can easily buy or make yourself (see my website for a recipe). I keep a jar on hand at all times. They take a few weeks to mellow and soften, so don't save making them for the last minute. Their flavor is incomparable, and a jar will last for months in your refrigerator. Chopped-up bits can be tossed with olives for a quick apéro, and they also add an assertive citrus flavor to this dish made with pistachios and Israeli couscous.
Israeli couscous are little pearls of pasta, elsewhere called pastina, which means "little pasta," and when toasted it's known as fregola sarda. Since they have more substance, I think they hold up a little better to North African-style braised meats, like the lamb shank tagine, than traditional couscous. (Orzo is a good substitute for the Israeli couscous.) To change things around a bit, you can vary the dried fruit or swap in fresh mint or cilantro for the parsley. Another nut, such as toasted hazelnuts or almonds or even pine nuts, could be used in place of the pistachios.
5. Spicy Vegan Chickpea Moroccan Couscous
This recipe is perfect for all you spicy food lovers out there. This vegan flavorful meal can be consumed as a filling lunch or a hearty dinner. The fresh herbs and the yummy tahini sauce will take this Moroccan couscous to a whole new level of deliciousness!