Day 13: Israeli Couscous

Mediterranean Roasted Vegetables, Pearl Pasta, and Chicken
Mediterranean Roasted Vegetables, Pearl Pasta, and Chicken

Have you ever even heard of Israeli Couscous? Neither had I the first time I tried it but it was love at first bite. I was served a wrap stuffed with Israeli Couscous and roasted peppers and I knew I had to make something similar. So during this challenge, I hunted down recipes on the internet and I came across this one which seemed quite close.

Today’s learning objective is Israeli couscous. Israeli couscous is also known as “pearl pasta”. True to the name, it tastes like a small pearl of fluffy, chewy, pasta (in my opinion). Israeli couscous could be used almost anywhere one would normally use other grains like rice, quinoa, pasta. It works well in salads, pilafs, soups, and vegetable stuffings. As an additional benefit, Israeli couscous is low on fat and high on protein. Check out About Food for a more in-depth look at the possibilities of pearl pasta

Israeli couscous is fairly easy to make and took about as long as white rice to cook. I followed the directions on my pearl pasta box which differed a bit from those I found online. However, if you don’t want to make the entire box, About Food mentions that the every 1 cup of dry pearl pasta requires 1 1/4 cup of water or broth.

Please note that Israeli couscous may be difficult to find. If you are in Canada, President’s Choice Black Label line offers it.

Mediterranean Roasted Vegetables and Pearl Pasta Salad 

Vinaigrette

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 cloves fresh garlic (minced)
zest of 1 lemon
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh rosemary
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh chives
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley

Roasted Vegetables

8 ounces fresh mushrooms (halved if large)
2 medium bell peppers (I used one red and one yellow)
1 medium red onion (peeled and cut into eighths)
1 medium sweet yellow onion (peeled and cut into eighths)
2 small zucchini (halved, cut into 1/2 inch slices)
1 medium carrots (peeled and slices into 1/2 inch inch diagonal slices)
1 teaspoon honey
1 1/2 cups pearl pasta (cooked using chicken broth)
2 cups fresh spinach
2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 cups cherry/ grape tomatoes

Directions can be found at The Cafe Sucre Farine. Recipe adapted from The Cafe Sucre Farine by Chris.

Edible?

Yes, it turned out well! I really enjoyed the texture of the couscous. My mother not so much but she enjoyed the roasted vegetables.

I recommend that anyone making this recipe, do so with a buddy as there is a lot of chopping to do and an extra set of hands makes a difference. I ended up chopping some of my vegetables a bit smaller so they would cook a bit faster. Half inch carrot slices just don’t cut it for me.

We made a few alterations to the vinaigrette. I recently learnt that I do not like Rosemary and so I did not put any in and we did not have any chives therefore those were excluded as well. The flavour was a subtle lemon, olive taste and I thought it was so-so. My mother really enjoyed it. I’m still dreaming of the dressing I had the first time I tried pearl pasta. Perhaps next time I’ll try something with a little bit more zip? Maybe a dash of balsamic vinaigrette?

My final verdict: This dish is great if you are looking for something vegetarian with light flavours. It would work well as a summer side salad!

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