roasted tomato israeli couscous

March 3, 2013 § Leave a comment

Just under a year ago I discovered Israeli couscous in Trader Joes. I’ve made regular couscous plenty of times but Israeli couscous, never. It’s a much larger grain and looked more like orzo than rice. I grabbed it off the shelf and haven’t looked back. I use it constantly. I even use it as a replacement for brown rice or even pasta in many recipes. It has a creaminess to it that most rices don’t have and it makes any meal feel a little bit more decadent.


This recipe has become a staple in our house; it’s just so simple. It can be made in 20 minutes if you have the roasted tomatoes and pesto already on hand. I have found that roasted tomatoes add so much flavor to a dish. And they’re very versatile, I plop them in pastas and salads. There is usually a jar or two in my fridge at all times.

And so, on Friday nights typically, when it has been a long week and I’m ready to settle in for the night, this is my go to meal. It’s great on cold nights when you want to hold and enjoy a warm bowl of food.

Serves 2
1/2 tablespoon olive oil
3/4 cup Israeli couscous
1 1/3 cup water
1/4 cup pesto* (recipe below, see note)
1 cup roasted tomatoes (recipe below)
Parmesan for sprinkling

*There are a lot of great pestos out there, already made and easy to pull out of the cupboard. My go to is Pastene, but any will do in this recipe. If you do have the extra time, a homemade recipe is a nice touch.

Set a pot over medium high heat. Add 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil and Israeli couscous to the pot and stir to coat the rice. Sauté the couscous for 3-4 minutes until it becomes slightly brown, stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, heat the water in the microwave for about 2 minutes, or until it just starts to bubble.

Add the water to the couscous and make sure the water comes back to a boil before covering and turning the heat to low. Simmer for 15-20 minutes.

Once the rice is cooked add the pesto to the pot and stir until combined. Pour the couscous into a serving bowl and toss in the roasted tomatoes. Then grate a little bit of Parmesan all over the top.

This recipe originates from Heidi’s Super Natural Every Day cookbook, with a few minor adjustments.

Roasted Tomatoes (makes 1 1/2 cups)
2 cups cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 tablespoon sugar

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a small bowl toss together all the ingredients: tomatoes, olive oil, salt and sugar. Mix until everything is coated. Spread out onto a baking sheet, flipping all the tomatoes so that the inside is face up.

Bake for 50-60 minutes until the edges of the tomatoes shrivel up.

Basil Pesto
2 cups fresh basil
1/2 cup toasted walnuts
2 cloves garlic
1/3 cup shredded parmesan cheese
1/3 cup olive oil

Toast walnuts in a sauté pan over medium heat for about 5 minutes. Combine the basil, walnuts and garlic in a food processor. Pulse until everything is loosely diced. Slowly pour in the olive oil and pulse until smooth. Stir in parmesan until combined.


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