Lemon-infused olive oil kicks off the fruity elements in this Fruity Toasted Israeli Couscous; paired with figs and pistachios, this couscous dish has a distinct Mediterranean twist. It’s a simple recipe that will liven up any meal; it is great as a stand-alone salad or as a side dish and can easily be converted into an entrée.
First let me say if you don’t have lemon-infused olive oil, it is simple to make and I have a method for you below. The lemon in the olive oil permeates the couscous as it is toasted and really adds a tremendous amount of flavour. So, it’s worth trying to find some, or to make your own.
The dried figs are a fantastic way to add calcium and dietary fiber to the salad, not to mention the delicious taste. Roasted pistachios enhance the nuttiness of the flavour of the toasted couscous; while the lemon zest punches up the fresh, fruity elements of the dish.
This can easily be turned into a full meal by adding some chicken (or your favourite meat), so it is incredibly versatile. If you’re not a fig fan, use any dried fruit you like.
Since it is a Five Ingredient Friday recipe, here are your five ingredients:
- Israeli (or pearl) Couscous
- Pistachio Nuts
- Dried Figs
- Scallions (green onions)
- Lemon Zest
Since oil, salt and pepper, and water don’t count in ingredient counts for Five Ingredient Friday, I made it on the dot this week!
I can’t tell you how different and wonderfully delicious this couscous is! Now, as I have said before, Mr. Saucy claims to not like couscous, so for his consumption, this is Fruity Toasted Round Pasta Salad. *wink*
- 2 tablespoons lemon-infused olive oil
- 1 cup Israeli couscous
- ⅓ cup roasted, shelled pistachios
- 1 cup plus 3 tablespoons water
- salt and ground black pepper, to taste
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest
- 6 dried figs (I used Calimyrna), stemmed removed, diced (this is a scant cup)
- 3 scallions (green onions), diced
- In a medium-sized saucepan, over medium heat, heat the olive oil.
- Add the couscous and the pistachios to the oil and cook for about 10 minutes, or until the couscous is light golden brown in colour.
- Add the water, half the lemon zest, salt and pepper and bring to a boil.
- Reduce heat and cover, continuing to cook for about 10 minutes, or until the water is absorbed.
- Remove the lid and stir in the figs, scallions and the remaining lemon zest.
- Serve warm.
- 1 large lemon
- 1 cup olive oil
- Scrub lemon clean and dry thoroughly.
- Using a very sharp knife or peeler, remove the zest (just the yellow outer peel- avoiding the bitter white pith immediately below).
- Put lemon zest and olive oil in a small sauce pan and warm over medium heat. Do not allow the oil to simmer. Keep the oil just below a simmer for about 10 minutes.
- Remove oil from heat and allow to cool and further infuse the lemon (about 2 hours)
- Remove the lemon zest from the oil and pour the oil into a glass jar.
- Cover and store in a cool, dark place.