August 24, 2011

Israeli Couscous with Apples and Dried Cherries

This is a staple on my monthly menu rotation every spring and summer.  I love this as a side dish for barbeque, but I also love it as a main course for lunch (especially if you add grilled chicken).  This dish is company worthy, and is one of my go-to dishes whenever we are invited to a pot luck.  Every time, without fail, people ask for the recipe. This one is definitely a keeper, and it belongs in my hall of fame.

Couscous Ingredients:
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cups Israeli couscous
  • 3 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth (or follow ratio of liquid to couscous on couscous box, may need 4 cups)
  • 1 teaspoon fresh flat-leaf parsley (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary leaves
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • 2 medium apples, diced (I usually use Gala apples)
  • 1 cup dried cherries
  • 1/2 cup slivered almonds, toasted or not (I never toasted them, but I googled how, and it turns out that all you have to do is preheat the oven to 350 degrees (Fahrenheit), arrange the almonds in a single layer on a baking sheet, bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until golden brown, and cool).

Vinaigrette Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup olive oil


  1. In a small pot, bring the chicken broth to a boil.
  2. In the meantime, in a large pot, heat the olive oil on medium-high heat. 
  3. Add the couscous and cook, stirring occasionally, until it is slightly browned (about 3 to 5 minutes). 
  4. Pour the boiled chicken broth into the pot with the couscous, stir a couple times, and return the broth to a boil.
  5. Cover the pot and simmer for 12 to 20 minutes or until the liquid has evaporated (check directions on couscous box – times may vary). 
  6. Transfer the cooked couscous to a large bowl and set aside to cool.
  7. Add the parsley (if using), rosemary, thyme, apple, dried cherries, and almonds to the cooled couscous. 
  8. Make the vinaigrette - in a small bowl, combine the vinegar, maple syrup, salt, and pepper and whisk in the olive oil until smooth. 
  9.  Pour the vinaigrette over the couscous and toss to coat evenly.

Leftover Magic:

Since you are making the couscous anyway, make some extra plain coucous and set it aside. Then, during the week, easily transform it to another dish.  I like to add sauteed onions and zucchini or cooked lentils (which I buy pre-cooked at Trader Joes, yes, I know how easy it is to cook lentils, no I still don't think its worth doing myself).