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Israeli couscous in a white bowl with veggies.
30 min or less, Easy, Lunch, Nut free, Oil free, Side dishes, Summer Recipes, Under 400 calories, Vegan Recipes

Israeli Couscous with Veggies

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This Israeli Couscous with Veggies is PACKED with nutritious and colorful veggies, making it a perfect side to any main dish. It’s also super simple to make in under 30 minutes.

White decorative bowl filled with Israeli couscous with veggies.

How to cook Israeli Couscous:

Israeli couscous is also known as ptitim, Jerusalem or pearl couscous. Most people confuse it with a whole grain, but it’s more similar to pasta (using wheat flour and semolina), but healthier and less refined.

As opposed to regular couscous (which consists of very tiny balls that are dried), Israeli couscous is softer, chewier, and the size of small pearls, thus, why it’s often called “pearl couscous”. It was created in Israel in the 1950’s as a wheat-based substitute when rice was scarce. It’s still a very common food for Israeli children to this day.

Israeli couscous is also very versatile and has a mild flavor, making it a perfect base for sweet or savory dishes.

How to make this easy Pearl Couscous Recipe:

Note: I’ve seen a variety of recipes that call for different ratios of liquid to couscous. Generally, recipes suggest 1 1/4 cup or 1 1/2 cup liquid for every 1 cup of dry Israeli couscous. But for this recipe, I prefer to add 2 1/4 cups liquid to this dish and find the couscous comes out very chewy and the perfect texture.

To begin, in a large saucepan or pot, add the olive oil and bring to medium heat.  *Note: if oil-free, you can skip this step. See directions in recipe card notes at the bottom of this page.

Add the couscous (STEP 1) and sauté until lightly browned (about 5 minutes), stirring frequently (STEP 2). Be sure to watch it so it doesn’t burn.

Before and after photos of Israeli couscous being browned in a pot.
1) Add couscous to pot with olive oil over medium heat.
2) Stir occasionally until browned/toasted, about 5 minutes.

Carefully add the 2 1/4 cups of vegetable stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low and cover. Simmer for about 8-10 minutes or until the liquid is absorbed (be sure to keep an eye on it so it doesn’t burn or stick to the pan). Remove from heat and set aside.

Israeli couscous cooked in vegetable broth and in a large pot.

In a large skillet, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons vegetable broth over medium heat. Add the garlic, onion and carrots. Cook until the onions are translucent and the carrots are starting to get soft (but still a little crunchy), about 5-6 minutes, stirring occasionally. (STEP 1) Remove from heat. 

To the large pot of cooked couscous, add the onion/carrot mixture, edamame, corn, parsley, salt and pepper (STEP 2). Stir until warm (STEP 3). Add 1 tablespoon lemon juice and nutritional yeast (optional) and stir.

Sequence of 3 images showing the process of combining couscous with vegetables.
1) Add garlic, onion, and carrots to a skillet over medium heat. Cook for about 5-6 minutes.
2) Add to the pot of couscous. Add remaining veggies and 1 tablespoon lemon juice.
3) Stir and add remaining 1 tablespoon lemon juice and nutritional yeast.

Let sit for at least 5 minutes to absorb flavors. Taste and add remaining 1 tablespoon lemon juice if desired and stir. Makes a total of 6 cups. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for 5-6 days. 

Adjustments/Notes:

  • If you prefer to make this dish oil-free, you can omit the browning of the couscous. The olive oil does add a bit of flavor, but it tastes perfectly fine without too. In this case, add the 2 1/4 cups vegetable broth and bring to a boil, then add the couscous and continue with the recipe as-is.
  • Please note that different vegetable broth brands can make this dish turn a different color. I’ve used Trader Joe’s unsalted vegetable broth which produces a darker color. In the photos you see here, I used “Inspired Organics” brand vegetable broth, which gives it a lighter color.
  • This recipe is super versatile so feel free to experiment substituting or adding other chopped veggies, such as celery, cilantro, red bell pepper, or green onions. Or add a little cayenne pepper for a slight kick. 
  • You can also try my recipe for Roasted Corn Israeli Couscous for a completely different flavor profile.
Israeli couscous in a white bowl with edamame, carrots, corn and parsley.

Serve this Israeli Pearl Couscous alongside a good soup like Instant Pot White Bean and Corn Soup, or this Kale-Quinoa Salad or Roasted Potato Beet Salad.

If you try this recipe, please let me know! Leave a comment, rate it, and tag your photo with #veggie__chick on Instagram. I just love to see my recipes being made in YOUR kitchen!

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Israeli Couscous with Veggies

A bowl of israeli pearl couscous with colorful veggies.

This Israeli Couscous with Veggies is PACKED with nutritious and colorful veggies, making it a perfect side to any main dish. It’s also super simple to make in under 30 minutes.

  • Author: Christin McKamey
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 30
  • Yield: 6 1x
  • Category: Side Dish
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Israeli
Scale

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil*, optional (oil-free directions below)
  • 2 1/4 cups + 2 tablespoons unsalted vegetable broth, divided
  • 8-ounce package uncooked Israeli couscous (also known as pearl couscous or ptitim)
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 small yellow onion, finely chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 3 medium-sized carrots, peeled and finely chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 1 cup shelled edamame (if frozen, thawed)
  • 1 cup sweet corn (if frozen, thaw, or from can, drain liquid.)
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 12 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast, optional

Instructions

  1. To begin, toast the couscous. In a large saucepan or pot, add the olive oil and bring to medium heat. (oil-free directions in notes section below). Add the couscous and sauté until couscous is lightly browned (about 5 minutes), stirring frequently.
  2. Add 2 1/4 cups of vegetable stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and cover. Simmer for about 8-10 minutes or until liquid is absorbed (be sure to keep an eye on it so it doesn’t burn or stick to the pan). Remove from heat and set aside.
  3. In a large skillet, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons vegetable broth over medium heat. Add garlic, onion and carrots. Cook until the onions are translucent and the carrots are starting to get soft (but still a little crunchy), stirring occasionally, about 5-6 minutes. Remove from heat.
  4. To the large pot of cooked couscous, add the onion/carrot mixture, edamame, corn, parsley, salt and pepper. Stir until warm. Add 1 tablespoon lemon juice and nutritional yeast (optional) and stir. Let sit for at least 5 minutes to absorb flavors. Taste and add remaining 1 tablespoon lemon juice if desired and stir. Makes a total of 6 cups. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for 5-6 days. 

Notes

  • If you prefer to make this dish oil-free, you can omit the browning of the couscous. The olive oil does add a bit of flavor, but it tastes perfectly fine without too. In this case, skip the oil and start with step #2, adding the 2 1/4 cups vegetable broth and bring to a boil, then add couscous and continue with the rest of the recipe as is.
  • Please note that different vegetable broth brands can make the dish turn out a different color. I’ve used Trader Joe’s unsalted vegetable broth and it tends to turn it a darker color. In the photos you see here, I used “Inspired Organics” brand vegetable broth, which gives it a lighter color.
  • This dish is super versatile so feel free to experiment substituting or adding other chopped veggies, such as celery, cilantro, red bell pepper, or green onions. Or add a little cayenne pepper for a slight kick. 
  • Serve this Israeli Couscous alongside a good soup like Instant Pot White Bean and Corn Soup, or this Kale-Quinoa Salad or Roasted Potato Beet Salad.

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1 cup
  • Calories: 246
  • Sugar: 5.6
  • Sodium: 432.8
  • Fat: 4.4
  • Carbohydrates: 43.5
  • Protein: 9.4

Keywords: pearl israeli couscous, vegan pearl couscous, veggie israeli couscous

Update Notes: This post was originally published in March 2015, but was republished with new photos, step by step instructions, tips, and FAQs in August 2019.

The original recipe used 2 tablespoons of oil (using 1 tablespoon oil to cook the veggies). I omitted the extra 1/4 cup vegetable broth as well. It also did not include the nutritional yeast or the extra tablespoon lemon juice. Everything else is the same with those slight adjustments.

Hi, I'm Christin- thanks for stopping by my happy place! Here you will find healthy, original meat-free recipes. No matter where you are in your health journey, I hope I can help and inspire you. Read more...

14 Comments

  • I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve made this recipe. It’s simple, quick, and delicious. Best part is I usually always have the ingredients on hand. Love it!!!

    Reply
    • Wow thank you Cherianne! I’m really happy you love this recipe! =)

      Reply
    • Can I sub veggie broth for chicken broth?

      Reply
      • And make a day ahead?

      • Yes, it will taste great the next day. =) Thanks!

      • Hi Lynn, you sure can!

  • Good recipe. It’s like veggie fried rice except with couscous instead of rice. Served it with soy glazed salmon.

    Reply
    • Thank you Brenda! That makes me happy you love it. =)

      Reply
  • I was afraid this would be bland, but it is actually delicious! The flavors aren’t very strong, but it still tastes really good and feels light. I added celery as well and might try adding some cucumber and maybe even cilantro next time. I’m excited to try more of your recipes! Thanks!

    Reply
    • Yay, thanks Annie! So glad you liked it! =)

      Reply
  • This is so delicious, Christin! I added some chopped celery to the carrot, onion, garlic mixture. The extra crunch was good. I’ll definitely be making this one again. Thank you!

    Reply
    • Yay thank you for letting me know Peggy! So very happy you liked it. 🙂

      Reply
  • Made this last night with added diced grilled halloumi. It came together super quick and was very tasty.

    Reply
    • Thanks Kelly, so happy you liked it! =)

      Reply

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