Israeli Couscous with Saffron, Olives, and Spring Vegetables Recipe | Vegetarian Times Skip to main content

Israeli Couscous with Saffron, Olives, and Spring Vegetables

Oil-cured Moroccan olives, such as Beldi, add a distinct, salty flavor to this dish. For a milder taste, use kalamata olives.



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2 cups dry Israeli couscous
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4 tsp. canola oil
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2 bulbs fennel, slivered, grated, or finely chopped (1 cup)
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1 medium leek, white and pale green parts finely chopped (½ cup)
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6 cloves garlic, chopped (2 Tbs.)
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½ cup dry white wine
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2 cups shelled fresh or frozen peas
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1 cup low-sodium vegetable broth
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4 plum tomatoes, chopped (1 cup)
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2 0.25-g. pkg. saffron threads
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2 cups baby arugula leaves
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½ cup chopped, pitted oil-cured or kalamata olives
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3 Tbs. olive oil


1. Prepare couscous according to package directions. Set aside.

2. Heat canola oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add fennel, leek, and garlic, and cook 3 to 5 minutes, or until lightly browned.

3. Stir in wine, and cook 1 minute to deglaze pan. Add peas, and let wine reduce 1 minute more, then add broth. Add couscous, tomatoes, and saffron; season with salt and pepper, if desired. Cover, and let stand 5 minutes. Stir in arugula, and remove from heat. Season with salt and pepper, if desired.

4. Spoon into bowls, then top with olives, olive oil, and basil.

Nutrition Information: 

9 g
Total Fat: 
13 g
Saturated Fat: 
2 g
49 g
0 mg
204 mg
6 g
6 g
Serves 6

Comments on this Recipe

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My husband and I both loved this! switched the couscous for farro and peas for edamame for more protein. The flavors were great! I'm not even a fan of fennel and I was surprised at how much I liked this dish! I'll be making it again and again. I ate the leftovers cold and that was just as good too!

I used this recipe to finish off some Israeli Couscous I had. It was sort of bland and I kept adding salt and wine to try and give it some flavor. I think it would be better if you cooked it with the veggies instead of adding it in precooked, it never took on the flavors and became mushy. Was so excited, hopefully others have better luck!

i think there is a little problem with using this recipe as an example of a whole grain dish. Couscous is not a whole grain. It's made from ground-up wheat that's turned into a paste, just like pasta. The little spheres look like grains, but that's an illusion. Most couscous is made from refined flour, but whole wheat couscous is also available. But no couscous is actually an intact whole grain.