Lemon Israeli Couscous

Israeli couscous is different from the North African version, which has a more fine-grained, fluffy texture. Also known as Middle Eastern couscous, Israeli couscous has larger, pearl-like balls that cook up with a chewy texture that is similar to pasta.–Renée Behnke

Lemon Israeli Couscous Recipe

  • Quick Glance
  • 20 M
  • 40 M
  • Makes 8 servings


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped yellow onion
  • 1 1/2 cups Israeli couscous
  • 2 cups homemade chicken stock or top-quality canned chicken broth, or more if needed
  • 1 cup frozen petite peas
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh mint
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper


  • 1. Heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring, for 2 to 3 minutes, until tender and aromatic. Stir in the couscous and cook for 2 to 3 minutes longer, until evenly coated with oil and lightly toasty in aroma. Add the stock and bring to a boil. Cover, decrease the heat to low, and simmer for 12 to 14 minutes, until tender.
  • 2. Stir the peas, mint, lemon zest, lemon juice, parsley, and extra-virgin olive oil into the couscous, then season to taste with salt and pepper. Cook the couscous, stirring, over medium-low heat until the mint and lemon are aromatic, 2 to 3 minutes longer. The couscous should be tender and the mixture fluffy, not soupy. If it is too dry, add a few tablespoons more stock or water.

Menu Ideas

  • This is my favorite accompaniment to Lamb Shanks Tagine with Preserved Lemon though its bright, lemony-minty flavor would also be delicious alongside Halibut with Nut Crust and Apple Vinaigrette.
  • Do-Ahead Tips
  • The couscous continues to absorb liquid after cooking, so will be at its best made not more than an hour in advance. You may need to add a little more stock or water to keep it from clumping together. Reheat gently over low heat before serving.
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