Israeli Couscous is a fantastic base for many different vegan recipes. Technically, israeli couscous is a pasta. The pasta is shaped into tiny balls or large rice-like grains, and then lightly toasted. You can also find it going by the name ptitim (Hebrew for “flakes”) or Jerusalem couscous. It’s all the same product. Much like traditional pastas, israeli couscous can be dressed up in an infinite number of ways!
Today, I decided to spice up my Israeli couscous with some fresh vegetables and a delicious cilantro-jalapeno dressing. I admit the dressing was a bit of an experiment, but it turned out to be a really tasty addition! It can be hard to find completely vegan dressings that are still loaded with flavor, so I can’t wait to try this one out in more vegan dishes.
I started off by simply cooking the israeli couscous according to the package directions. It’s really simple – like cooking pasta. Mine took about 20 minutes on the stove top. While that was cooking, I chopped and sautéed some sweet onions and bell peppers to mix in with the couscous. You could experiment with other veggies in this dish too. I bet it would be great with shallots, scallions, or tomatoes.
Honestly, it was pretty delicious just like this – even without any dressing. But I wanted a little more kick. So I moved on to experimenting with the sauce. I had some fresh cilantro and jalapeños available, so I tossed them in the food processor with a couple cloves of garlic and olive oil. Seasoned with salt and pepper, and I had a pretty fantastic (and healthy) vegan dressing.
The sauce would be amazing over simple grilled vegetables, or as a sandwich spread too! It’s really very versatile and could be incorporated into a ton of vegan dishes. Mixed with the couscous, it was a delicious, light, and healthy vegan meal. This will also make an awesome vegan side dish for all the upcoming summer barbecues!
Yields 4 servings
- Israeli Couscous - 1.5 cup
- Cilantro - 2 cups, fresh
- Jalapeño Peppers - 2, seeded
- Garlic - 2 cloves, peeled
- Bell pepper - 1
- Yellow onion - 1/2
- Olive Oil
- Black Pepper
- Prepare the Israeli Couscous according to package directions. When finished cooking, fluff with a fork and set aside.
- Meanwhile, heat a drizzle of olive oil over medium heat in a large frying pan. Add the peppers and onions and sauté 5-7 minutes until softened and slightly browned. Remove from heat and add the vegetables to the couscous.
- In a food processor, combine the garlic, cilantro, jalapeños, and 1/4 cup olive oil. Blend until you have a smooth dressing. Add more olive oil if needed. Season with salt and pepper, and mix well one more time.
- Mix the dressing into the couscous and vegetables until well combined. Serve.
If you give it a try, let me know what you think! And if you need a mores hearty meal, this Israeli couscous would be amazing paired with some hot vegan buffalo wings (made from seitan). Yum. Can’t wait for tailgate season!