I love side dishes that are semi-homemade – with one box of Israeli couscous, fresh tomatoes, garlic and parsley, I was able to turn this into a beautiful side. And I mean beautiful – just look at those colors! In a dreary winter, where I see the sun rise and set on this gray world, vibrant colors are a breath of fresh air.
New to this type of couscous? Israeli couscous is a larger grain than regular couscous – it sort of resemble Pastine pasta.
So what makes this couscous Israeli? Well, there’s quite a history!
Israeli couscous was invented by order of the brand new Israeli government during the 1950’s. Back then the country was struggling for its very existence, including feeding thousands of Jewish refugees who immigrated from displaced Muslim countries. Rice was a staple in their diet, but there was an overwhelming shortage.
To solve this problem, Prime Minister David Ben Gurion approached the country’s food industry with a challenge: make rice out of flour. The challenge was accepted and Israel’s food industry formed pasta dough into little pieces, shaped like rice and pre-roasted so it could be cooked like rice, too. This new product was name ‘ptitim’ or flakes, known as ‘Ben Gurion rice.’
The more you know! 🙂
- 8 ounces Israeli couscous (I used Trader Joe’s Israeli Couscous)
- Chicken broth
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/4 cup grape tomatoes, chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- Salt to taste
- 1/4 cup yellow or white onion, chopped
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 1/4 cup parsley, chopped
- Cook the couscous according to package instructions, substituting chicken broth for water.
- Meanwhile, heat oil over medium heat in a large skillet saute grape tomatoes and onions for about 3-5 minutes or until tender.
- Then add garlic, salt and pepper. Saute for additional 2 minutes.
- Add lemon juice and simmer for 2 minutes.
- Add parsley and cooked couscous. Serve warm.
- I also picture this being an excellent summer side dish, except served cold.