About Toasted Israeli Couscous with Zucchini

Alex and I used to wander into the UC at Tulane University round about lunch time and every now and again we'd hit the jackpot: Greek Salad Day. Greek Salad Day was the best day of all the days because (a) the Greek salads were ridiculously awesome, and (2) South Park.

Do what now?

Alex and I used to wander around Tulane University quoting Eric Cartmen INORDINATELY, particularly the classic line, "YEAH I WANT CHEESY POOFS!", because yeah, I would like some cheesy poofs, please. And so one fateful day Alex and I were waiting patiently in line, side by side in the UC at Tulane University, watching our ridiculously awesome Greek salads being constructed. And I don't remember which of us said it, but I do remember that the nice lady behind the counter was certainly not expecting her innocent query, "Would you like some couscous?" to be answered with "YEAH I WANT COUSCOUS!" Because yeah, we would like some couscous, please.

This is not that kind of couscous. My boyfriend does not like that kind of couscous. And I don't know, maybe it's because he's Jewish or something, but the only couscous he likes is Israeli couscous, even though he only had Israeli couscous for the first time, like, three months ago.

What is Israeli couscous? Why, it's a unique Mediterranean toasted pasta specialty. Don't believe me? Fine, see for yourself:

Israeli couscous is also ridiculously awesome, because really it's just pasta, but it's tender and chewy and completely unlike pasta. Plus you can add all kinds of things to it, like zucchini for instance! So for four servings, you'll need:
  • 1 large zucchini, cut into small cubes
  • 1 cup Israeli couscous
  • 1 1/4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 medium garlic cloves, minced
  • Olive oil, salt, and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons of assorted fresh herbs, minced
Once you have your mis en place all placed,

heat up a tablespoon or so of extra virgin olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat until it gets all shimmery and starts to smoke. Then add your zucchini (or summer squash or bell pepper or eggplant or heck, all of the above), a pinch of salt, some freshly cracked black pepper, and a couple shakes of any other seasonings you like (like cumin or coriander or paprika or heck, all of the above). Then saute that down until your zucchini has lost a lot of its liquid and is starting to brown all up. Sort of like it went to the beach and got a suntan. Only not like that at all. Shut up, Kat.

(This should only take a couple minutes.)

Dump all that zucchini onto a plate.

Return your pan to the heat and maybe add a drop or two of oil if you think you need it, then dump in your onions with another pinch of salt and some freshly cracked black pepper, and saute that until it is softened and starting to brown, not AT ALL like it went to the beach and got a suntan.

(This should only take a few minutes.)

Next up, add in your garlic and your couscous, and toast that all up for about a minute.

Oh yeah, stick your chicken broth in the microwave for a minute or two until it boils. Then pour it into the pan and stir everything up, making sure you scrape up any fond from the bottom of the pan.

Turn your heat down to low and slap a lid on that baby, and let it simmer away for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Your couscous should absorb pretty much all of the liquid, making it slightly chewy but not hard.

Return your sauteed zucchini to the pan and dump in your herbs.

Give it healthy stir to incorporate all of your ingredients, put the lid back on your pan, and let that heat back up for a minute or two more. And just like that (well, not JUST like that, but close enough), you are ready to serve.

(Oh, and I find a squidge of lemon over everything really brightens things up, kind of like going to the beach and . . . oh, never mind.)


  1. I really, really need to hear you say, "I WANT CHEESY POOFS!"

  2. I heart that quote. I used to walk around saying, "No, kitty, THIS IS MAH POT PIE!" which never made sense in any context but whatever.

    I also like that you put a squidge of lemon on stuff. I like lemons.

  3. h!a! - it's basically just what i sound like drunk: loud and obnoxious.

    jennie! - that's a good one too! i also used to tell bitches to shut up and knit me a sweater, but that was before i learned how to knit.

  4. I saw the title and was planning to comment "Yeah, I want some coucous!" But you beat me to it. AWESOME.

  5. Damn dude, that looks super delicious.

  6. I've never tried Israeli couscous, but I use regular couscous frequently, also quinoa, to make similar pilaf-type sides. Where do you get the Israeli kind?

  7. jake - it was!

    shari - in the kosher section of the grocery store, usually.