Pearl couscous, also called israeli couscous, is similar to regular couscous in that it’s a small, whole grain-like food made from semolina or wheat flour. While I’ve always seen it labeled as Israeli couscous, others might know it as “pearl couscous”, “Jerusalem couscous”, or, as it is known in Israel, “ptitim”.

Because of its size, pearl couscous has a slightly chewy texture, similar to barley, and, because it’s toasted, it has a slightly nutty flavor. Like other whole grains, however, Israeli couscous is rather bland on it’s own, and needs to be prepared with seasonings, spices, sauces or fresh herbs.

Pearl couscous is made from wheat flour therefore it is not a gluten-free food though it is vegetarian and vegan. Pearl couscous also has a low glycemic index, making it a healthy and high-fiber food.

Now let me show you how to make pearl couscous.

1 cup almond milk
½ cup low-sodium chicken broth
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 large fennel bulb (about 1 pound), stalks discarded, cored, and thinly sliced
1 yellow or Vidalia onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, smashed and chopped
½ cup pine nuts
1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1 cup pearl couscous
2 scallions, thinly sliced
Juice of 2 lemons

1. In a medium saucepan, bring the almond milk and broth to a simmer over medium heat on a back burner. Meanwhile, on a front burner, heat the oil in another medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the fennel, onion, garlic, pine nuts, and coconut. Cook about 2 minutes, then add the couscous and cook, stirring vigorously, until toasted and golden brown. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Remove from the heat and transfer the couscous mixture to a large bowl.

2. Pour the hot almond milk-broth mixture over the couscous in the bowl. Stir in the scallions and fluff the couscous with a fork. Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and let the couscous steam until all of the liquid is absorbed, about 20 minutes.

3. Remove the plastic wrap and sprinkle the couscous with the lemon juice. If the couscous turns out too al dente for your taste, return it to the saucepan, add ½ cup water, and cook on medium-high heat until it reaches the desired texture.

4. Enjoy

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