Israeli couscous is larger—about the size of small pearls, thus its other name, pearl couscous—and denser than North African couscous. The addition of acorn squash turns it into hearty vegetarian main or a substantial side dish. If you like, replace the acorn squash with kabocha.
Israeli Couscous with Mint, Feta and Roasted Squash
- 1 Tbs. chopped fresh sage
- Kosher salt
- 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp. chili powder
- 1 tsp. freshly ground pepper
- 2 acorn squash, about 2 1/2 lb (1.25 kg) total weight
- Extra-virgin olive oil for brushing and drizzling
- 2 cups (12 oz/375 g) Israeli couscous
- 6 oz. (185 g) feta cheese, crumbled
- 3/4 cup (3 oz/90 g) toasted almonds
- 1/4 cup (1/4 oz/7 g) minced fresh mint, plus sprigs for garnish
1. Preheat an oven to 350°F (180°C). In a small bowl, combine the sage, 1 tsp. salt, the cinnamon, chili powder and pepper and mix well.
2. Cut the squash crosswise into rings about 1 inch (2.5 cm) thick and discard the seeds. Brush the cut sides with olive oil, then rub with the sage mixture. Arrange the rings on a baking sheet. Roast until lightly browned and easily pierced with a knife, about 1 hour. Peel and cut each ring into 4 sections.
3. Place the couscous in a colander and rinse with cold water. Cook according to the package directions. Transfer the cooked couscous to a warmed platter. Drizzle with a little olive oil and fluff gently to separate the grains. Season to taste with salt.
4. To serve, sprinkle the couscous with the feta, almonds and minced mint. Turn gently to distribute the ingredients, then fold in the squash and garnish with the mint sprigs. Serve warm or at room temperature. Serves 8.
Couples will find inspiring ideas for everything from weeknight suppers to Saturday dinner parties in our Newlywed Cookbook.