Citrus Olive Couscous

By • February 10, 2011 22 Comments

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Author Notes: It was impossible not to conjure up images of olive and citrus groves with this week's contest ingredients. I knew I wanted to bring them together over pasta. Which citrus fruit, which type of pasta, what other embellishment were the questions I had to work out. In the end after a few trials, going simple and keeping it pure gave the best results. vegetarianirvana

Serves 3-4

  • 1 tablespoon light olive oil
  • 1 cup Israeli couscous
  • 1 3/4 cups OJ, freshly sqeezed or store-bought (without pulp)
  • 12 salty, pitted green marinated olives, divided
  • 2 tablespoons finely minced sweet yellow onions
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • A couple of sprigs of lemon thyme leaves (optional)
  1. Toast the couscous in 1/2 tablespoon of oil, till it turns nutty brown all over, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the orange juice and stir till the the liquid starts bubbling. Add the salt to taste (I added 1/2 teaspoon). Reduce the heat to a simmer, and put a tight fitting lid on the pot and cook for about 10 minutes. Halfway through, stir to release any couscous sticking to the bottom and cover again.
  2. While that is cooking, roughly chop 10 of the olives. To it add the finely minced onions, the remaining 1/2 tablespoon of oil and black pepper (I added almost 1/4 teaspoon). This is the dressing. Slice the remaining 2 olives into rings for final decoration.
  3. Once the couscous is cooked al dente, fluff it up so it doesn't stick together and add the dressing, mix well, adjust salt to taste. Add the olive rings and the lemon thyme leaves if using.
  4. The sweetness of the orange juice contrasts beautifully with the saltiness of the olives and I love the little lemony bursts from the thyme in every mouthful.

More Great Recipes: Rice & Grains|Side Dishes

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Comments (22) Questions (1)


5 months ago J Hu

I followed the recipe exactly and it was delicious. Everyone loved it. I went well with the beef tenderloin roast I made.


5 months ago vegetarianirvana

Thank you!


over 1 year ago Katie

I made this tonight and loved it! It's the perfect weeknight side with lots of flavor and convenient pantry staples. Thank you for sharing; I'll be making this often.


over 1 year ago vegetarianirvana

Thank you for trying it, so glad you liked it.


over 1 year ago LeeLeeBee

I used fregola sarda instead of Israeli couscous, which took about 20 minutes to cook through. My orange juice was fairly concentrated, and so the end result was too sweet and sticky - my boyfriend called it "candied couscous." I think next time I will use 3/4 cups OJ and 1 cup of water, but the olive oil, onion, and olive flavors in this dish are really great additions.


over 1 year ago vegetarianirvana

That's a great idea to cut the OJ with water. There is definitely a sweet undertone for sure which I love but may not work for others. Thanks for trying my recipe.


about 2 years ago vegetarianirvana

You reminded me of this dish, so I made it today. Thanks!


about 2 years ago Hilary G.

I really enjoyed this. Simple, yet a great mix of flavors


about 2 years ago Tamara Hudes Agarwal

Can I make this ahead and serve it at room temp or is it better hot?


about 2 years ago vegetarianirvana

Absolutely, I've even packed this for lunch and picnics. Because this type of cous cous is so starchy it might clump together,so fluff it just before eating.


about 2 years ago Tamara Hudes Agarwal

Great! Thanks so much, I'm going to make it for a party tomorrow!


about 2 years ago I_Fortuna

I just picked up some cous cous and quinoa at the market a couple of days ago and was wondering hoe I would like to fix it. This looks great! I will give it a try!


over 2 years ago pamelalee

I fixed this for dinner tonight and added za'atar in place of thyme. I also sauteed the onion with the couscous. It was light and delicious!


over 2 years ago vegetarianirvana

I make this so often, next time with Za'atar it will be!


over 2 years ago QueenSashy

QueenSashy is a trusted home cook.

Za'atar is a great idea for this dish (and what a wonderful dish by the way). I am having a Middle Eastern themed dinner this Saturday and will be definitely making this one.


about 3 years ago Gwencooks

Wondering if I could use a little preserved lemon in this recipe?


about 3 years ago Ruby Claire

i used some preserved lemon in this today and it was lovely!!


over 3 years ago TheWimpyVegetarian

Made this tonight and piled it into the middle of a huge artichoke. Sooooo good. Thanks for a wonderful and easy recipe!!


over 3 years ago vegetarianirvana

Well, thank you for the wonderful serving idea.


over 3 years ago Julie Davi

This recipe is outstanding. I made it last night and had leftovers today and licked the plate!


over 3 years ago vegetarianirvana

Licking the plate is the ultimate in compliments! Thanks so much.


over 3 years ago Mr. Mike

I plan to try this with quinoa. Sounds like a winner, and the taste profile is right up our alley. Thanks!