Citrus Olive Couscous

February 10, 2011
2 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
  • Serves 3-4
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

What You'll Need
  • 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.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Katie
  • LeeLeeBee
  • Tamara Hudes Agarwal
    Tamara Hudes Agarwal
  • I_Fortuna
  • pamelalee

23 Reviews

elle October 16, 2017
Can I make this without the Olives? I'm not a fan of olives....
J H. March 29, 2015
I followed the recipe exactly and it was delicious. Everyone loved it. I went well with the beef tenderloin roast I made.
vegetarianirvana March 29, 2015
Thank you!
Katie January 9, 2014
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.
vegetarianirvana January 9, 2014
Thank you for trying it, so glad you liked it.
LeeLeeBee December 3, 2013
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.
vegetarianirvana December 3, 2013
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.
vegetarianirvana August 9, 2013
You reminded me of this dish, so I made it today. Thanks!
Hilary G. August 9, 2013
I really enjoyed this. Simple, yet a great mix of flavors
Tamara H. July 19, 2013
Can I make this ahead and serve it at room temp or is it better hot?
vegetarianirvana July 19, 2013
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.
Tamara H. July 19, 2013
Great! Thanks so much, I'm going to make it for a party tomorrow!
I_Fortuna July 3, 2013
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!
pamelalee February 27, 2013
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!
vegetarianirvana February 27, 2013
I make this so often, next time with Za'atar it will be!
QueenSashy April 18, 2013
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.
Gwencooks August 2, 2012
Wondering if I could use a little preserved lemon in this recipe?
Ruby C. August 7, 2012
i used some preserved lemon in this today and it was lovely!!
TheWimpyVegetarian January 19, 2012
Made this tonight and piled it into the middle of a huge artichoke. Sooooo good. Thanks for a wonderful and easy recipe!!
vegetarianirvana January 19, 2012
Well, thank you for the wonderful serving idea.
Julie D. January 6, 2012
This recipe is outstanding. I made it last night and had leftovers today and licked the plate!
vegetarianirvana January 19, 2012
Licking the plate is the ultimate in compliments! Thanks so much.
Mr. M. January 3, 2012
I plan to try this with quinoa. Sounds like a winner, and the taste profile is right up our alley. Thanks!