Citrus Israeli Couscous with Asparagus and Cranberries – easy breezy pasta pearls make for a quick great base for any dinner salad.
Couscous whether pearl or grainy is simple and easy to make. But as with any pasta or grain it is very bland and in need of a flavor boost. This can be achieved in many ways, and in this recipe I employ several methods resulting in a light, fresh, and exciting dish that deceptively appears complicated though it isn’t at all.
Though it is an easy recipe it does require some planning ahead. Sundays are my prep/work days in which I make all my standby flavor enhancers. These are pantry or larder items like sauces, pickled or fermented vegetables, infused oils, etc. My approach to cooking is put in the time to build an arsenal of flavor enhancers ahed of time. Then during the busy weeks make very simple dishes and rely on my larder items to make them exciting and flavorful.
This citrus Israeli couscous with asparagus and cranberries is an example of this process. Couscous by itself is just a boil and eat ingredient. I enhanced the couscous with pickled red onions and poached dried cranberries. The cranberries makes this a magical dish. The poaching makes them plump and juicy, priming them for a mighty burst when you bite down into them. They are crazy delicious and fun like edible pop rocks we used to eat as kids, so try not to pick them all out of the dish and eat them alone. The only other key ingredient was leftover grilled asparagus click here for recipe. I knew I’d be grilling asparagus so cooked enough for two meals and reserved a portion for this dish. This recipe has it all – color, falvor, texture, and aroma provided by cooking the couscous in orange juice vs. your normal plain water.
Citrus Israeli Couscous Meal Planning and Cooking Tips
- Asparagus, after being cooked, will last from three to five days in the refrigerator. Refrigerate promptly in an airtight container. Cooked asparagus may be frozen and will keep indefinitely, but for best quality, use before 10 months.
- Israeli Couscous is such a versatile dish you can make a large batch ahead of time, refrigerate, then during the week add other ingredients to make a dish. The pearls work just like pasta so you can use in a cold pasta salad or with cheesy ingredients for a quick side
- For a bit more flavor, toast the dried pearls for a minute or two in a skillet before cooking
Citrus Israeli Couscous
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Dope beats, fresh eats, best life. Enjoy this colorful and delicious Citrus Israeli Couscous as a weeknight dinner side or main dish.
Citrus Israeli Couscous With Asparagus and Cranberries
Israeli couscous cooked in orange juice broth and topped with pickled red onions, grilled asparagus, and plump, juicy poached cranberries.
- 1 cup water
- 2/3 cup orange juice
- 1 1/3 cups pearl couscous
Pickled red onions Ingredients
- 1 cups sliced red onion
- 1 clove garlic
- 3 Tbsp white sugar
- 1 Tbsp salt
- 1/2 tsp peppercorns
- 1 cup white vinegar
Grilled asparagus Ingredients
- 1 pound asparagus trimmed
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 lemon
Wine soaked cranberries Ingredients
- 1 cup white wine
- 1 cup dried cranberries
In a medium saucepan, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil.
Add the couscous and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until lightly golden, about 3 minutes.
Add water and orange juice, cover and cook over low heat until the couscous is tender and all of the liquid is absorbed, about 10 minutes.
Transfer the couscous to a bowl. Stir in the remaining ingredients, season with salt and pepper, garnish with fresh herbs and serve.
Red Onions Instructions
Thinly slice the red onion and peel the garlic. Place the onion and garlic in a large glass.
Add the sugar, salt, and peppercorns to a small sauce pan. Add the vinegar and stir until the sugar and salt are dissolved. Place a lid on the pot and bring the mixture up to a boil over medium-high heat.
Once boiling, pour the vinegar over the sliced onion and garlic. Press the onion down so all the pieces are submerged, then let the mixture cool to room temperature.
Transfer the onions and vinegar mixture to a lidded glass jar for storage in the refrigerator. The onions can be stored in the refrigerator for 3-4 weeks.
Grilled Asparagus Instructions
Preheat grill for high heat.
Lightly coat the asparagus spears with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Grill over high heat for 2 to 3 minutes, or to desired tenderness. Drizzle with lemon juice.
Wine Soaked Cranberries Instructions
Put the cranberries in a jar. Bring the wine to a boil in a small saucepan. Pour over the cranberries and let cool to room temperature. Let stand for 30 minutes, or cover and refrigerate for up to 1 month.