Introduction: Israeli Couscous With Apples, Cranberries, and Herbs

About: I love to spend time in the kitchen to relax and feed those I love with great eats and treats.

A wonderful mix of Israeli Couscous with sweet apples, tart cranberries, crunchy almonds, herbs, and a bright apple cider vinaigrette. This makes a wonderful side dish to roasted meats, soups, stews, and I love eating it for lunch on its own. I often say I could eat this dish daily I love it so much!

Despite the name couscous, Israeli, or pearl, couscous are actually little balls of pasta, this salad is excellent at room temperature or even served cold. 

Slightly adapted from Giada De Laurentiis' recipe found here:

Serves 4 to 6

Step 1: Gather Ingredients

You'll need:

1 Tbsp. olive oil
8 oz. (about 1 1/3 cups) Israeli Couscous 
14 oz. chicken broth (1 3/4 cups), if you want to keep this vegetarian, use vegetable broth or water
2 Tbsp. parsley, finely chopped
1 tsp. rosemary, finely chopped
1 tsp. thyme, finely chopped
1 medium green apple, diced (I love a Granny Smith)
1 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup slivered almonds, toasted

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
2 Tbsp. maple syrup
1 tsp. salt (I use kosher)
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
1/4 tsp. cinnamon, optional
2 Tbsp. olive oil

Step 2: Cook Israeli Couscous; Toast Almonds

For the couscous: In a medium saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the couscous and cook, stirring occasionally until lightly browned, about 3 to 5 minutes.  Add the chicken broth (I usually add a decent sized pinch of salt too) and bring to a boil. Cover, lower heat to medium-low and simmer for 10 to 12 minutes or until the liquid has evaporated. Set aside to cool.

For the almonds: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Arrange the almonds in a single layer on a foil-lined baking sheet. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until golden brown, stirring occasionally. Set aside to cool. (I toast mine in the toaster oven and it only takes about 5 minutes, you could also dry toast them in a skillet over medium heat until golden brown.)

Step 3: Prep Herbs, Apple; Make Dressing

Finely chop the herbs, dice the apple. (I usually peel the apple and slice the apple off the core in quarters, this way I have a flat side for dicing. Slice an apple quarter into 1/8-inch slices, stack them, then make 1/8-inch horizontal cuts, then 1/8-inch lengthwise cuts so you have 1/8-inch dice.) 

For the vinaigrette: In a large bowl, combine the vinegar, maple syrup, cinnamon (if using), salt, and pepper. Whisk in the olive oil until smooth. Add the cranberries and let them sit about 5 minutes so the cranberries soften.

Step 4: Assemble Salad and Enjoy!

Add the apple and herbs to the vinaigrette, mix well. Then add the Israeli couscous and almonds and stir everything until combined. 

As I said, this is wonderful at room temperature, and any leftovers can be covered, refrigerated, and served cold up to 2 days. 

Mangia and enjoy! 

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