Easy Israeli Couscous with Preserved Lemons

This is a truly Make It Your Own dish, pick the ingredients you have on hand, and you’re sure to create a winning side dish with this recipe! Add in chick peas and make it a meal. The only ingredient that really makes this dish, and there is no substitute for, is the preserved lemon. Of course, you can use fresh lemons, but you won’t have that exotic taste we’re looking for here. If you’re like me and make most of your ingredients yourself, you can make your own, or buy them in a specialty market.

Israeli couscous is actually small pasta balls. If you can’t find them, and just need to make this salad, you can substitute another small pasta, or regular couscous. Try ditalini, small shells, orzo and even alphabets. That is sure to be a hit with the kids! Since this is a Make It Your Own dish,  you can use different fresh herbs, if it’s summer, whatever you have in your garden will work. Try mint, or Thai basil or cilantro, or a mixture. Any dried fruit will balance out the lemon, cranberries, blueberries, cherries, apricots are all good. The nuts can be whatever you have on hand, and again, use a mixture if you want to clean out your cupboard. Almonds, cashews, hazelnuts and pistachios are all delicious and will give you that added crunch. Toast them to bring out the flavor.

Leftovers make a great lunch cold or reheated the next day. If you plan on leftovers as a salad, I would use olive oil instead of butter as it can get kind of clumpy when cold. Unless  you ‘re heating it up.

Lemon Israeli Couscous

Easy Israeli Couscous with Preserved Lemons

Course Appetizer/Starter, Lunch, Side Dish, World Recipes
Cuisine Middle Eastern, Moroccan
Servings 4 people


  • 1 Preserved lemon
  • 1/2 cup Chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 tbsp Unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup Diced dried fruit any combination of cherries, cranberries, apricots, prunes, or raisins
  • 1/2 cup Unsalted nuts, toasted see note Coarsely chopped or left whole
  • 3/4 tsp Sea salt or kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp Ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/4 cups Israeli couscous or another small pasta
  • Freshly ground black pepper


  • Rinse the preserved lemon. Cut in quarters and squeeze out the juice into a large bowl. Add the rest of the ingredients except the couscous. Set aside.
  • Bring a pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the couscous and cook according to the package instructions. Drain and add it to the bowl of fruits and nuts, stirring until the butter is melted, if using, and all the ingredients are mixed in.
  • Taste for seasoning, the lemon is salty, so you shouldn't need much salt. Add pepper to taste.


To toast the nuts, put whole nuts in a cast iron or no stick skillet over medium heat. Cook for a few minutes stirring very often until you start to smell them. Put them in a bowl to cool. Don't leave them in the skillet, as they will continue to cook and may burn. Coarsely chop when cool.
Keyword Cinnamon, couscous, herbs, Lemons, middle eastern

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