Saffron Couscous with Golden Raisins and Toasted Almonds
To keep from getting bored in the kitchen you have to mix up your cooking repertoire.
As a chef, I love and appreciate food from every part of the world.
Today, let’s take a trip around the globe and explore couscous.
What is Couscous?
You may wonder, “What exactly is couscous?”
Well, you may be surprised to learn that technically, it’s a pasta. It’s made from semolina flour and water – the same ingredients that many other pastas are made from.
Its origins can be traced to the region of Northern African that includes Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco. It dates back to the 11th or 12th century, where the Muslim Berbers first prepared it.
It’s mentioned in many early writings, such as a thirteenth-century Muslim cookbook.
And it was a popular food among explorers at that time.
Lebanese, Israeli, and Moroccan Couscous
Today, you’ll find three main kinds of couscous – Lebanese, Israeli, and Morrocan.
They’re all made from the same basic ingredients and all are small and round, but that there are some differences, primarily in size.
Lebanese couscous is the largest of the three.
It’s about a quarter inch in diameter and is typically finished by toasting.
It’s very similar to Israeli couscous, but Israeli couscous is smaller – about the size of a pearl, earning its nickname, “Pearl Couscous”.
Moroccan, or traditional Couscous, is much smaller, resembling a grain, and it’s dried, rather than toasted.
When choosing the correct kind for your meal, remember that the larger the individual grains are, the more squishy and absorbent it will be.
Couscous pairs well with earthy and savory flavors, like broths, herbs and cooked veggies.
Spice Things Up a Little
Dip your toe into the couscous waters with my Saffron Couscous recipe featuring Moroccan couscous and an interesting combination of saffron, almonds, and raisins. Couscous literally cooks in minutes so it’s perfect for weeknight cooking.
The raisins and almonds boost the natural fiber and protein levels of the couscous up a notch along with a decent amount of vitamins and minerals, as well!
After all, the only thing better than a tasty dish is a healthy one!Print
It doesn’t get any quicker or easier to create a side dish for a weeknight meal. And it’s super delicious and goes well with beef, fish, or chicken.
- 1 cup couscous
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup onion, small dice
- 3/4 cup golden raisins
- 1/3 cup sliced almonds, toasted
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
- 2 teaspoons garlic, chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon saffron threads
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- olive oil
- Bring the water and kosher salt to a boil. Add couscous and saffron threads to the pot stir, cover, remove from heat and set aside.
- Heat a skillet over high heat. Add just enough olive oil to the skillet just to coat the bottom and then add the onions. Immediate reduce the heat to medium low then add 1 tablespoon of the butter. Gently sauté the onions until translucent.
- Just as the onions turn translucent, add the garlic and raisins. Continue to sauté until the raisins soften then remove the skillet from the heat.
- Mix the onion mixture into the couscous.
- Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Serving Size: 1 cup
- Calories: 250.38 kcal
- Sugar: 11.81 g
- Sodium: 86.68 mg
- Fat: 8.29 g
- Saturated Fat: 2.92 g
- Trans Fat: 0.16 g
- Carbohydrates: 40.06 g
- Fiber: 3.17 g
- Protein: 5.7 g
- Cholesterol: 10.18 mg