This pearl couscous recipe is made bright with lemon, fresh with dill and cucumber, and exciting with feta crumbles! It’s a perfect side dish for any spring meal and takes just 20 minutes to make, with just a little cooling time for the couscous!
I used turmeric couscous which gives the pearls a gentle, spiced flavor. Turmeric couscous is easy to find, but just in case you can’t find it already spiced, it’s simple to add a little turmeric to your plain couscous too.
Why This Recipe is Special
You can make it a whole day ahead of time – This recipe tastes freshest when made within 8-12 hours of serving, but it’s still tasty, made a whole day ahead. You just need to store it in a sealed container, give it a little shake to unstick it a bit before serving, and serve cold.
It will last nicely if refrigerated for 5 days – I wouldn’t make it 5 days ahead of serving for a party, as it’s not at peak freshness, but it will still be good if refrigerated in a sealed container for 5 days.
It’s a filling side dish that complements so many proteins nicely – I love to serve this recipe with lamb chops, salmon, pork chops, shrimp, scallops and even lobster! It’s quite filling so it’s great for a recipe where you don’t want the protein to be substantial like scallops, or more expensive meats like lamb.
turmeric pearl couscous – the couscous I used was already a turmeric couscous but if you can only find plain, simply add ½ tsp. turmeric powder to the water when you boil.
lemon – If you’re making this recipe the night before serving, I suggest adding a little bit more lemon juice just before serving, because the flavor tends to dissipate when refrigerated for more than 4-5 hours. Just a teaspoon will do.
red onion – I used red onion for this recipe, but you can substitute shallot if you wish.
How to Make This Recipe – Step by Step
1. Follow instructions for pearl couscous on packaging (usually bringing water to a boil and boiling couscous for 8-15 minutes). Add 2 tbsp. olive oil. Once finished, place in a sealed container. Refrigerate for at least a half-hour to cool.
2. While couscous cools, finely chop 1 tbsp. fresh dill. Place in mixing bowl.
3. Finely chop 1 tbsp. fresh parsley. Place in mixing bowl.
4. Dice ½ cucumber. Place in mixing bowl.
5. Dice ½ small red onion. Place in mixing bowl.
6. Once couscous is cool, gently break it up with a spoon in the container if it has stuck together while cooling. Add it to the mixing bowl with vegetables, 3 tbsp. crumbed feta, 2½ tbsp. fresh lemon juice and 2 tbsp. olive oil. Give it a gentle stir and serve.
A Few Common Questions
Simply add ½ tsp. turmeric powder to boiling water when making the couscous, and stir.
Certainly. Just be sure to follow the specific instructions for standard couscous instead of pearl couscous.
It will last in the fridge for 5 days, but if you’re serving to guests, I would make it no more than 12 hours ahead of time for peak freshness.
Pearl couscous, also called Israeli couscous, is a larger size than traditional couscous, takes a little longer to make, and is less “fluffy” and more “chewy.” In a way, it’s more “pasta-like” than standard couscous because it’s thicker – a little bit like tiny gnocchi.
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Now Help Yourself to More Tasty Side Dishes!
Lemon Turmeric Pearl Couscous
- pot – to boil couscous
- cutting board and sharp knife
- mixing bowl
- 1 cup turmeric pearl couscous
- 1½ cups water
- ½ cucumber – diced
- ½ small red onion – diced
- 3 tbsp. crumbed feta
- 1 tbsp. parsley – finely chopped
- 1 tbsp. dill – finely chopped
- 4 tbsp. olive oil
- 2½ tbsp. fresh lemon juice
- Follow instructions for pearl couscous on packaging (usually bringing water to a boil and boiling couscous for 8-15 minutes). Add 2 tbsp. olive oil. Once finished, place in a sealed container. Refrigerate for at least a half hour to cool.
- While couscous cools, finely chop 1 tbsp. fresh dill and 1 tbsp. fresh parsley. Dice ½ cucumber and ½ small red onion. Place cut vegetables in a mixing bowl.
- Once couscous is cool, gently break it up with a spoon in the container if it has stuck together while cooling. Add it to the mixing bowl with vegetables, 3 tbsp. crumbed feta, 2½ tbsp. fresh lemon juice and 2 tbsp. olive oil. Give it a gentle stir and serve.