My husband almost had to bring out the straight-jacket. He pretends he doesn't know me when I start to do my happy-dance in the middle of a grocery store aisle. We were in California for a holiday and, as one must do when in California, we made a stop at Trader Joe's. Why, oh why, hasn't Trader Joe's come to Utah? Oh, the humanity! When I saw the boxes of Israeli couscous sitting on the shelf, I started to pull out all of my best moves - the sprinkler, the M.C. Hammer, and even a little Electric Slide. It was not one of my finer moments.
Israeli couscous, also known as pearl couscous, is significantly larger than its traditional cousin. It has a pleasing, chewing consistency, reminiscent of orzo. When toasted, it takes on a rich, nutty flavor that perfectly compliments grilled vegetables. Of course, Israeli couscous is not only available at Trader Joe's. It can be found in many specialty stores and well-stocked supermarkets.
In a small bowl, combine ¼ cup balsamic vinegar, ½ teaspoon Dijon mustard, and 1 clove of chopped garlic; whisk together. While continuously whisking, slowly pour in ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil.
Season with salt and pepper, and set aside.
Trim ½ pound green beans.
Cut 1 medium-sized and 1 medium-sized yellow squash into quarters lengthwise.
Quarter and seed one red bell pepper.
Place all of the vegetables in a large dish and toss with half of the balsamic vinegar mixture.
Let the vegetables rest for 15 minutes. Don't they look happy?
Preheat the grill to medium-high heat.
Brush the grill lightly with oil. Place all of the vegetables on the grill, setting the green beans on a vegetable rack. If you don't have a vegetable rack, you can either put the green beans directly on the grill, which may be an exercise in frustration, or saute them in a skillet.
Cook until the vegetables are just cooked through. The green beans will be done before the rest of the vegetables, so be certain to watch them closely.
Remove the vegetables from the grill and cut the zucchini, yellow squash, and red bell pepper into ½-inch pieces, and place them in a large bowl with the green beans. The smell was absolutely glorious!
Heat 1 ¾ cups vegetable broth in small saucepan.
Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a medium saucepan set over medium-high heat. Add 8 oz. Israeli couscous and stir constantly until the couscous is lightly golden brown.
Slowly pour in the heated broth, reduce the heat to medium-low and cover. Cook until the couscous is al dente, about 12 minutes. If you find that the couscous is not quite done, but not all of the liquid is absorbed, add 1-2 tablespoons of hot water and cook until the liquid is absorbed.
Pour the couscous into the bowl with the vegetables, along with ¼ cup basil chiffonade (simply roll the leaves and thinly slice) and 2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley.
Pour in some of the remaining vinaigrette. I used about half of it, but pour in as much you like, to your taste.
Spoon into a serving dish and garnish with a sprig of fresh basil.
What a nice way to enjoy summer vegetables!
I first tried couscous at a fantastic Moroccan restaurant in Toronto. I tried to make it at home using the PC boxed version. Blech! I should try Israeli couscous because your dish looks fabulous.
Awesome! The pic itself is a feast for the eyes!
This looks scrum-dilly-icious! I've never heard of this Israeli cous cous that you speak of. The closest Trader Joe's is a 30 minute drive from here. 🙁 I can't believe they don't have one here.
Anne Louise Klein
Oh I can't wait to try this!
After leaving Trader Joe's behind in CA 10 years ago, they opened a store in Richmond...so I know exactly how exciting it can be to browse the isles again!
So many people I know love Trader Joe's! Maybe they'll see your post and open one in Utah. Love the recipe and your photos. Looks colorful and tasty! I'd love to direct our Foodista readers to your blog. If that's okay, just add your choice of widget to this post and you're all set!
This looks absolutely delicious. Its the perfect summer recipe! YUMMM
Trader Joe's should be available to all I'm sure it will come soon enough. We love Israeli couscous! We made this awesome sausage dish with it.
This cous cous looks absolutely delicious!! So colorful adn looks soo fresh. Have always wanted to try out making couscous...can't wait! Thanks for the recipe.
By the way, made your Thai Pizza for a party I had a couple weeks ago and it was a BIG hit! 🙂
Well worht the wait for Israeli couscous:D
I'm doing the hammer dance with ya and throwin in a kid'n play! Looks marvelous! We don't have a Trader Joes in Iowa either!! I'm going to be on the look out for this Israeli couscous! Thanks for sharing 🙂
Very summery!!I haven't tried Israeli couscous yet. That's another thing I have to add to my list of ingredients. Looks really delicious!!!
Like Miranda, I've made couscous before but I haven't liked it. I think I'll give this a try. It looks so beautiful! Thank you.
So pretty! We don't have Trader Joe's here in Texas either, so I feel your pain. I love finding those "exotic" ingredients when shopping at different groceries! I would have been dancing in the aisles too.
What a cool lookin' vegetable grill you have there....I keep hearing about Trader Joe's too...not sure why it's not here in Utah, either!
Thank you for all of your comments.
Miranda, the texture and taste of Israeli couscous is significantly different than traditional couscous. The traditional has a grainy texture, while the Israeli has the texture and taste of pasta (which it is).
I long for a Trader Joe's in Utah too! Wished I'd been there for the happy dance. I've been known to dance too! Such a healthy, delicious summer meal!
Great recipe for summer time. Very healthy and a good way to eat vegetables, thanks for sharing
Hey there! I made Cous Cous before and did not like it, but this makes me want to try again. It looks fantastic!!!!
I love lots and lots of veggies!