Lemon and Parsley Couscous Pearls

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This lemon and parsley couscous pearls is a quick and easy side dish with a ton of Mediterranean flavor. It takes less than 20 minutes to make and only 6 ingredients. 

Couscous has been a quite trendy ingredient in the past years. The most known version is the tiny couscous that resembles quinoa grains in size. But I like pearl couscous way more. 

But not many people know how to properly cook couscous. It’s all about ratios.

The right ratio to cook couscous is the same as rice: 2 parts of water per 1 of couscous. Even when couscous is closer to pasta than to rice or quinoa, the semolina makes it more resistant to cooking and it doesn’t get as soft and sticky as regular pasta. 

For me, the texture of the pearl couscous is like a sturdier and less sticky pastina. 

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How to cook lemony pearl couscous? 

The first thing is to melt some butter with lemon zest. I like to add the zest at the start so the couscous can absorb the flavor early on. 

Then I add the pearl couscous, the water, and salt. I let it boil and as soon as it starts boiling, I lower the heat to low and cover with a lid. 

This way the couscous will cook gently and there are fewer chances to burn the couscous at the bottom of the pan. 

After 10 – 15  minutes, it should be done. I fluff the couscous using a fork and I add the fresh parsley. 

In a small bowl, I make a simple dressing: olive oil, garlic clove minced, and lemon juice. I mix and then I pour it over the couscous. 

Now, You can add all sorts of veggies. This time I wanted a simple couscous with cherry tomatoes and black olives. 

Here are a few ideas to personalize this lemon and parsley pearl couscous: 

Add-ons Ideas

  • cherry tomatoes
  • black olives
  • chickpeas
  • feta cheese
  • bell pepper
  • walnuts
  • corn
  • mushrooms 
  • shrimps
  • crumbled salmon

Can you cook couscous pearls in the rice cooker? 


As I mentioned, you can cook it just like rice. So, you can use your rice cooker to get even better results. 

Here is a list of my favorites rice cookers in case you are thinking about buying one! 

Is pearl couscous healthier than rice? 


There are a lot of misconceptions about couscous. I don’t know if it began with its similarities with the superfood quinoa — which is one of the healthiest food you can eat — but everybody seems to believe that couscous is healthier than regular rice. 

But the reality is that couscous is basically a type of pasta. If you want to make it healthier and get more complex carbs in your diet, you can try whole-wheat couscous instead. 

Also, mix your couscous with veggies to make a light and healthy salad. 

Is couscous gluten-free? 


If you are celiac, couscous is not a safe option for you. It’s best to stick to rice or quinoa. You can try this shrimp quinoa recipe. 

Couscous is made of wheat or barley (most of them are a mix).

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Lemon and Parsley Couscous Pearls
Prep Time
5 mins
Cook Time
15 mins
Total Time
20 mins
This lemon and parsley couscous pearls is a quick and easy side dish with a ton of Mediterranean flavor. It takes less than 20 minutes to make and only 6 ingredients.
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: israeli
Keyword: couscous pearl
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 203.3 kcal
  • 1 cup couscous pearls
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 lemon (juice and zest)
  • 1 handful fresh parsley
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove minced
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 6 cherry tomatoes (optional)
  • 6 black olives cut into slices (optional)
  1. In a saucepan, melt the butter and add the zest of the lemon.
  2. Add the couscous and two cups of water. Season with salt to taste. I recommend 1 tsp of salt.
  3. Take the water to a boil, then lower the heat to low and cover with a lid. Let it cook for 10-15 minutes until the couscous absorbs all the water. Fluff with a fork.
  4. In a small bowl mix the olive oil, lemon juice, and garlic clove minced. Pour this seasoning over the cooked couscous. Toss the fresh chopped parsley as well. Mix to cover the couscous with the dressing.
  5. Add the veggies. In this case, I added some chopped cherry tomatoes and sliced black olives. Serve.
Nutrition Facts
Lemon and Parsley Couscous Pearls
Amount Per Serving
Calories 203.3 Calories from Fat 59
% Daily Value*
Fat 6.6g10%
Saturated Fat 2.4g15%
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.6g
Monounsaturated Fat 3.3g
Cholesterol 7.8mg3%
Sodium 65mg3%
Potassium 77mg2%
Carbohydrates 30g10%
Fiber 1.8g8%
Sugar 0.1g0%
Protein 5g10%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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