Israeli Couscous with Yellow Zucchini, Garbanzos and Green Olives

A couple nights a week, half of the household has Tai Chi class early in the evening. On those nights, I’m usually good about making sure to start dinner by about 4:30, so they have time to eat without being rushed. Well, the other night, I forgot until about 5:30. I was so caught up in the blogosphere, I completely lost track of time. I scrambled to think of what to make.

My husband is a huge fan of Israeli couscous, and I knew it cooks up quick, so there was my answer. This is a delicious and healthy vegetarian meal, that start to finish (including chopping the veggies) took me half an hour. Everyone loved it and was able to eat in time for Tai Chi.

Israeli Couscous with Zucchini, Garbanzos and Olives

Just so you know, Israeli couscous is not a type of grain. It is a pasta made from wheat. So is regular couscous, for that matter. So, if you have any wheat allergies, feel free to use quinoa instead. But, Israeli couscous has a unique texture… a little chewy, hearty, like tiny pasta. I think kids would think it was really fun.

Recipe feeds about 4

Israeli Couscous with Yellow Zucchini, Garbanzos and Green Olives

a couple Tbs. olive oil for sautéing

1 medium onion, diced

2 medium carrots, diced

1 medium to large zucchini (I used yellow zephyr summer squash), diced

1 1/2 C. Israeli couscous

3-4 C. water 1 can garbanzo beans, drained

1/4 C. chopped fresh herbs (I used basil, oregano and parsley because that’s what’s growing in our yard)

1/3 C. green olives (I used Spanish, stuffed with pimientos)

1/3 C. Parmesan plus more to garnish

salt and pepper to taste

Put a kettle on with the water so that when you add it to the couscous, it will already be hot and save 5-10 minutes cooking time. This is a one pot meal, so find a pot big enough to hold everything, but heavy bottomed to handle sautéing.

Saute onion and carrot just until the onions start to get translucent for a little caramelization. Add zucchini for about 2 minutes for same reason.

Add Israeli couscous, hot water and garbanzo beans, a little salt, but not too much because you will get saltiness from the olives and Parmesan later. Stir, cover, and cook about 5 minutes. The Israeli couscous is done when it is soft, but still al dente. You may have to taste it a couple times to get it just right. Don’t over cook, and don’t let it stick to the bottom and burn.

When it’s cooked, throw in the olives, Parmesan, and fresh herbs. You don’t want to cook out the brightness of the fresh herbs, but the heat will infuse the dish with their essential oils. At this point, taste for salt, and add pepper too.

Serve as a one pot meal, or with a side green salad and crusty bread. It really is a quick and tasty dish. Who said fast food had to be bad for you?

7 thoughts on “Israeli Couscous with Yellow Zucchini, Garbanzos and Green Olives”

  1. Lovely salad… I remember reading about israel couscous, but haven;t figured out what its called here in OZ. I remember seeing them in some stores though.

  2. Anh – Thanks! Running with Tweezers had a soup with Israeli couscous a little while back and she called it acini de pepi (a little Italian pasta). So I wonder if you can find it under that name, down unda.

  3. The Israeli Couscous is also called Osem Israeli Couscous in Australia. It is sold in Coles and Woolworths that have Kosher sections as well as Gourmet Delis and Independents. It is imported by Benedikt Imports.

  4. Hi there

    does anyone know of any cookbooks that specially deal with israeli couscous recipes?



  5. Hi Laila ~ I don’t know of one. What the cooks in our house usually do is search the web for recipes with a special ingredient. Israeli couscous is the BEST!

    Good-Luck in finding what you’re looking for.

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