Robust Israeli couscous with roasted vegetables of roasted zucchini, red bell pepper, grape tomatoes, asparagus, and red onion in spicy basil and red bell pepper tomato sauce.
Nothing is more comforting than a warm bowl of pasta. Don’t you agree? The chewy texture provides an incredibly fulfilling experience that's hard to beat! Whether it's spaghetti, macaroni, or in this case, Israeli couscous, the joys of scooping up a spoonful of pasta deliciousness on your plate are truly unparalleled.
Even better, a single batch can easily last for days, perfect for leftovers and providing warmth and nourishment throughout multiple meals, which makes it great for meal planning. Nothing compares to the heartwarming sensation of enjoying a home-cooked plate of Israeli couscous with roasted vegetables - one taste, and you'll be hooked forever!
I know I was. It is such a great side kick too. I love to serve this with my grilled turmeric herbed tofu and Quick Basil Romesco Pasta Sauce. The tofu provides a crisp texture as if I were eating fried chicken! Fried chicken and pasta!? Why not! Haha. But seriously, we enjoyed this meal.
You’ll cook your Israeli couscous first and set it aside. Then you will combine your zucchini, asparagus, red bell pepper, grape tomatoes, red onion, salt, ground black pepper, and avocado oil in a bowl. Then pour the vegetable mixture into your pre-heated air fryer or oven when the couscous and vegetables are done. You can start the sauteeing process. Add garlic, pine nuts, and toast in your heated oiled pan, then add couscous, vegetables, vegetable broth, romesco sauce, basil, and parsley, and combine it well. At this point, I suggest you check the seasoning of the liquid and add salt or more chili pepper if you are using store-bought romesco sauce. Then you will cover and simmer for about five minutes. And serve!
See recipe card for quantities.
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- Pencil Asparagus - Try jumbo asparagus or broccoli florets.
- Basil Romesco Pasta Sauce - If you are short on time, you can use store-bought Romesco sauce. I suggest adding ¼ teaspoon of chili flakes or ½ teaspoon of harissa paste to the sauce.
Change Heat Level - Modify the recipe's heat level to your liking and learn more about the Scoville Scale and Chili Pairings.
These other vegetables are great for roasting; ensure you cut them in uniform size for even cooking.
- Acorn Squash
- American or Japanese Sweet Potatoes
- Asparagus (jumbo)
- Butternut Squash
- Chili Peppers (mild for flavor)
- Tomatoes (Plum, Cherry, or Campari)
- Yellow Squash
- Air Fryer - This recipe was developed using the Ninja Foodi 5-in-1 Indoor Grill. If you do not have an air fryer, you can try roasting in the oven. You have two options with different results: a sheet pan with parchment paper or a sheet pan with a sheet pan rack. The parchment paper will produce vegetables roasted in their juices and caramelization at the bottom. In contrast, the sheet pan rack will result in just roasting around the vegetables due to the hot air flowing around the vegetables. Now, the trick is not to overcrowd in whatever method you choose, but if this happens, toss in between cooking.
- Frying Pan with Lid - Preferably a 10-inch pan. I used the All-Clad Stainless Steel Nonstick Fry Pan to develop this recipe. I've trusted All-clad for years and invested in them because they last long. Compared to other non-stick pans, this one is safe under the broiler!
- Blender or Food Processor - Used to emulsify the ingredients in the Romesco pasta sauce to create a smooth and creamy sauce. To develop this recipe, I used the Vitamix Professional Series Blender. I've used Vitamix for years, even in the professional kitchen. I've also upgraded my small food processor to the KitchenAid 3.5 Cup Food Chopper, which is tough enough to do the job and small enough to avoid finding space for a new appliance. Also, the best part is the drizzle basin that you can use to add the oil for excellent emulsification slowly.
Kitchen Must Haves - Find other tools I use here.
- Refrigerator - To store in the fridge, place in a 2-inch shallow container to cool down quickly. Then, store in an air-tight sealing container. The pasta dish will last for up to four days.
- Freezer - First, follow the refrigeration process mentioned above. Place it in the freezer in a labeled, airtight container.
Air Tight Food Containers - I use Glass Food Storage Containers with a plastic clipping lid to store food. For example, I always suggest glass storage containers since you can microwave them and hold food without staining the container, and the glass keeps them at a more stable temperature, which keeps the food fresher longer.
- Prep Ahead - I always suggest cutting everything out, portioning, and setting up before cooking. This will ensure you focus on cooking the dish without running to grab or forgetting to add something.
- Quick-Step Using the Oven - Try roasting your seasoned tofu, chicken, fish, lamb, or vegetables on the same sheet pan. That way, when the protein and vegetables are done, you just have to make and serve the couscous. Plus, you get the benefit of any juices from the protein seeping into the vegetables.
- Roasting Vegetables Size Tip - Try to cut all your ingredients in uniform cooking sizes to allow all of the ingredients to cook evenly to prevent burning or undercooking.
Frequently Asked Questions
Israeli couscous, or Ptitim or "rocks," is a pasta-like dish popular in Israel and worldwide. Unlike traditional couscous, which consists of small pellets of semolina wheat, Israeli couscous is made from larger pearls of toasted flour shaped into balls. It has a firmer texture than regular couscous and retains its shape when cooked, making it ideal for salads, side dishes, pilafs, soups, and more.
The history of Israeli couscous dates back to the 1950s when food shortages led an Israeli entrepreneur to develop this unique pasta alternative out of leftover ingredients. Since then, it has become a favorite among Israelis and foodies everywhere, adding diversity and flavor to their culinary repertoire. People would think it’s a bigger version of couscous, but nope! I was one of those people years ago.
These oils can withstand high heat at 400 degrees before releasing smoke. I recommend avocado oil, but alternatively, you can use canola oil.
The oil velocity should change by moving more freely around the pot when tilting the pot from side to side compared to when you had first poured in the oil. You can test the readiness of your oil by tossing a piece of bread into the oil.
If the oil starts bubbling around the bread and browning takes about 60 seconds, you are ready. If it begins to burn and smoke, your oil is way too hot! Great Tip: Heat the pan first, then add the oil, helping with the non-stick process.
Looking for other vegetarian recipes like this? Try these:
Looking for other vegetarian recipes like this? Try these:
- Cook chicken to a minimum temperature of 165 °F (74 °C).
- Do not use the same utensils on cooked food that previously touched raw meat to prevent foodborne illness from contaminated uncooked meats.
- Wash hands after touching raw meat to prevent cross-contamination.
- Don't leave food at room temperature for extended periods; this can breed bacteria.
- Never leave cooking food unattended to prevent burns and fires.
- Use oils with a high smoke point to avoid harmful compounds.
- Always have good ventilation when using a gas stove to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning.
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