Israeli Couscous Recipe With Mushrooms, Thyme, And Oregano

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An Israeli Couscous Recipe that is to die for! It’s made with the most flavorful mushrooms cooked in butter, thyme, and oregano. It makes the best side dish to chicken, shrimp, or fish.

israeli couscous recipe in two colored bowls with a fork

Couscous has been one of my favorite things to make for years. I perfected my original recipe back in college when I dumped pretty much my entire spice cabinet into a bowl of couscous.

It’s one of those things that seems to be forgotten about and I really have no idea why. If I had to choose between couscous, rice, and pasta, couscous would win every time!

I love the texture of it and that it’s like a combination of rice and pasta. Couscous never feels heavy like pasta sometimes does though.

The mushrooms bring SO much flavor to this dish. They’re cooked in a light herb butter sauce with fresh thyme, oregano, shallot, and crushed garlic. When the couscous is finished cooking, it gets tossed in the pan with the mushrooms to absorb all of the flavor. Finally, it’s finished with a dash of lemon juice.

What is couscous?

Couscous is a pasta made from semolina flour mixed with water. Fun fact: making couscous used to be an extremely labor intensive process requiring hours of drying in the sun. Today, most couscous is produced by machines. The process includes steaming and drying so all you have to do is bring it back to life with some boiling water!

Naturally, couscous doesn’t have any flavor, just like pasta. So it’s up to the chef (that’s you!) to add all the flavors. But that’s what I love about it—it’s sort of like a blank canvas for you to add your own personal touch to.

israeli couscous recipe ingredients

I’ve made everything from a classic parmesan couscous to a Greek salad couscous, and everything in between. I’ll have to share those recipes with you sometime, but today I’m sharing a Mushroom And Herb Couscous. You’re going to love it!

When I made this and tasted it for the first time, I died. It was so good. So good that I ran into the bathroom with a spoonful while my boyfriend was showering so that he could taste it right away. His eyes lit up.

And yes, I made him eat a spoonful of couscous while he was taking a shower. He’s also basically blind without his glasses on, so it was pretty funny because he had no clue what I was feeding him.

An Israeli Couscous Recipe that is to die for! It's made with the most flavorful mushrooms cooked in butter, thyme, and oregano. It makes the best side dish to chicken, shrimp, or fish.Click to Tweet

Couscous is one of my favorite side dishes because I’m a big texture girl. I live for things with texture and the Israeli pearled couscous is full of it!

Orzo is another one of my favorite side dishes—can you tell I’m carb obsessed? I love its rice shape and chewy/firm texture. It’s very similar to couscous. If you like orzo, you’ll love this Lemon Orzo Salad With Garlic Butter Shrimp!

How to make this Israeli Couscous Recipe

Most of the flavor in this dish comes from the herb butter mushrooms. They’re cooked in a light herb butter sauce with fresh thyme, oregano, shallot, and crushed garlic. When the couscous is finished cooking, it gets tossed in the pan with the mushrooms to absorb all of the flavor. Finally, it’s finished with a dash of lemon juice to give it a nice, bright flavor.

First, I like to start out by bringing the cooking liquid to a boil. Then reduce the heat to a simmer, cover and cook.  It’s best to cook the couscous in vegetable broth or chicken broth because it will add so much flavor.

While the couscous is cooking, prepare the mushrooms.

sautéed shiitake mushrooms in a silver pan

Melt butter with olive oil in a nonstick pan over medium-high heat. Then add oregano, thyme, shallots, crushed garlic, salt, and pepper. Cook for about 1 minute until fragrant, then add the mushrooms and cook 4-5 minutes or until they start to turn golden brown.

When all but a small amount of the broth has been absorbed by the couscous, transfer it to the pan with the mushrooms, and stir to combine. You don’t need any heat on the pan here, you’re just combining everything before serving.

israeli couscous recipe in a silver pan

To serve, squeeze a bit of lemon juice over the couscous and divide between plates. I served it with Pistachio Crusted Air Fryer Salmon but you can serve it with whatever protein you like!

salmon on a white plate with israeli couscous

Couscous is amazing because it’s completely customizable and you can flavor it in any way you want. Serve it with shrimp, salmon, or as a vegetarian side dish alone.

If you want to make an entire vegetarian dinner with it, try serving this Israeli Couscous Recipe with Spinach and Ricotta Stuffed Peppers!

The ingredients in this recipe are all pretty much staples in my house, which is great because I can whip up this delicious couscous anytime!

israeli couscous recipe pinterest short pin

Some questions you might have about couscous:

What’s the difference between couscous and Israeli pearl couscous?

Couscous is a tiny ground pasta made from semolina (a type of wheat). It’s traditionally made by rubbing semolina between wet hands until very tiny pieces are formed. Then it’s dried and later cooked in boiling water.

Israeli pearl couscous is also a type of pasta but the granules are much larger. The pearl couscous is made of wheat flour and semolina, it’s shaped like small pearls (hence the name), and is toasted rather than dried. The toasting process gives the pearl couscous a nuttier flavor than traditional couscous. It also has a chewier bite, similar to orzo pasta.

The best 15 minute couscous recipe with butter herb mushrooms.Click to Tweet

Is couscous healthier than rice?

One cup of couscous has less calories than one cup of brown rice. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves, brown rice still comes out on top when it comes to the amount of nutrients packed inside. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t have yourself some couscous!

Especially this couscous recipe because it’s sooo good!

What does Israeli couscous taste like?

Israeli couscous has a slightly nutty flavor and a chewy texture, pretty similar to orzo. However, couscous, like pasta, is pretty much a blank slate and can be flavored in many ways to acquire any taste.

In this mushroom couscous recipe I really wanted to play up the herbs and the buttery mushrooms so I focused on those flavors, while keeping the couscous itself pretty mild. When everything is mixed together, the couscous will absorb the flavors of the sautéed mushrooms.

salmon on a white plate with israeli couscous and a fork

If you love the mushrooms in this recipe, you might like these other mushroom recipes, too:

Want to try making this Israeli Couscous Recipe?

PIN IT to your summer snacks, yogurt, or breakfast board to save it for later!
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israeli couscous recipe pinterest long pin

Did you make this recipe? Post a photo on Instagram and tag me @JZEATS or #JZEATS so I can see your beautiful creations! Leave a comment below and let me know what you think, too!

israeli couscous recipe in two colored bowls with a fork
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5 from 1 vote

Mushroom And Herb Couscous

An Israeli Couscous Recipe that is to die for! It's made with the most flavorful mushrooms cooked in butter, thyme, and oregano. It makes the best side dish to chicken, shrimp, or fish.
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Keyword couscous, israeli couscous recipe, mushroom, Vegetarian
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 238kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 cup pearled couscous
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 cup shiitake mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme, divided*
  • 1 tablespoon fresh chopped oregano, divided*
  • 1 shallot, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1-2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  • Bring a medium sized saucepan with the vegetable broth to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer and add the couscous. Cook covered for about 10 minutes.
  • While the couscous is cooking, melt 1 tbsp of butter with 1/2 tbsp of olive oil in a nonstick pan over medium-high heat. Add 1/2 tbsp of oregano, 1/2 tbsp of thyme, shallots, crushed garlic, and salt and pepper to taste. Cook for about 1 minute, until fragrant then add the mushrooms and cook 4-5 minutes. Set aside.
  • When 90% of the broth has been absorbed by the couscous, transfer it to the pan with the mushrooms, and toss to combine. You don't need any heat on the pan here, just combining everything before serving.
  • To serve: squeeze lemon juice over the couscous and divide between plates.

Notes

*If you don't have fresh herbs, you can use dried thyme and oregano
*Nutrition information is approximate and was calculated using a recipe nutrition label generator.
Nutrition Facts
Mushroom And Herb Couscous
Amount Per Serving
Calories 238 Calories from Fat 45
% Daily Value*
Fat 5g8%
Saturated Fat 2g13%
Cholesterol 8mg3%
Sodium 388mg17%
Potassium 290mg8%
Carbohydrates 41g14%
Fiber 5g21%
Sugar 3g3%
Protein 7g14%
Vitamin A 380IU8%
Vitamin C 5.2mg6%
Calcium 40mg4%
Iron 1.5mg8%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Author: JZ Eats

Eating is my hobby, cooking is my passion. Sharing easy to follow recipes from my kitchen.

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