Israeli Couscous Salad Recipe with 
Lemon, Fennel & Basil

By Rona Berg / March 4, 2014

Israeli Couscous Salad Recipe with 
Lemon, Fennel and Basil from Exotic Table (Adams Media), from What’s Cooking? April 2014.

Couscous is one of those blank-slate ingredients that absorb flavors incredibly well. I love to use it in a salad with lemon and raw, shaved fennel. The combination, along with some torn basil, is fresh and light, great alongside a simple piece of fish or grilled chicken.

I personally prefer the texture of Israeli couscous to the traditional kind, but you could really use either. A few ratios to pay attention to here: Israeli couscous requires 1½ cups of liquid for every cup of the raw couscous. In turn, 1 cup of raw Israeli couscous triples to about 3 cups cooked.

Serves 6–8

3 cups vegetable stock or water
2 cups raw Israeli couscous
2–3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 fennel bulb, shaved thin, fronds reserved
1 shallot, minced
1 tablespoon lemon zest
juice of ½ to 1 lemon
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
small handful of basil, hand-torn
salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Bring the vegetable stock or water up to a boil over high heat. Season with salt, add the couscous, cover, and bring back up to a boil. When it comes up to a strong boil, remove from the heat and let sit covered 8 to 10 minutes, until the couscous has absorbed all of the water. Drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil and fluff with a fork. Cool completely.

Add the shaved fennel along with 2 tablespoons of chopped fennel fronds, the minced shallot, lemon zest, lemon juice, sherry vinegar and torn basil. Drizzle a bit of extra-virgin olive oil on top and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Mix, taste and adjust seasoning, including the lemon juice. Chill before serving.

Rona Berg

Rona Berg

Editor-In-Chief at Organic Spa Magazine
Longtime journalist, author and current editor-in-chief of Organic Spa Media, Rona Berg is the former Editorial Director of ELLE and Deputy Style Editor for the New York Times Magazine, and she has contributed to and been quoted in dozens of publications. She co-chairs the Personal Care Committee of the non-profit Green Spa Network, is a Charter Advisory Board Member of the Nutritional Aesthetics Alliance, best-selling author of Beauty: The New Basics and Fast Beauty (Workman Publishing), and is a frequent speaker and guest on radio and television and at conferences around the globe.
Rona Berg

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