When you’ve nearly had your fill of rice, potatoes and pasta at the dinner table, try introducing another go-to side dish to round out the meal: couscous. A kind of ground pasta that’s easily prepared by boiling, like rice and noodles, couscous comes in two general varieties — Moroccan, which features tiny and coarse granules, and Israeli, boasting smooth, pearl-size rounds — and can be beefed up with whatever ingredients you happen to have on hand. While couscous salads are simple to make and can often be served cold, hot or at room temperature, couscous is filling enough to shine as the main dish too. Check out Food Network’s top-five couscous recipes below to find classic and creative interpretations of this endlessly versatile staple.
5. Sweet and Sour Couscous-Stuffed Peppers — Traditional rice gets swapped out of this flavor-packed recipe and replaced with whole-wheat couscous for a better-for-you supper, finished with a sprinkle of Asiago cheese for a gooey topping.
4. Israeli Couscous and Tuna Salad — Boasting the fresh flavors of capers, lemon and olives, Ina’s mayonnaise-free tuna salad is made especially hearty with the help of pearl couscous.
3. Israeli Couscous Tabbouleh — The tried-and-true taste of tabbouleh shines in Melissa’s quick-fix salad thanks to the additions of fragrant cilantro, mint and parsley.
2. Israeli Couscous with Apples, Cranberries and Herbs — To make sure her couscous is as flavorful as possible, Giada gently toasts it first, then boils it in chicken broth. Her sweet and tangy maple vinaigrette marries the fruit and herbs in the recipe, while crunchy almonds add texture.
1. Spiced Couscous and Chicken (pictured above) — Cook the couscous with cinnamon and ginger to infuse it with warm tastes from the very beginning, then combine it with ready-to-go rotisserie chicken and carrots, plus cool Greek yogurt and harissa, to make it a meal.