Here’s an easy couscous pilaf, studded with dried fruits, nuts, and apple. It makes a perfect side dish with vegetable curries, and also a great choice for stuffing winter squashes.
This pilaf calls out to be made in the fall, though you can definitely make it year-round. This fruity grain dish dish might just be the thing for kids and teens who are gaining appreciation for more varied flavors and textures.
For a gluten-free version, feel free to swap in quinoa in place of couscous. See directions for how to do so in the notes section of the recipe box.
What to serve with couscous pilaf
Here are a few dishes you can serve this with. They suggest serving with rice, but with a little more effort, you can swap in this pilaf instead.
- Quick Indian Lentil and Kidney Bean Curry
- Easy Chickpea and Eggplant Curry
- Indian-Spiced Cauliflower and Chickpea Stew
Recipe is adapted from The Vegetarian Family Cookbook by Nava Atlas. Photos by Hannah Kaminsky, BittersweetBlog.com.
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- Seven-Vegetable Couscous
- Boston or Bibb Lettuce Salad with Avocado, Green Beans & Couscous
- Israeli Couscous and Chickpea Pilaf with Roasted Brussels Sprouts
- 1 cup raw couscous, preferably whole grain
- 2 tablespoon vegan butter, divided
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1 large sweet apple, peeled, cored, and diced
- 1/2 cup dark or golden raisins
- 1/2 cup chopped dried apricots
- 1/2 teaspoon good-quality curry powder (mainly for color
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/3 cup apple or orange juice, or as needed
- 2 to 3 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro or parsley
- 1/3 cup slivered toasted almonds or chopped toasted walnuts or pecans
- Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- Place the couscous in a heatproof container. Pour 2 cups boiling water over it, then cover and let stand for 10 minutes, or until the water is completely absorbed. When done, fluff with a fork.
- Meanwhile, heat half of the vegan butter in a large skillet or steep-sided stir-fry pan. Add the onion and sauté until translucent. Add the apple and continue to sauté until the onion is golden.
- Stir in the couscous, dried fruits, and spices. Add just enough juice to moisten along with the remaining vegan butter. Cook over medium heat 5 minutes or so longer, or until everything is well heated through.
- Stir in the fresh herb and half of the nuts. Season with salt and pepper, then serve. Pass around the remaining nuts for topping.
Variation: You can use quinoa instead of couscous for a gluten-free version, or for variety. Combine 1 cup quinoa with 2 cups water in a medium-size saucepan. Bring to a slow boil, then lower the heat, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes, or until the water is absorbed. If the grain isn't done to your liking, stir in 1/2 cup additional water and continue to simmer until it's absorbed.
Here are more easy vegan salads & sides.