Here’s an easy couscous pilaf, studded with dried fruits, nuts, and apple, that makes a perfect side dish with vegetable curries. It’s also a great choice for stuffing vegetables.
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.
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 adapted from The Vegetarian Family Cookbook by Nava Atlas. Photos by Hannah Kaminsky, BittersweetBlog.com.
- 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.
If you like this couscous dish, you might also enjoy …
Here are more easy vegan salads & sides.