Israeli Couscous with Roasted Veggies and Tempeh

I don’t know about any of you, but I’m one of those gals who likes the pearled, or Israeli, couscous and not the superfine kind. I think the latter is a little too gritty but maybe I’ve never had it made correctly.  This recipe had roasted veggies, spices, chickpeas and tempeh. Proteinalicious!

Before this recipe, I had never made couscous before. I always see it made on the cooking shows I watch, but I’ve never actually been “brave” enough to make it on my own. Maybe the idea of fluffing it with my fork just scared me, who knows. Luckily I have a husband who likes having culinary adventures and let’s me tag along for the ride.

The great thing about this recipe is that it had a lot of Indian spices in it! And by a lot, I mean two. Ha. It had garam masala and turmeric. I always keep a batch of garam masala in my kitchen, but sometimes I act like my mom and make it fresh during the cooking process.

Here’s my recipe for it if you’ve never made it and want to sometime! Turmeric is another great spice. I don’t think it actually tastes like anything, but it does make your dishes turn a beautiful yellow color and stains your nails and fingertips!

I guess these two spices just remind me of home and my mom’s kitchen, so I was really excited to find a non-Indian recipe that also used them! I have to say, this dish turned out fantastic. It was a little time consuming but it turned out pretty great. REB was responsible for cooking the tempeh so I just got the instructions/process from him but didn’t take any pics :(

The original recipe was just the Israeli couscous with the grilled veggies, but we don’t have a grill and didn’t feel like pulling out the stove-top grill. So we roasted our veggies and since there really wasn’t a ton of protein in the dish, we decided to make tempeh to top it off. REB made the tempeh with an orange glaze, which I know sounds weird with the spiced couscous, but it actually went together so nicely. The sweetness paired well with the spice. They were pretty happy together. And I was too ;)

Israeli Couscous recipe adapted from Three Many Cooks
Orange glazed tempeh adapted from 101 Cookbooks

For the tempeh:
•4 oz. Soy Tempeh (we used half a block of this Light Life Tempeh brand), cut into thin triangles or 1/2-inch strips
1 tablespoon olive oil (for cooking)
•1/2 cup fresh mandarin juice or orange juice (about 4-5 mandarins)
•1 teaspoon minced garlic (1 clove)
•1 teaspoon lite soy sauce
•3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
•1 teaspoon honey (use maple syrup instead to make this dish vegan!)
•1 teaspoon ground coriander

For the couscous:
•2 cups Israeli (pearled) couscous
•1 small zucchini cut julienne then cut in thirds to make small strips
•1 red bell pepper cut julienne then cut in half to make small strips
•1 can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
•1/2 cup grape tomatoes, halved
•1/2 cup chopped onion
•1 teaspoon minced garlic
•3 teaspoons garam masala (I know that sounds like a lot, but this will make it good and spicy)
•1 teaspoon turmeric
•3 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
•1 cup water
•S&P to taste
•1/4 cup chopped cilantro, plus some extra for garnish
•2 tablespoons olive oil, plus additional for roasting vegetables

Start by preheating your oven to 400°F. Add the bell pepper and zucchini in a single layer on a rimmed cookie sheet, toss with olive oil, salt and pepper. Bake for 30-35 minutes checking on them halfway and tossing again.

Meanwhile in a large pot, heat the 2 tablespoons olive oil and let it get hot over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Next add the garlic and cook an additional minute or two.  Then add the couscous and spices and stir to lightly toast the couscous, about 2-3 minutes. Add the vegetable broth and cup of water. Bring the whole thing to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium, cover and let it simmer for another 10 minutes or until most of the liquid is gone. It will be very thick!

While all that is happening, heat a separate skillet with 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium high heat.  Add the tempeh and cook 5 minutes on each side or until golden brown. Then add the liquid mixture and let it simmer and reduce for about 10 minutes. It will turn into a glaze.

When the couscous is finished, add in the chickpeas, roasted vegetables, halved tomatoes and cilantro. Top with tempeh, garnish with cilantro and serve!

This made so much! I think we easily could have served 6-8 people. You could definitely feed more if you were serving it as a side dish. This can also be made vegan. Actually I think without the tempeh, it already is vegan. Either way, this is one dish I don’t mind having a lot leftovers!

Have any of you made couscous before?
Do you prefer the traditional fine couscous, or this pearled kind?

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15 thoughts on “Israeli Couscous with Roasted Veggies and Tempeh

  1. Jen

    So I tried this during the week and really liked it! I think my favorite part was the tempeh – the marinade was really flavorful. It was also a great way to try Israeli couscous. Next time I am going to roast the vegetables either for less time or on a lower temperature – I stirred it about halfway through, but I still had some come out too burnt to use. Also, Dan is a human composter, so this only made 3 servings at our house. ;)

    1. Aparna B. Post author

      I should have probably put in there some where a serving is like 1/2 – 1 1/2 cups per person LOL. Good idea on the veggies. I stirred them around a few times during the roasting process. You could also use a grill if you have one!

      1. Jen

        Haha, yeah, that was what *my* serving was! I think Dan has a hollow leg or something. I wish I had a grill, but right now we don’t. BTW, I should have added in the first comment that I am definitely planning on making this again!

        1. Aparna B. Post author

          I’m so glad!! I knew you’d like the tempeh. That glaze was so good. I know we’ll be at least making the tempeh part again and maybe just having it with some quninoa or brown rice!

    1. Aparna B. Post author

      I wasn’t that keen on tempeh either, but my hubby reassured me that it would be tasty. The texture wasn’t what I had thought, but it did taste so good and had 22 grams of protein! You can’t beat that! And yes, this kind of couscous is so good. It’s also called Pearled or Middle Eastern :)

    1. Aparna B. Post author

      If you like making Indian food or eastern foods, I’d highly recommend buying some! If you live near an Indian grocery store, buy it there! It’s so much cheaper and you’ll get a lot, but that’s OK. I got a medium size bag for like $2.99 as opposed to spending $6-7 on the jars sold in grocery stores :)

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    1. Aparna B. Post author

      I was actually so surprised at how easy it was to cook! We got the soy kind (apparently there are different flavors..??) and it cooked up just like tofu! Had a texture I wasn’t used to, but it turned out great. The sweetness of the tempeh went perfectly with the spiced couscous!

  3. Jen

    This sounds delicious! I can testify that without the tempeh, it is vegan as is. I like to use agave nectar as a substitute for honey since it is more similar in quality and color.

    Re: couscous, I have never tried Israeli couscous. I don’t think it ever occurred to me to try it because I like regular couscous. I’ll let you know what I think! You have to admit couscous of any stripe is pretty awesome, though. It cooks so quickly and easily!

    1. Aparna B. Post author

      I completely agree Jen! It was so fast to cook it up. The thing that took the most time is waiting for it to reduce and for the veggies to roast up nicely. I liked the texture of this couscous. It seemed more filling. Do you have a traditional couscous recipe you can share? Would love to try! :)


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