Israeli Couscous with Spring Leek and Garlic

Israeli Couscous with Spring Leek and Garlic

This is wonderful on its own as a side dish. The toasted pearls of couscous can also serve as a bed for an appetizer of poached artichokes, or even as an entrée with a hearty dollop of Cilantro-Walnut Pesto.


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium leek, cleaned and minced (or in very thin half-rounds)
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 ½ cups Israeli (pearl) couscous
  • 1 teaspoon minced or crushed garlic
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • Black pepper to taste
  • 1 heaping cup chopped walnuts, lightly toasted
  • 1/2 cup Cilantro-Walnut Pesto (optional)


You will need a skillet with a tight-fitting lid.

  1. Place a large (10 to 12-inch) skillet over medium heat and wait about a minute. Add the olive oil, and swirl to coat the pan.
  2. Add the leek pieces and a little salt, and sauté for 5 to 8 minutes, or until the leek is fragrant.
  3. Sprinkle in the couscous, a scant ½ teaspoon salt, and the garlic. Stir to combine, turn the heat to medium-low, and continue to cook, stirring frequently, until the couscous is coated and turning golden (5 to 8 minutes).
  4. Pour in the water, cover the pan, and turn the heat to low. Let it simmer 8 to 10 minutes, or until the couscous is tender. Fluff with a fork, add black pepper to taste, fold in the walnuts, and it’s ready to serve.

This dish keeps and reheats well. If you are not planning to serve it right away, store it in a tightly covered container in the refrigerator (for up to 2 days), and heat in a microwave or in a covered pan in a 300°F oven just before serving. Hold off on adding the walnuts until just before serving.