Monday, February 10, 2014

Israeli couscous with garlicky wilted kale and spinach

I've always been a fan of couscous, but trying pearl-size Israeli couscous for the first time opened up a whole new world of culinary possibilities. If sautéed beforehand, the grain takes on a nutty flavour, and it has a toothsome, al dente texture. 

I used this recipe (my own) as an opportunity to try another new-to-me ingredient: buddha's hand, which looks like a citrusy octopus and is ugly, in a beautiful kind of way (see picture further down). It has no juice, but the skin and white pith are sweeter and less bitter than a lemon. The 'tentacles' can be chopped up and added directly to dishes. I wasn't completely won over - I still found there was a bit of bitterness - but it was a neat experiment. This recipe serves 4.

 {Buddha's hand - Source: Wikipedia}


In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, sauté 2 cups Israeli couscous in 1T vegetable oil over medium heat. Add 1.5 cups water, 1 cup vegetable broth and a bay leaf and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until all the liquid is absorbed, approx 20-25 minutes.

While the couscous is cooking, coarsely chop 1/3 cup macadamia nuts and dry sauté over medium-high heat until lightly browned. Set aside. 

Wash buddha's hand, then finely dice half the 'tentacles'.

Wash 1 head of kale and 4 packed cups of spinach. Shake off excess water. Cut away the coarse ribs, and roughly chop the kale and spinach leaves. 

Add spinach, kale and 3 tsp garlic to the same sauté pan used for the nuts. Cook over medium heat until vegetables are just wilted. (I find that the remaining water droplets on the kale and spinach mean you don't need oil, but if the garlic is starting to burn, add a little oil to the pan).  

In a serving bowl, combine couscous, kale, spinach, garlic and buddha's hand. Add the juice of one lemon, and toss gently to combine.  Season generously with salt and pepper.

We had this as a side dish with haddock.


  1. I love Israeli couscous, and this recipe reminded me that I haven't had it for ages. I'm going to have to test your recipe... although I think I'll subsitute regular lemon, as I'm not a huge fan of Buddha's Hand. It really does have that hint of bitterness and I just can't love it.

  2. I didn't know that that's what that fruit was called! ANd now I know what I can use it for! Thanks for sharing, Kat!

  3. I have never tried Israeli couscous but this looks delicious!


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