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Lemon Pearl Couscous Recipes

This Lemon Pearl Couscous Recipe is the perfect light and flavorful couscous recipe. Pearl couscous is combined with lemon juice and fresh herbs to create an easy side dish. Pair this dish with your favorite grilled meat, seafood or alongside a hummus or rice bowl. 

Lemon Pearl Couscous Recipe in white bowl.

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I love an easy side dish that I can whip together in under 15 minutes. This one is such a simple recipe.

Pearled couscous is something you see in many Mediterranean or middle eastern kitchens. It is so versatile and works nicely in salads, soups or as a side dish on its own. 

Today’s Lemon Pearl Couscous Recipe is one of those! This dish comes together so easily and uses fresh ingredients.

I love traditional couscous but this herby couscous is a nice way to take it to the next level.

It is great in the warmer months when you have fresh herbs growing in your garden.

I also love using pearl couscous in side dishes and a  pearl couscous salad like this Mediterranean Couscous Salad, or this Mediterranean Grilled Vegetable Couscous

I especially enjoy pairing this easy couscous recipe with Shish Tawook, Beef Shawarma or paired with this Baked Cod with Lemon.

As the weather gets warmer I like having these easy sides that are light and not too filling to pair with my dinners.

You also could create a vegetarian meal for dinner or an easy lunch with this Lemon Pearl Couscous by adding grilled shrimp, roast chicken or salmon. It makes a great main course.

Lemon Pearl Couscous Recipe with herbs.


Some people often thing that pearl couscous is a whole grain but it is actually a type of pasta. s a type of small, round pasta made from semolina flour and wheat flour. It reminds me a little of orzo pasta.

It would work great as a substitute in a lot of my pasta salads like this Summer Orzo Pasta Salad. 

It is a great option because it is easy to make and a great base for so many ingredients. You can stir in roasted vegetables, feta cheese, roasted red pepper or artichokes. The sky is the limit! 

Pearl couscous can be referred to as different things around the world. You might hear Israeli Couscous, Maftoul, Ptitim or Maftoul.

If you like pearl couscous you should check out this israeli couscous recipe.


The main difference between pearl couscous and traditional moroccan couscous is the size.

Moroccan couscous is much smaller compared to pearl couscous. Once you cook Moroccan couscous you will use a fork to fluff it. When you eat it you will often feel like Moroccan couscous is more the texture of a gain.

Traditional couscous is made from semolina flour that has been moistened and rolled into tiny pellets, while pearl couscous is larger, about the size of a small pea. This larger size makes it more chewy, with a texture similar to al dente pasta.

Pearl couscous can be referred to as different things around the world. You might hear Israeli Couscous, Maftoul, Ptitim or Maftoul.

Lemon Pearl Couscous Recipe with spoon.


This couscous recipe is such a great base for adding other ingredients in to the mix. I like to open my fridge and see what I have on hand. Here are some ideas:

CITRUS: You can add other citrus like orange juice or lime juice. Another option which is not citrus but you could also use white wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar or add it alongside the citrus. I like adding lemon zest or lime zest to the couscous for another layer of flavor. 

BEANS: Beans would be a nice addition to this dish. I especially like white beans or chickpeas. 

OLIVE OIL: I like to add a few drizzle of olive oil and stir the couscous again before serving. I think the rich, savory flavor from the olive oil works great with the herby couscous. 

CHEESE: Cheese is always a good idea in my opinion. I like feta cheese, Parmesan cheese or goat cheese. 

VEGETABLES: Vegetables are a nice addition. I like to grill some vegetables and add those in. Some great options include red onion, bell pepper, tomatoes, onion, zucchini, squash and eggplant. 

PROTEIN: You can add shredded or chopped chicken to this dish. I also love adding beans like chickpeas or white beans. 

GREENS: Arugula, swiss chard or spinach are great additions to this couscous. 

DRIED FRUIT: I love adding dried fruit to couscous. Dried cranberries, raisins, apricots or prunes are a great addition. 

NUTS: There are a lot of options for adding nuts and seeds. You could do pine nuts, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, pepitas, sliced almonds or walnuts. 

Lemon Pearl Couscous Recipe with lemon.


This is a simple couscous recipe.

You can get this on the table in under 15 minutes! 

COOK THE COUSCOUS: Start by cooking the couscous according to the package. My couscous cooked at medium heat for about 20 minutes.

Once the couscous is done cooking remove from the heat, drain and rinse with cold water.

STIR IN OTHER INGREDIENTS: Stir in the lemon juice, fresh herbs, salt and pepper. Add a drizzle of olive oil.

Serve the couscous in a shallow bowl alongside your favorite meal.

Can you believe how easy that is?

Lemon Pearl Couscous Recipe with napkin.


STORAGE: Store the couscous in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. I like to stir more olive oil once it has been in the fridge for a few days along with more fresh herbs and lemon juice. 

LEFTOVERS: I love using the leftovers to add to bowls like this Mediterranean Buddah Bowl or this Greek Quinoa Bowl {replace the quinoa for the couscous}. It also is a nice addition instead of plain couscous to add it to soups or salads. Sometimes I will add a scoop to this Lemon Arugula Salad

STOCK: To infuse move flavor you can boil your couscous in vegetable broth or chicken broth. You could try my Homemade Chicken Stock. 

HOT OR COLD: One of my favorite things about pearl couscous is that it can be served hot or cold and is a great base for so many dishes. I add it to salads, soups and love pairing it with roasted vegetables, grilled meats and flavorful dressings. 

NUTRITIONAL VALUE: Pearl couscous is a good source of complex carbohydrates and fiber. It can help you feel full and also contains protein, iron and vitamin B.

GLUTEN: People have asked me if pearl couscous is gluten-free. It is not gluten-free as it is made from semolina flour and wheat flour which both contain gluten.  

Lemon Pearl Couscous Recipe with logo.


This is a nice side to pair with so many dishes. I love adding it alongside grilled meats like this Chicken Shawarma Recipe or these Grilled Kafta Kebabs

I also really enjoy this with seafood like this Mediterranean Salmon, Lemon Shrimp or this Air Fryer Cod

Another way to enjoy this couscous is to add in place of rice or quinoa in a bowl. Try adding it to these Mediterranean Buddha Bowls or with these Beef Kafta Meatballs. 








Lemon Pearl Couscous Recipe with napkin.

Lemon Pearl Couscous Recipe

Yield: 4
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes

This Lemon Pearl Couscous Recipe is the perfect light and flavorful couscous recipe. Pearl couscous is combined with lemon juice and fresh herbs to create an easy side dish. Pair this dish with your favorite grilled meat, seafood or alongside a hummus or rice bowl. 


  • 2 cups Pearl Couscous (Israeli Couscous)
  • Water or broth
  • 1/2 of a lemon juiced and zested
  • 1/4 cup of fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1/4 cup of fresh basil chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Crushed red pepper {optional}


  1. Cook the pearl couscous according to the package. Drain, rinse with cold water and place in a large mixing bowl.
  2. Add the lemon juice, lemon zest and herbs in and stir well.
  3. Add salt and pepper to taste along with crushed red pepper {optional}.
  4. Serve warm or cold.
  5. Store in an airtight container for up to 4 days.


Try adding other ingredients like chickpeas, feta cheese, roasted red peppers, artichokes or capers.

Protein is a nice addition to make it a meal. Try shrimp, salmon or chicken.

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