This jewelled couscous recipe is a Persian-inspired dish made with spiced couscous, puy lentils, nuts, fruits, herbs and pomegranate arils. In collaboration with Indigo Herbs, suppliers of ethically and sustainably sourced superfoods, whole foods and natural health products.
What is jewelled couscous?
Jewelled couscous is a Persian recipe made with spiced couscous, nuts, fruits, herbs and pomegranate arils. Visually impressive, it is often served on special occasions. The variety of colour and texture of the ingredients is what gives the dish its ‘jewelled’ name.
This is one of my recipes that’s taken years to evolve, and it’s never really the same twice. It’s one of those use-up-whats-in-the-cupboards kinds of midweek recipes, but it’s also good enough that you can serve it on special occasions, like when you’re trying to make a seriously good first impression.
I began making a version of this recipe, years ago, as an easier alternative to jewelled Persian rice with tahdig, throwing in dried barberries, flaked almonds and a handful of chopped parsley and mint with the couscous.
Now, my jewelled couscous recipe is a rather gorgeous presentation of spice-infused couscous punctuated by a variety of flavours, textures and little pops of juicy colour. A proper centrepiece, I think, so much, so my couscous recipe has its own special serving dish.
Ingredients you’ll need…
- 200 grams of organic couscous
- 250 ml hot vegetable stock
- 1/2 tsp ground turmeric
- 2 tbsp olive oil, divided, plus extra to drizzle
- 1 medium red onion, finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1 tsp cumin seeds, toasted and coarsely ground
- 250 grams cooked puy lentils
- 70 grams organic pistachio nuts, coarsely chopped
- 70 grams organic almonds, coarsely chopped
- 50 grams organic pine nuts, toasted
- 100 grams sultanas
- 80 grams pomegranate arils
- a handful of fresh mint leaves
- handful fresh parsley
- fresh coriander leaves, to serve
- juice of 1/2 lemon*
- salt and pepper, to taste
- optional extras: handful dried barberries and/or a few chopped spring onions
*which I forgot to add to the image above because I used lemon-infused olive oil instead!
How to make this easy jewelled couscous
- Place the couscous (toasted, if desired) into a bowl along with the turmeric, olive oil and vegetable stock.
- Cover the bowl of couscous and leave it to sit for 10 minutes before fluffing the grains apart with a fork.
- Gently saute the onion and garlic in a little olive oil until soft. Toast the pine nuts. Cool.
- Stir in the toasted, ground cumin, puy lentils, almonds, pistachios, sultanas and pomegranate arils.
- Add the finely chopped herbs, the lemon juice and a further drizzle of olive oil—season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Transfer to a serving dish and garnish with coriander leaves and a little more toasted, coarsely ground cumin.
What to serve with jewelled couscous
- Moroccan-inspired slow-cooked lamb
- simple creamy hummus drizzled with a little lemon-infused olive oil and sprinkled with smoked paprika
- plain natural yoghurt drizzled with chilli-infused olive oil
- simple layered tomato salad
- grilled halloumi cheese with chilli
- flatbreads like baladi or khobez
This is my most favourite kind of meal, a medley of flavours and textures. Best of all, everything can be prepared in advance, so there’s very little that needs doing before serving other than plating it all up.
I like to make it look even more impressive by drizzling the side dishes with either chilli or lemon-infused olive oils, a sprinkling of smoked paprika here, a dash of crushed chilli pepper there.
To finish, chopped fresh herbs. It just looks… appealing. The presentation can mean a lot when it comes to food.
What are pistachios?
Pistachios are nuts from the tree Pistacia vera, native to hot, dry regions in Asia, Africa, the Middle East and Europe. It has a beautiful green kernel protected by a hard oval shell, and it’s the kernel that we eat. You can buy them shelled (pictured above alongside some pine nuts) and unshelled.
Are pistachios good for you?
Pistachios are highly nutritious and are a good source of vitamins, minerals and healthy fats. Just one handful of pistachios a day provide over 50% of your daily recommended intake of vitamin E.
About Indigo Herbs
More and more of us are opting for mail order these days, due to the current climate. If you’re looking for organic suppliers of ethically and sustainably sourced superfoods (like pistachios!), whole foods and natural health products here in the UK, then Indigo Herbs is for you!
Established in 2004, Indigo Herbs is a global apothecary based in Glastonbury. They stock a wide variety of health food products, including premium-quality pharmacopeial grade herbs and superfoods. In addition to mail order, their products are stocked in many health food stores up and down the country.
They take quality seriously and only choose to work with suppliers and growers that have genuine respect for the planet and its people. Their brand is simply packaged as they aim to make natural health products available and affordable.
Jewelled couscous with puy lentils and pomegranate
- 200 grams couscous
- 250 ml vegetable stock
- 1/2 tsp ground turmeric
- 2 tbsp olive oil divided
- 1 medium red onion finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves finely chopped
- 1 tsp whole cumin seeds toasted and ground
- 250 grams ready-cooked puy lentils
- 70 grams pistachio nuts coarsely chopped
- 70 grams raw almonds coarsely chopped
- 50 grams pine nuts toasted
- 100 grams sultanas
- 80 grams pomegranate seeds
- 1 handful fresh mint leaves finely chopped
- 1 handful fresh parsley finely chopped
- 1/2 lemon juice only
- fresh coriander leaves to garnish
- Shetland sea salt to taste
- freshly ground black pepper to taste
This recipe card may contain affiliate ingredient and equipment links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.
- Place the couscous into a small mixing bowl along with the ground turmeric and one tablespoonful of olive oil. Pour over the hot vegetable stock and stir.
- Cover the bowl with a clean plate and leave to sit for 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, heat the remaining oil in a saute pan and gently cook the onions and garlic until softened. Toast the pine nuts in a separate, dry pan until lightly browned.
- Fluff the couscous with a fork.
- Add the cooled sauteed onions and garlic, toasted ground cumin seeds, chopped pistachios and almonds, the toasted pine nuts, sultanas and the pomegranate seeds. Stir.
- Finely chop the mint and parsley and add to the bowl. Mix well to combine. Squeeze over the juice of half a lemon and drizzle with a little extra olive oil, if desired. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
- Transfer the jewelled couscous to a serving dish and garnish with extra fruit, nuts, herbs and fresh coriander leaves.