Recipe For Health
by Corporate Chef Kurt Kwaitkowski
Featured Food: Israeli Couscous Yield: Serves 8Learn more about Israeli Couscous

Ingredients

  • 4 T. olive oil, divided
  • ½ c. medium-diced red onion
  • 2 c. Israeli couscous
  • 2 ½ c. water
  • 2 t. vegetable base
  • 1-9 oz. package fresh baby spinach
  • 3 T. minced garlic
  • 1-12 oz. can artichoke hearts, drained and quartered
  • 2 T. diced canned roasted red peppers
  • 1 ½ T. chopped fresh oregano
  • Zest of ½ a lemon
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Preparation

Heat 2 Tablespoons olive oil in a large sauce pan over medium heat. Add onion and sauté for 4 minutes. Add the couscous to the pan and sauté for an additional 3 minutes or until lightly toasted. Stir in water and vegetable base. Reduce heat to a simmer, cover and cook for 8 to10 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat the remaining olive oil in a sauté pan. Add spinach and garlic; sweat (cook in its own juices) until the spinach starts to wilt then add the artichokes and red pepper. Cook for an additional 2 minutes. Remove from heat. 

Lightly fluff the couscous with a fork. Add vegetable mixture, oregano and lemon zest to the couscous pan. Season with salt and pepper. Toss well and adjust seasoning to taste. 

Learn More About Israeli Couscous

Israeli couscous (kǖskǖs) [ptitim (puh-TEE-tim) in Hebrew] is a tiny little pasta invented in 1953 during the austerity period in Israel to fill in for the short supply of rice. Since its creation was a special request of the state’s first prime minister, ptitim was dubbed “Ben-Gurion’s rice.” The rice-shaped noodle was an instant success. It wasn’t long before the manufacturer added globe-shaped pasta to their repertoire, naming it “couscous.”

“Couscous” was a bit of a misnomer for this new product. Although Israeli couscous and traditional North African couscous are both miniature wheat pastas, the similarities end there. The original couscous is made by rubbing durum semolina (high-protein wheat flour) and water into small course granules about the size of bread crumbs. The granules are so small and tender, they can be cooked in steam, a process that takes about 50 minutes. In our modern day supermarket, pre-steamed, dried couscous is found as a boxed mix that requires only a few minutes of steeping in hot water or broth to be ready to serve.  

Israeli couscous, also known as “large” or “pearl,” is extruded pasta made from bulgur (course chunks of wheat) then baked to give it a unique, nutty flavor. Each pearl is a few millimeters in size. It is not precooked, but because of its small size, it takes just a few minutes to be ready to eat. 

Here are three ways to prepare it: 

  • Perfect for pasta salad: Add 2 cups of Israeli couscous to 2 quarts of lightly salted water; cook just until soft, about 8 minutes, then drain and chill. 
  • Pilaf-style: Toast 2 cups Israeli couscous in a small amount of oil until golden brown, then add 2 ½ cups water and ½ teaspoon salt; cover and simmer for 15 minutes. 
  • Risotto-style: see our featured recipe. 
Peggy Crum MA, RD

Featured Recipes

Recipe For Health

Rhubarb & Strawberry Crisp

Combine tart rhubarb with sweet strawberries, add a streusel topping, and bake until bubbly. Dessert doesn’t get easier—or more classic—than this. Serve warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. You’re sure to get rave reviews!

Recipe For Health

Farro Salad with Grilled Vegetables

Chewy farro grains are delicious in this autumn-y salad. Recipe yields enough for dinner for 2 to 4 with some left for a couple of lunches. To do this, make the base with dressing, farro, and grilled veggies. Add fresh veggies to the base as you go.

Recipe For Health

Pecan and Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies

Roasting amps up the flavor in everything including pecans. Chef Kurt's attention to detail takes a traditional chocolate chip cookie to another level of yum!

Recipe For Health

Onion Soup

Onions, the simplest of pantry staples, mingle with butter, broth, and herbs to become luxuriously smooth and delicious. Add "homemade" croutons and a blend of cheeses to make a complete and satisfying meal.

More Food and Nutrition Recipes

Find a Recipe

Browse all recipes

Find a Class

Browse all courses

Search Health4U


Coaching and Counseling Services

Coaching and Counseling Services provides you with access to accurate health and lifestyle information, helping you to explore new behaviors and skills, and identifying useful campus and community resources.

MSU community members eligible for coaching and counseling services include faculty, staff, graduate assistants, retirees and the spouses/partners of members of these groups.

To schedule an appointment with Health4U you are not required to email us from your MSU email address; please email us from the email address you are most comfortable with. 

Read More

Departmental Services

The goal of department based services is to provide work units and colleagues the opportunity to learn about health and wellness as a group activity or exploration.  

Read More

Health e-Guide

This guide has been discontinued and is no longer viewable.

Visit Health e-Guide