Israeli Couscous with Mushrooms and Thyme is a hearty one-skillet dish. Serve as a side, as a meatless main dish, or as the base for a grain bowl.
The aroma of sauteed mushrooms is one of my favorites in the kitchen. It ranks right up there with the smell of ground beef and onions cooking together - but that is another story for another day. Today, I'm all about mushrooms sauteed in butter with lots of fresh thyme. Mushrooms and thyme are a match made in heaven!
This recipe is made in one skillet and works equally well served as either a side dish or as a main dish. As a side dish, this is the perfect accompaniment to beef, chicken, pork, or fish. As a main dish, the mushrooms provide a satisfying meaty component. The dish is also a great vegetarian option - simply use all vegetable or mushroom broth in place of the chicken broth.
What is Israeli couscous?
Israeli couscous (also commonly called pearl or giant couscous) is often considered to be a whole grain. But Israeli couscous is actually a type of pasta made from semolina flour. It is machine-made, resulting in a perfectly spherical shape, and is usually pre-toasted for flavor.
How to cook Israeli couscous
There are three common ways to cook Israeli couscous:
- Using a ratio of 1 cup couscous to 1 ½ cups water or broth, cook the couscous in a manner similar to rice.
- Cook the couscous like pasta, draining off the excess liquid after cooking.
- Cook the couscous risotto-style, slowly adding hot broth until cooked through. For this recipe, I use the risotto method.
Israeli Couscous with Mushrooms and Thyme
This recipe combines slow-cooked couscous with sauteed mushrooms. I used three types of mushrooms - dried chanterelles, shiitakes, and baby Bellas. Any kind of mushroom is fine. You can use whatever you like or what is readily available at your local supermarket. If dried mushrooms aren't available, substitute an additional 6-8 ounces of fresh sliced mushrooms for 1 ounce of dried chanterelles listed in the recipe.
If using dried mushrooms, reconstitute them in boiling water. After soaking the dried mushrooms, reserve this flavorful liquid to cook the couscous. Alternatively, you can use any store-bought chicken or vegetable broth, and most supermarkets now carry mushroom broth as well.
This dish is so versatile - it goes with just about everything. To serve, spoon the mushrooms over the couscous or fold together. Serve with grilled chicken, roasted salmon, or filet mignon. Alternatively, this dish is just as delicious on its own because the meaty texture of the mushrooms is so satisfying. Additionally, for a vegetarian option, omit the chicken broth and use vegetable or mushroom broth (or stock).
Further, use this couscous as the base for a grain bowl. Top with grilled chicken or salmon, sliced radishes, and scallions. The fresh thyme packs so much flavor and the mushrooms are filling and satisfying.
Other recipes you may enjoy
- Potato and Gruyere Galette
- Spaghetti Squash with Creamed Spinach and Pancetta
- Roasted Artichoke Hearts
- Broccoli Cheese Rice Casserole with Ritz Cracker Topping
- Spinach and Artichoke Risotto
Israeli Couscous with Mushrooms and Thyme
- 1 ounce dried chanterelle mushrooms ((Note 1))
- 4 ounces sliced shiitake mushrooms
- 10 ounces sliced baby Bella mushrooms
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 10-12 sprigs fresh thyme
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- ½ yellow onion (finely diced)
- 1 clove garlic (minced)
- 2-3 sprigs fresh thyme
- 2 cups Israeli couscous (uncooked)
- 4 ½ cups low-sodium chicken broth (or vegetable or mushroom broth)
- ½ teaspoon Kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- ½ teaspoon Umami seasoning (Trader Joes) ((ground thyme can be used))
- Add the dried mushrooms to a bowl. Cover with approx. 3 cups of boiling water. Soak for 20 minutes to reconstitute. Strain the mushrooms and reserve the mushroom broth for cooking the couscous.
- In a large saute pan, melt the butter over medium-medium high heat. Add the mushrooms and the thyme and saute until the mushrooms are golden brown, stirring frequently, about 15 minutes. Transfer the mushrooms to a plate. Set aside.
- Reduce heat to medium and add 2 tablespoons of butter to the skillet. Add the onion and cook 4-5 minutes until translucent.
- Meanwhile, add the broth to a saucepan to heat over low heat. (Use the reserved mushroom broth and add enough chicken broth to total 4 ½ cups. If not using mushroom broth from soaking the dried mushrooms, use 4 ½ cups of chicken or vegetable broth.)
- To the onions in the skillet, add the garlic and cook for another minute. Add the couscous and stir to coat with the butter and toast for 1-2 minutes. Add the thyme. Add 1-2 ladles of the broth to the skillet. Stirring frequently, cook the couscous until the liquid is absorbed before adding another ladle of broth. Continue adding the broth, one ladle at a time, as needed until the couscous is cooked through, approx. 10-15 minutes.
- Season the couscous with salt, pepper, and Umami seasoning (ground thyme can be used also). Serve couscous with mushrooms on top or fold the mushrooms into the couscous.
Nutritional information is an estimate and will vary depending upon the exact amounts and specific ingredients used.