Preserved Lemon Couscous

Preserved Lemon Couscous

Preserved Lemon Couscous is a light side dish that goes perfectly with grilled meat, fish or as part of a mezze feast! Get the recipe below.

Preserved lemons…

I have a cupboard dedicated to weird and wonderful ingredients that I’ve bought on a whim. Some I bought because I’d never cooked with them or eaten them before, others are regional specialities I’ve bought back from trips abroad. Every now and then I like to pick out a random ingredient and try to cook something new – this time it was a jar of preserved lemons that caught my eye.

Preserved lemons are predominantly used in Middle Eastern cuisine and I’m sure this particular jar was originally destined for a tagine. But, because the weather has been nice a spicy stew seemed a little too heavy and so I decided to use them in couscous instead. I was preparing a feast with all sorts of Middle Eastern dishes like baba ghanoush, giant beans and marinated artichokes which the couscous would go perfectly with.

You could make this recipe with just regular, fresh lemons but you’d be missing out on the mellow flavour that you only get from preserving them. The rind and pith becomes much less bitter, they are still lemony but not very tart at all. It’s a more warm, sunny flavour than the bright zesty flavour you get from a fresh lemon. There’s also a hint of saltiness too from the brine (though I do recommend rinsing the lemons before cooking with them. Alongside the fresh herbs and the toasted pine nuts, this Preserved Lemon Couscous is a lovely light side dish that you can serve alongside all sorts of dishes. It makes a particularly good BBQ side dish as it goes well with all sorts of grilled meats, fish and veggies!

The recipe

Preserved Lemon Couscous

Preserved Lemon Couscous is a summery side dish that works well with grilled meat, fish and vegetables or as part of a mezze.

Course Side Dish
Cuisine Middle Eastern
Keyword chickpeas, couscous, lemon, mint, parsley, pine nut, preserved lemons
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 4 people
Author Emma Walton

Ingredients

  • 400 millilitres vegetable stock
  • 300 grams couscous
  • 400 grams tin of chickpeas drained and rinsed
  • 2 preserved lemons thinly sliced
  • 1 lemon juice and zest
  • 1 handful parsley roughly chopped
  • 1 handful mint thinly sliced
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 pinch ground black pepper
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Instructions

  1. Heat the vegetable stock until it is simmering.

  2. Put the couscous in a large dish, then pour over the stock and cover (cling film, plate, and tea towels all work well).

  3. Place the couscous to one side and leave for 5 minutes before.

  4. In the meantime, toast the pine nuts in a dry pan on a low heat until they are starting to turn golden brown.

  5. Uncover the couscous and fluff with a fork.

  6. Stir the remaining ingredients through the couscous and serve sprinkled with the pine nuts.

Recipe Notes

This dish tastes great served warm or cold so it can be made in advance and kept in the fridge for up to 3 days. 

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