Unlike regular couscous—small grains of durum wheat—Israeli couscous is a toasted pasta shaped in tiny balls, about the size of small peas. The cooking method is different too; to make regular couscous, you usually boil liquid, add the couscous, turn off the heat and let the couscous steam and absorb the liquid. To cook Israeli couscous, which is called Ptitim in Israel, you add the pasta to boiling water, reduce the heat and simmer until the pasta absorbs the liquid. Israel couscous is firmer than the regular kind, so it is an excellent addition to summer salads, such as this one from the early summer issue of the LCBO’s Food and Drink, which also features cherry tomatoes, corn and fresh herbs. Be sure to toss most of the dressing with the cooked couscous while it is still hot, so it can absorb the flavours.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

This recipe uses all-natural ingredients. Be sure to use a real lemon, not lemon concentrate.

Israeli couscous is toasted pasta shaped like peas

Roast cherry or grape tomatoes

You can roast the corn or saute it

Tossing the dressing with hot couscous helps the pasta absorb the flavours

Roasted cherry tomato, corn & Israeli couscous salad


12 oz (375 g) container multicoloured cherry tomatoes, cut in half, about 1½ cups (375 ml)
¼ cup (60 ml) corn, fresh or frozen
3 tbsp (45 ml) olive oil
½ tsp (2 ml) dried oregano leaves
1¼ cups (310 ml) water
½ tsp (2 ml) salt
¾ cup (175 ml) Israeli couscous
1 lemon
¼ tsp (1 ml) each salt and pepper
¼ cup (60 ml) each coarsely chopped mint and thinly snipped chives


Preheat oven to 425°F (220°C).

Place tomatoes and corn on baking sheet. Drizzle with 2 tsp (10 ml) olive oil then sprinkle with oregano. Roast just until tomatoes begin to soften, 3 to 5 minutes. Meanwhile bring water and salt to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add couscous, reduce heat and simmer covered until water is absorbed, 8 to 10 minutes.

Finely grate 1 tsp (5 ml) peel from lemon into a small bowl. Then squeeze out 3 tbsp (45 ml) juice. Whisk in remaining oil, salt and pepper.

Place cooked couscous in a bowl. Add most of the lemon dressing to couscous while it’s still hot. Stir couscous, letting it cool in dressing. Once cool, stir in tomato mixture and fresh herbs. Taste and add remaining lemon dressing if needed.

From the early summer issue of Food and Drink magazine