Couscous is one of the fastest and easiest ways to make a meal complete. A North African staple, couscous is actually made from semolina, a type of wheat, and comes in a variety of forms. You can choose from instant (pour boiling water in and let sit for five minutes – voila!) and the more traditional non-instant that requires more cooking time. Israeli couscous, also known as pearl couscous, is a toasted pearl-shaped nutty tasting gem also made from semolina. No matter what type you choose, if you make any of these 11 types of couscous side dishes for fall, you won’t be disappointed.
1. Israeli Couscous with Saffron, Pine Nuts, and Currants
This is a great make-ahead recipe that has crunch from the pine nuts and a hint of sweetness from the currants (or substitute raisins, if you can’t find them at the store). Saffron adds both flavor and a terrific red hue. Get the recipe here.
2. Israeli Couscous with Apples, Feta, and Mint
Fresh mint, lemon juice, and creamy feta make for a fresh side dish that you can serve for lunch or dinner. Substitute pears instead of apples depending on the season and make extra to serve the next day; this recipe makes for great leftovers. Get the recipe here.
3. Sweet and Savory Moroccan Couscous
Moroccan couscous with prunes, raisins, almonds, chickpeas, and seasoned with turmeric, black pepper, cumin, sweet paprika, and salt is a delicious combination that pairs well with grilled meat.
Get the recipe here.
4. Browned Butternut Squash Couscous
Our recipe for butternut squash couscous is a great way to get some vegetables into your meal and add a little color. Almonds, scallions, and cumin add flavor to the whole-wheat couscous, but you can use any type of couscous you have on hand. Get our Browned Butternut Squash Couscous recipe.
5. Couscous Stuffed Mushrooms
If you’re looking for a wholesome vegetarian side dish, look no further. Use Portobello mushrooms and stuff them with mixture of couscous (any kind you have on hand), raisins, cinnamon, onion, pine nuts, parsley, and some salt and pepper. Get the recipe here.
6. Israeli Couscous with Roasted Cherry Tomatoes, Parmesan, and Lemon Vinaigrette
CHOW’s recipe for Israeli couscous is packed with fresh parmesan, roasted cherry tomatoes, and a lemon vinaigrette made with olive oil and any combination of fresh herbs that you have. Get our Israeli Couscous with Roasted Cherry Tomatoes, Parmesan, and Lemon Vinaigrette recipe.
7. Roasted Winter Vegetable Couscous
This is a dish that takes very little effort for a nutritious and filling side dish that has endless variations. Roast some winter vegetables (squash, turnips, sweet potatoes, etc) and flavor with dried herbs. Use whole-wheat couscous to keep it as healthy and protein-packed as possible. Get the recipe here.
8. Cilantro Almond Couscous
A wonderfully simple combination, this couscous pairs beautifully with grilled lamb, fish, or any type of meat. The Middle Eastern flavors are subtle but add some pizzazz to plain old couscous. Get our Cilantro Almond Couscous recipe.
9. Couscous with Kalamata Olives
This Greek take on couscous is a great pairing for roasted lamb or served with a salad. Grape tomatoes, red onions, parsley, feta, garlic, and whole wheat couscous make for a healthy and filling side dish.
Get the recipe here.
10. Mediterranean Couscous Salad
A hummus dressing made from olive oil, white wine vinegar, salt, pepper, and hummus mades for an interesitng addition to this couscous salad. Mix in roasted, salted pistachios, scallions, feta, and red bell pepper for a complete Mediterranean inspired feast. Get our Mediterranean Couscous Salad recipe.
11. Couscous Cakes
These are an easy way to make a side dish that’s a little more interesting than just a pile of grains. Make a couscous cake (similar to a veggie burger) and change up the flavorings, spices, and add-ins. Get the recipe here.
Header image: Browned Butternut Squash Couscous from CHOW
Caitlin M. O'Shaughnessy is a New York City–based food writer and editor at Penguin who has worked on and recipe-tested several cookbooks. She is currently in search of NYC's best ramen, and is one of the few people who admit to disliking brunch.