Israeli couscous with almond pesto & mozzarella di bufala

Israeli couscous with almond pesto & mozzarella di bufala
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Israeli couscous is made with little pearls of pasta. It has a thick texture and a subtle hazelnut flavour, since it’s roasted instead of dried. It takes on the flavours of other ingredients and is great in salads or paired with meat and fish.

You can find Israeli couscous in stores that have bulk sections (for those of you in Quebec, I buy mine at La Dépense in the Jean-Talon Market or at Bulk Barn on the South Shore). If you can’t easily get your hands on it, you can replace it with your choice of short pasta.

The recipe only takes 15 minutes to make, is bursting with flavour, and looks gorgeous. It also makes a great lunch the next day.

I sometimes double or triple the amount of almond pesto, so I can freeze the leftovers in an ice cube tray, as you can see in the photo above. Once frozen, I crack them out into a resealable bag and keep them in the freezer for up to 3 months. What could be better than always having homemade pesto at your fingertips?

  • ServesServes 4
  • Prep time15 min
  • Cook time15 min
  • Timeout10 min
  • FreezingNe se congèle pas.



For the pesto
  • 1/2 cup whole blanched almonds
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves
  • 1 small clove garlic
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest, to taste
  • 1/3 cup olive oil (or as needed)
For the couscous
  • 4 cups water
  • 16 oz Israeli couscous
  • 3.5 oz mozzarella di bufala (fresh mozzarella), cut into large chunks
  • Fresh basil leaves, to garnish
  • Freshly ground salt and pepper, to taste


  1. In a food processor, process the almonds and garlic.
  2. Add the basil and lemon zest. Process until blended, but has a coarse texture..
  3. Slowly add the olive oil until mixture is blended but not completely smooth.
  4. Season generously. Set aside.
  5. In a pot, bring 4 cups of water to a boil and add the couscous. Simmer for 10 minutes or until the pasta has absorbed all the liquid.
  6. Rinse the couscous under cold water. Press firmly to squeeze out excess water, and transfer to a bowl.
  7. Add the almond pesto (around 1/3 cup), mozzarella chunks, and several basil leaves. Adjust the seasoning and enjoy!



Recipe published on August 19, 2018