Make-Ahead Toasted Whole-Wheat Israeli Couscous with Fennel, Lemon, and Feta Recipe

Make-Ahead Toasted Whole-Wheat Israeli Couscous with Fennel, Lemon, and Feta Recipe

[Photograph: Suzanne Lehrer]

I stuck a lot of flavors in here: sweet fennel, red onions, rich feta, bright parsley, and tart lemon. Letting this sit overnight Instead of dressing the whole thing like a pasta salad, I only lightly dressed the fennel and onions to add flavor and acidity, without turning the whole thing into a soggy plate overnight.

If you're bringing this to work the next day, I highly recommend heating it up. The feta becomes slightly melty, and the heat enhances the toasty flavors in the couscous. I used whole-wheat couscous because it happened to already be on my pantry shelf and think it has deeper flavor, regular old white couscous works here, too.

One of my favorite uses for leftover Israeli couscous is stir-fries. Treat it as you would fried rice, and use day- or two-old couscous that's slightly dried out, and fry it with some beef and broccoli.

About the Author: Suzanne Lehrer is a writer and recipe developer in New York and a recipe editor for Cooking Channel. When not curating her budding hot sauce collection, she puts her French Culinary Institute education to good use in kitchens all around town. On twitter and instagram @suzerbruiser

Every recipe we publish is tested, tasted, and Serious Eats-approved by our staff. Never miss a recipe again by following @SeriousRecipes on Twitter!

  • Yield:serves 2
  • Active time: 15 minutes
  • Total time:35 minutes


  • 1 small bulb fennel, tops removed, bulb halved and very thinly sliced (about 1 cup), 3 tablespoons fronds reserved and roughly chopped
  • 1 small red onion, thinly sliced (about 3/4 cup)
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup homemade or store-bought low sodium vegetable or chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup whole-wheat or regular Israeli couscous
  • 1/4 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped
  • 2 teaspoons grated zest plus 1 tablespoon juice from 1 lemon
  • 3/4 teaspoon honey
  • 3 ounces feta cheese, crumbled


  1. 1.

    Preheat oven to 450°F. Mix together fennel and onions with 2 tablespoons olive oil to coat, and season with salt and pepper. Roast on baking sheet, turning occasionally, until crispy on edges, about 25 minutes.

  2. 2.

    Meanwhile, bring broth to a boil and maintain at a bare simmer. In separate saucepan, melt butter until foamy over medium-high heat, then add couscous and cook until toasted and fragrant, stirring constantly, about 2 minutes. Add hot vegetable stock and a pinch of salt, turn heat to low, and cover. Cook until couscous is puffed and liquid is absorbed, about 8 minutes, then let sit off heat, covered, 4 to 5 minutes. Uncover, fluff, transfer to bowl and fold in fennel fronds, parsley and lemon zest.

  3. 3.

    Whisk together 1 tablespoon olive oil, lemon juice and honey. Let roasted fennel and onions cool slightly, then toss with dressing in bowl. Add vegetables to bowl with couscous, keeping any excess dressing in bowl. Gently stir in feta. Serve warm immediately, or let cool to room temperature and store in airtight container and refrigerate. Reheat in microwave for 45 seconds to 1 minute.