Simple Tomato Couscous (Israeli Couscous Recipe)

Israeli couscous with tomatoes is an amazing side dish full of flavor. Toasted pearl couscous is tossed with a burst tomato sauce and finished with a squeeze of lime for a delightful tang. Yum!

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This tomato couscous is perfect served as a side dish, but it also makes a great, vegetarian meal when it’s served on its own. You can even amp it up a bit by adding in some protein-packed, canned chickpeas. Maybe adding on a sprinkle of feta cheese too, perhaps?

Two hands holding bowl of israeli couscous.

What is Israeli couscous?

  • Israeli couscous (also known as pearl couscous) is similar in size to grains of rice or barley, but it’s actually a pasta. It has a chewy texture, and is perfect for adding to soups or pasta salads, because it soaks up sauces and dressings in the best way possible. Traditional couscous is different than pearl couscous. Its grains are much smaller, and the texture is more like quinoa.

Ingredients needed

  • Israeli Couscous – Aka pearl couscous. Look for it near the rice or in the pasta aisle of your local grocery store.
  • Olive Oil
  • Chicken Stock – You can also use bone broth. Or, use vegetable stock for a vegetarian version.
  • Olive Oil
  • Cherry Tomatoes
  • Fish Sauce – This is optional, but it gives a great umami flavor to the finished dish. You can also swap in one anchovy filet.
  • Lime Juice – This adds the most amazing tang. You can also add a splash of lemon juice or red wine vinegar.
  • Salt & Pepper
Cherry tomatoes sliced in half in white bowl.

How to make it

  • Toast, then simmer couscous covered, for 10 minutes, until tender.
  • Meanwhile, saute tomatoes with olive oil, in a large saute pan.
  • Allow tomato mixture to simmer until it becomes saucy. Add in broth and a splash of fish sauce. Cook a few minutes longer.
  • Combine cooked couscous with tomato sauce, squeeze in lime juice and season with salt & pepper.
Toasted couscous in saute pan

Tips for adding flavor

  1. Toast the pearl couscous in olive oil or butter. This simple first step is a great way to add flavor.
  2. Cook the couscous in broth. Chicken broth adds a lot of flavor to couscous. If you are making this dish vegetarian, feel free to use vegetable broth. Be sure to add in a pinch of salt too.
  3. Add in other flavorful ingredients. Serving this dish on it’s own? You can add in even more flavor by adding in some canned chickpeas, artichoke hearts, and a sprinkle of feta cheese. Or, add in some fresh herbs. Fresh parsley, thyme, cilantro and/or basil would be amazing in this tomato couscous.

Cooked tomato couscous in saute pan with spoon.

How to make ahead and store

Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to three days. You can even transform the leftovers into a couscous salad by adding in some chopped cucumbers.

What to serve with it

Overhead shot of bowl of cooked tomato couscous with spoon.

More tomato recipes

Wine pairings

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Overhead shot of bowl of cooked tomato couscous with spoon.

Tomato Couscous Recipe

Israeli couscous with tomatoes is an amazing side dish full of flavor. Toasted pearl couscous is tossed with a burst tomato sauce and finished with a squeeze of lime for a delightful tang. Yum!
5 from 18 votes
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Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
0 minutes
Servings: 4 people (as a main course)



  • Heat 2 Tablespoons olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Once hot, add couscous and toast until fragrant, 5-6 minutes. Add 2 ½ cups chicken stock and a pinch of salt. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes.
  • To a large skillet, add 1 Tablespoon olive oil and tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until they become saucy, 5-6 minutes.
  • Add remaining chicken broth (1 cup) and fish sauce to the tomatoes. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Cook until the sauce is slightly thickened but still brothy, 3-5 minutes.
  • Off heat, stir in cooked couscous and lime juice and season with salt and pepper. Let sit a few minutes to allow broth to absorb. Season with additional salt and pepper and serve.
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Calories: 448kcal | Carbohydrates: 73g | Protein: 13g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Sodium: 833mg | Potassium: 554mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 555IU | Vitamin C: 43mg | Calcium: 48mg | Iron: 2mg

This tomato pearl couscous post was originally posted in 2020. It was updated in 2023 to add new information. The tomato cous cocus recipe remains the same. Enjoy!

9 thoughts on “Simple Tomato Couscous (Israeli Couscous Recipe)”

  1. 5 stars
    This is my all time favorite couscous recipe! The jammy tomatoes just send my tastebuds soaring. I love serving this with salmon (stuffed with creamed spinach), balsalmic glazed shrimp, or just on its own. Agree that it’s lovely with feta, though it’s not a necessity. Thanks for this delish dish!

  2. 5 stars
    Terrific recipe. Used wine rather than broth in the sauce (because of food restrictions of my guests). Worked perfectly with seared scallops.


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