Whole Wheat Couscous with Golden Raisins

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Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 4

Tangy citrus, dried fruit and toasted pine nuts flavor this savory Middle Eastern salad, which is quick to prepare. Couscous, like pasta, is made from semolina and is available in many forms; choose the more nutritional whole-wheat version if you can find it.


  • 1 orange
  • 1/8 tsp. saffron threads
  • 1/4 cup (1 oz./30 g) pine nuts
  • 1 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups (9 oz./280 g) whole-wheat couscous
  • 1/4 cup (1 1/2 oz./45 g) golden raisins
  • 2 cups (16 fl. oz./500 ml) water
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup (1/2 oz./15 g) fresh mint leaves, chopped
  • 1/4 cup (2 fl. oz./60 ml) fresh lemon juice
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste


Remove 1 tsp. finely grated zest from the orange. Juice the orange and measure out 1/4 cup (2 fl. oz./60 ml) juice. (Reserve any extra juice for another use.) Set the zest and juice aside.

Put the saffron threads in a small, dry fry pan over medium heat and toast, shaking the pan constantly, until fragrant and a shade darker, about 1 minute. Immediately transfer to a small bowl and let cool, then crumble with your fingertips. Set aside.

In the same fry pan over medium heat, toast the pine nuts, stirring constantly, until lightly browned and fragrant, 3 to 5 minutes. Immediately pour onto a plate to cool. Set aside.

In a large heatproof bowl, drizzle the olive oil over the couscous and stir to coat well. Scatter the raisins on top.

In a small saucepan over high heat, bring the water to a boil. Stir in the saffron, salt and cinnamon and pour over the couscous. Cover the bowl tightly with aluminum foil and let stand until the couscous is tender and the liquid is absorbed, about 5 minutes.

Remove the foil and fluff the couscous with a fork to separate the grains. Stir in the mint, pine nuts, orange zest, orange juice and lemon juice. Season with pepper and serve immediately. Serves 4.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Healthy in a Hurry, by Karen Ansel, MS, RD and Charity Ferreira (Weldon Owen, 2011).

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