Do you ever run out of time when it comes to dinner? Through a few flavor boosters, this recipe is ready in 7 minutes—reason enough to keep a stash of cous cous with pine nuts and our dried figs on hand in the pantry at all times. Here’s what makes this side dish sizzle.
Go Golden with Figs
Orchard Choice and Sun-Maid California Dried Figs are the silent star in this dish—use black mission figs for a more intense sweetness. We prefer our dried golden figs in this dish for their color and the nuttiness they impart.
Why Cous Cous is a Stand-out Sidekick
While cous cous might look like a whole grain, it’s actually part of the pasta family. These tiny pellets are made of semolina and often can be found made with whole wheat for a bit more of nutritional punch, though the version made with semolina is more often what you will find in the market. What makes this tiny pasta such a great meal-saver is that once you boil liquid and pour in the cous cous, all that is required is to cover, turn off the heat and let it steam for 5 minutes before fluffing and serving.
Cous cous is not intended to be confused with “pearl” cous cous or Israeli cous cous which are much larger and require a longer cooking time. They are not typically interchangeable.
First Stop: Saute
If you know someone at your dinner table who might pass on their vegetables, give this side dish a try. It uses grated carrot that cooks down into melted butter to draw out the sweetness of the root vegetable with warming cinnamon. This ingredient combination alone would make the cous cous a good side for Moroccan and Mediterranean cooking.
Cous cous with pine nuts is actually a pretty classic combination. Toasting the pine nuts is an easy way to deepen the flavor in a flash. You don’t have to rely just on pine nuts—slivered almonds work in a pinch. In the same way that home cooks might toast rice grains before cooking them to impart a toasty nutty flavor, this recipe also employs that idea, sauteing the cous cous with the carrots and golden dried figs for what might seem too long—just make sure to keep stirring.
Garnish with Gusto
Garnish the cooked cous cous with a sprinkling of toasty nuts and chopped herbs for a final flourish.
Carrot Pine Nut Cous Cous with Figs
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 medium carrots grated
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 2 cups couscous
- 1 cup chopped Orchard Choice or Sun-Maid California Figs about 6 ounces
- 1 1/4 cups water
- 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
- 1 teaspoon table salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- ¾ cup toasted pine nuts
- 3 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
- ½ teaspoon orange zest
- 1 tablespoon orange juice
- Heat butter in medium saucepan over medium-high heat. When foaming subsides, add the grated carrots and ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon; cook, stirring frequently, until carrots soften, about 2 minutes.
- Add couscous and figs and cook, stirring frequently, until grains are just beginning to brown, about 5 minutes. Add water, broth, and salt and pepper; stir briefly to combine, cover, and remove pan from heat. Let stand until grains are tender, about 7 minutes.
- Uncover and fluff grains with fork. Stir the toasted pine nuts, fresh parsley leaves, orange zest, and orange juice into couscous before serving.