Pesto Couscous | This pesto couscous recipe is the easiest side dish you'll make this week! It'll take you about 2 minutes to measure and put together the simple ingredients and then it's just a 5-minute wait for this flavorful, pesto-y, side dish. This easy recipe makes the perfect base for couscous bowls - great for meal prepping!
I spend a lot of enjoyable time in the kitchen, but there are times when I'm not prepared for dinner, or I'm tired, or I had too much fun during the day and I need a last-minute side dish.
Do you have those days when you just don't know what to make? Those days when you just don't have time? Go for couscous on those evenings.
I love couscous on its own but it's also super easy to add big flavor to a cup of dried couscous and it only takes 5 minutes to cook. 5 minutes!
This Pesto Couscous is also a super budget-friendly recipe. Couscous is only a few dollars per bag and you'll only need a portion of the bag. Homemade pesto is inexpensive - and if you make my Oregano Pesto, I don't use pine nuts, which are expensive.
You could also use storebought pesto which is only a few dollars a jar - and you'll only need a portion of the jar!
About the ingredients for this recipe.
See the recipe card below for exact amounts.
- Couscous - Regular or whole wheat couscous.
- Pesto - I use my homemade Oregano Pesto recipe for this Pesto Couscous. You can use your own homemade pesto or a storebought basil pesto if you prefer.
- Lemon Juice - a tablespoon just to brighten up the flavors a bit.
- Olive Oil - good Extra Virgin Olive Oil, for additional flavor and to loosen the couscous up a little more.
About Couscous: I use regular couscous in this recipe. You could try pearl couscous (also called Israeli couscous) or you could try my Pearl Couscous Salad with fresh herbs. I've linked both types of couscous so you can see what they are if you're not familiar with them.
As long as you have some Pesto on hand, this recipe takes less than 5 minutes.
How to Make Couscous
- Measure the dry couscous into a bowl.
- Add an equal amount of water.
- Add pesto.
- Stir briefly and set a lid on top of the bowl.
- Wait 5 minutes.
- Stir to fluff.
- Add lemon juice, olive oil and salt + pepper to season. Serve.
Making couscous is as easy as combining the couscous with boiling water, in equal amounts. Then all you need to do is put a lid on to trap the heat and steam and wait for 5 minutes.
When adding the water, give it a good but quick stir just to distribute the pesto kind of evenly. Then let it sit and absorb the liquid.
After 5 minutes, you can remove the lid and fluff up the couscous using a fork. If it's a little dry add a drizzle of oil. I find it helps to loosen up the couscous. Add the juice of half a lemon and then taste and season with salt and pepper. And you're done! Serve it up with whatever you like. I give some ideas below.
Use whatever pesto you prefer. Try a red pesto if you like.
- I like making couscous bowls or grain bowls like this Vegetable Quinoa Bowl. So I stuff some couscous into the side of a shallow bowl and then surround it with roasted vegetables. I usually drizzle on some tahini or tahini dressing and then sprinkle with seeds. If I have sauerkraut I add some of that on the side too. The perfect dinner!
- Add more toppings once the couscous is cooked, like sundried tomatoes, olives, and feta or Parmesan cheese.
- Try my Pearl Couscous Salad for something kind of similar.
All you need is hot water, so a kettle or a pot to boil the water in is necessary.
This recipe stores in the refrigerator for 3-4 days or so. Reheat by microwaving slowly.
More recipes like this
- Pearl Couscous Salad with Fresh Herbs
- Instant Pot Brown Rice with Cumin Seeds
- Indian Spiced Cauliflower Rice
What to serve with this recipe
- Combine dried couscous, pesto and boiling water together in a bowl. Stir breifly and add a lid. Let sit for 5 minutes.
- Remove lid, fluff couscous with a fork.
- Add lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper. Setir and serve.
Nutritional information is an estimate. Values vary based on products used.
Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, meaning I get a commission if you decide to purchase through my link, at no extra cost to you.
Couscous is a tiny wheat pasta made of semolina flour and water. It's not a grain despite it's looks.
Pesto is a bright green Italian sauce traditionally made with basil leaves, parmesan cheese, garlic, pine nuts, and olive oil. It's commonly used on pasta.
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