Winter Morning Couscous


When I was a vegetarian, I probably made couscous at least twice a week, mainly because it’s so quick and versatile. It takes 10 minutes to cook; you toss in cubed tofu, beans, or roasted vegetables and dinner’s done. Now in last week’s New York Times Dining Section, they featured a recipe for morning couscous with oranges and dates. After all these years, why didn’t I ever think to do a morning couscous? The problem: I found the NYT recipe to be a bit fussy with straining and cheesecloth and steaming…all unnecessary for a quick morning meal, in my opinion. So I spent a few hours in the kitchen and developed my own simpler version of a morning couscous using two of my favorite ingredients: almond and coconut.

The wonderful thing about this recipe is you add the nuts and shredded coconut in at the end, so if you’d rather use dried fruits, raisins, fresh fruit, or different nuts–feel free. I used Israeli couscous (heartier and nice for this time of year) and decided to try cooking the couscous in coconut milk instead of water for a richer, slightly sweet flavor. It turned out beautifully. If you concoct your own version of the recipe, I’d love to hear about it!

Winter Morning Couscous

Winter Morning Couscous

  • Yield: 4
  • Prep time: 5 mins
  • Cook time: 5 mins
  • Inactive time: 15 mins
  • Total time: 25 mins

When you buy cans of coconut milk, the liquid and the solids separate. Give it a good stir and make sure to measure out mostly liquid as that is what the couscous will cook in. I did use sweetened shredded coconut, but you may certainly opt to use unsweetened. If you do, you may just want to add an extra dash of honey or agave.

Ingredients

1 cup Israeli couscous
1 cup coconut milk
1/2 cup sliced almonds, toasted
1/2 cup sweetened shredded coconut
1 Tbsp. honey or agave nectar (use agave to keep recipe vegan)
Dash of salt

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 375 F and toast the sliced almonds until fragrant and just golden brown (5-8 minutes). Remove and set aside.

Pour coconut milk in a small saucepan and heat until almost boiling, but not quite. Add couscous, honey, and dash of salt and stir quickly. Cover the pot and remove from heat; let sit for 15 minutes. During this time, the couscous will absorb the liquid. Once couscous has absorbed all of the liquid, add in the roasted almonds and shredded coconut and a dash more honey to taste (depends on how sweet you like it). Serve with hot tea or coffee and sliced fruit.

Comments

  1. Kelsey B.

    This is a great idea, I never thought of breakfast cous-cous either, though I love the convenience of it. Your photography is really amazing. What camera and lense are you shooting with? have you ever taken a course? I haven't figured out how to do montages like that, but would love to know.

  2. Megan Gordon

    Thanks, Kelsey! That means a lot as it's sort of the one very unexpected passion that's arisen from food blogging...I use a Canon Rebel Xsi and I'll shoot you an email with some more details!

  3. Rachael

    GREAT idea! I often substitute isrealei couscous for grits or oatmeal in the morning! cooking it with coconut milk sounds delish! i usually cook it plain and add some brown sugar and raisins but I cant WAIT to try this out!

  4. Lauren

    I've recently been enjoying brown rice pudding in place of oatmeal in the mornings, and I love the idea of couscous for breakfast!

  5. El

    Great idea. Thanks for tinkering with the recipe for us and sparing us the pain. I'm getting really tired of my regular breakfast. This looks great.

  6. L

    I just ate this amazing goodness. It was awesome.

  7. Mo

    OMG - awesome 1I never thought about couscous in the morning either! Definitely giving this one a try. Thanks!

  8. Megan Gordon

    Lauren-yes, I see that amazing looking brown rice pudding on your site that I'd love to try! Thanks for mentioning...

    Thanks for the comments, El and Mo. It really is easy and delicious.

    And L, I'm so glad you've tried the recipe and enjoyed it!

  9. Dallas Shaw

    oh - stunning
    dallas
    http://dillydallas.blogspot.com

  10. oatsnboats

    That sounds like such a great idea. I can't wait to try it - coconut milk just went on my shopping list so I can try this out as soon as possible. I just discovered Israeli couscous a few months ago and I love it. I can also see this with some cranberries or cherries in it. Yum :-)

  11. saveur

    This looks scrumptious and delicious! I can't wait to try it. :D Thanks for sharing.

  12. iris

    OMG. This recipe sounds amazing! i'm trying it tomorrow morning! will get back to you on what toppings i decide to put with whatever i have in my pantry. Thanks for sharing!

    1. megang

      Please do let me know what you add, Iris...perfect for this time of year. Enjoy!

  13. saveur

    I made this recently and enjoyed it.. a bit heavier than expected so I wonder whether light coconut milk would solve that problem?

    http://tastespace.wordpress.com/2010/02/01/morning-couscous-almond-coconut-honey/

    1. megang

      That's a great question. I haven't tried it, but I'd love to hear how it goes if you do. Do remember that it's supposed to be a hearty breakfast dish (so it should be a bit on the heavy side since it's actually cooked in the coconut milk). It's definitely not your light, airy couscous that you fluff with a fork and call it a day. Yours looked excellent though...glad you enjoyed it.

  14. Julia

    It has been a while since you posted this recipe... I was searching for "couscous with coconut milk" and found your recipe that inspired me to make couscous half with water/half coconut milk with some thin apple slices, dried apricot, cinnamon and almonds. It was really good soulfood. Still, I am searching for an additional spice if you have an idea?
    Best wishes, Julia

    1. megang

      Hi Julia! Two thoughts: nutmeg would be nice. Not too much. Or what about cardamom? I think that'd be fantastic with the apples and apricots. Best of luck. Thanks for stopping by!

  15. Frankie

    I made a version of this tonight using roughly chopped roasted almonds, but with dates instead of coconut, it was so delicious!

    I also added a pinch of a homemade chai wholespice mix (cinnamon, cardamon, clove, coriander seed and aniseed) to the coconut milk while it was heating- so fragrant!

    1. megang

      Yay! Sounds so awesome, Frankie!

  16. Ali

    Megan, just a note that you have this tagged Gluten-free which couscous is not. It looks delicious, and I might use it as a jumping off point with some gluten free grains. Thanks for the inspiration.

    1. megang

      Oh goodness, thank you so much for the note, Ali. Of course. That must've been a mistake in the mad-tagging that was done to bring the new site about. Thank you for catching it - I've updated it now. Have a great weekend (and enjoy the recipe should you try it).

  17. Aidan

    Hi! This is quite a few years later BUT I'd love to make this before it warms up and I turn away from porridge towards smoothies. I'm just wondering - the instructions on my Israeli couscous (Bob's Red Mill) call for 1.5 cups of water for every 1 cup of couscous... Do you think I should add extra water? Or will the lack of excess liquid just make it more porridge-y.

    Thank you so much! :)

    1. megang

      Hi, Aidan! Sorry for the delay here. Interesting. I'd go with the package instructions for that product - perhaps do the 1 up coconut milk as the recipe suggests and 1/4 cup water and I bet it'll turn out perfect. If it starts seeming a little dry, could always add that extra 1/4 cup. Good luck + enjoy.

Join the Discussion

Summer Desserts

Whole Grain Any-Fruit Crisp

Whole Grain Any-Fruit Crisp

On Monday our little family of three is headed to the airport at 6 am to board our first with-baby cross-country trip. We'll be visiting Sam's family in New Jersey for a few days, then renting a car and driving over to meet up with my family at my mom's lake house in the Adirondacks. Sam's younger sister and her kids have yet to meet Oliver; my grandpa has yet to meet him, and Oliver has yet to take a dunk in a lake, see a firefly, or spend quality time with energetic dogs -- of which there will be three. A lot of firsts. This week my family has been madly texting, volunteering to make certain meals or sweets on assigned days while we're at the cabin and it got me thinking about really simple, effortless summer desserts -- in particular, ones that you can make while staying in a house with an unfamiliar kitchen and unfamiliar equipment and still do a pretty bang-up job. I think fruit crisp is just that thing. 

Read More
Thick and Creamy Cherry Almond Ice Cream

Thick and Creamy Cherry Almond Ice Cream

This past week we've had quite a heat wave in Seattle. I've been getting into the bakery early in the mornings so as to avoid the afternoon heat + hot oven combination, and it turns out the upstairs of our new house is quite a little hot box. I bought some aggressive blinds and a new fan and am hoping both will help cool things down a bit. The wool blanket is in the linen closet for the season, and Sam's been making iced tea like it's his job. Summer has arrived! A few nights ago, the thought of actually doing much real cooking seemed a bit overwhelming, so I figured it was time to dig out the ice cream maker and get to work. I'd wanted to do something with the beautiful strawberries we have in the markets right now, but it seems every time I get a little pint it's gone before I have the chance. They are just so incredibly sweet, and it seems a shame to do anything other than eat them right out of the container, preferably while sitting on the Moroccan picnic blanket you brought back from honeymoon on the lawn in your new backyard trying not to stress out about the incredible, insurmountable number of weeds. So. Many. Weeds. But cherries: somehow the bag of cherries made it safely through the weekend, so I set about to find a great cherry ice cream recipe. 

Read More
No-Fuss Hot Fudge Sauce

No-Fuss Hot Fudge Sauce

When you have an eight month old baby, making social plans can be hard. Especially in the evenings. When I was pregnant, I read Bringing up Bebe and one of the big premises of the book is how the French feel strongly that babies and children can fit into your lives and that you shouldn't have to change and alter everything to accommodate them. I remember reading the book and thinking: YES! Life will be just as it was, except we'll have a small baby in tow. Obviously a few things would likely be different, but I didn't want to change our routines, change the way we cooked or approached time off together, or see our friends any less. Well of course I'm the fool. Or at the very least, I'm not as French as I thought I was. Today, we very much schedule things around Oliver's nap schedule and bedtime, but thankfully we have a lot of other friends with kids who get it. Friends who make homemade cookies, own ice cream businesses, and have really great taste in music. Friends who host the kind of occasion that warrants homemade hot fudge sauce and eating dessert first.

Read More
Dating Yourself

Dating Yourself

We're back! After a restful few days in Lake George, I ended up flying home while Sam spent a little time with his family in New Jersey and a few days in New York City by himself before taking the train all the way back to Seattle (a solid four day journey). If you know Sam, this isn't surprising; he loves trains. When he's gone, I quickly revert back to my single gal days of eating veggie quesadillas for dinner (over and over) and staying up working later than I'd like. We would talk on the phone often as Sam would narrate his very full days in New York City and the stops and layovers he had while on the train. After a few days of me lamenting the fact that I wasn't there to experience it all with him, he encouraged me to ditch the quesadillas and do something special for dinner. See a movie. Go to the museum for just an hour. In short: I needed to get better at dating myself.

Read More
Sara’s Peach Derby Ice Cream

Sara’s Peach Derby Ice Cream

I received The Sprouted Kitchen Bowl + Spoon cookbook in the mail not long before we moved to our new house, and I remember lying in bed and bookmarking pages I was excited to try but also feeling overwhelmed with where to start: the truth is that this summer has been a relatively low-inspiration / low energy time in the kitchen for me. I'd been chalking it up to pregnancy but when I think back and if I'm honest with myself, my cooking style tends to be very easy and produce-driven during these warmer months. I rarely break out complicated recipes, instead relying on fresh tomatoes and corn or zucchini and homemade pesto to guide me. But last night I cracked open Sara's book and pulled out a few peaches I've had sitting on the counter, fearing their season may be nearing its end. This morning as I was making coffee, I sliced up the peaches, toasted the pecans and churned away -- having a bite (or maybe two) before getting it into the freezer to firm up. 

Read More