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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
Inactive Time: 15 mins
Cook Time: 5 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.


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


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.

  1. Posted December 17, 2009 at 6:32 pm

    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. Posted December 17, 2009 at 8:36 pm

    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. Posted December 18, 2009 at 4:55 am

    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. Posted December 18, 2009 at 6:02 am

    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. Posted December 18, 2009 at 3:21 pm

    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
    Posted December 18, 2009 at 4:41 pm

    I just ate this amazing goodness. It was awesome.

  7. Posted December 18, 2009 at 6:07 pm

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

  8. Posted December 18, 2009 at 6:57 pm

    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. Posted December 21, 2009 at 6:22 am

    oh – stunning

  10. Posted January 1, 2010 at 5:53 pm

    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 ­čÖé

  11. Posted January 6, 2010 at 7:19 pm

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

  12. Posted January 18, 2010 at 11:05 pm

    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!

  13. megang
    Posted January 18, 2010 at 11:29 pm

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

  14. Posted February 1, 2010 at 6:52 pm

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

  15. megang
    Posted February 1, 2010 at 7:01 pm

    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.

  16. Julia
    Posted November 30, 2010 at 1:55 pm

    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

  17. megang
    Posted November 30, 2010 at 2:08 pm

    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!

  18. Frankie
    Posted June 23, 2014 at 1:29 am

    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!

  19. megang
    Posted June 23, 2014 at 7:20 am

    Yay! Sounds so awesome, Frankie!

2 Trackbacks

  1. […] it is paired with coconut and almonds with a bit of sweetness from honey. I based the recipe from A Sweet Spoonful and while it doesn’t look like it feeds four, it does as it is quite heavy with the coconut […]

  2. […] Coconut and Blueberry Couscous (Adapted from ASweetSpoonful) […]

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