Instant Pot Israeli Couscous is healthy, tasty, and easy to make in the pressure cooker. With mouthwatering flavors and soft, chewy texture, this Mediterranean side dish is sure to be a dinner favorite!
If you’re looking for a quick and easy side dish that delivers plenty of flavors, this pressure cooker Israeli couscous needs to be on your meal rotation. It’s ready in minutes and makes a refreshing alternative to potato, pasta, or rice.
This Mediterranean salad is a flavorsome and wholesome dish the whole family will love. The delightful chewiness of the pearls combined with savory Feta cheese, citrusy lemon, and fragrant dill is a combination that’s sure to hit the spot!
Israeli Couscous is also called pearl couscous and Jerusalem couscous in the U.S. and “Ptitim” in Israel. Although often mistaken for whole grain due to its appearance and use, it is a type of pasta and made from durum wheat semolina.
Although initially a factory-made substitute for rice during the food scarcity in Israel in the 1950s, pearl couscous soon became a well-loved kid food. What started as a practical solution has gained popularity in other countries and is now widely used in salads, soups, risotto, pilafs, and other grain or pasta-based dishes.
The tiny balls have a nutty flavor from the toasting process, which lends well to various additions such as vegetables and greens, root crops, cheeses, sauces and dressings, and herb and spices.
There are three common types of Couscous which vary in size and cook time. There are also a lot of similar varieties, depending on the region. Some are made from farina, coarsely ground barley, pearl millet, large wheat grain, or even cornmeal. Surrounding areas of West Africa have a version made from grated cassava.
- Moroccan Couscous has the tiniest grains of semolina. It is slightly bigger than cornmeal and the quickest to cook
- Israeli Couscous or Ptitim is pellet-sized semolina and takes longer than a Moroccan couscous to cook.
- Lebanese Couscous or Moghrabieh is the largest. It is similar to peas in size and takes the longest to cook.
- Pearl couscous is pre-toasted during processing, but you can further enhance the flavor by sauteing the dry pasta in oil or butter until lightly browned.
- To give the dish a splash of color, use tri-color couscous.
- For a vegetarian version, swap the chicken broth with vegetable broth or water and the feta cheese with garbanzo beans.
- When cooked, fluff the couscous with a fork to loosen clumps.
- This pearl couscous salad can be enjoyed warm or cold. It makes a delicious and satisfying side dish or bulk it up with garbanzo beans and veggies such as diced cucumbers and halved cherry tomatoes into a hearty meal-in-itself.
- Keep leftovers in a covered container and refrigerate for up to 3 days.
- To make ahead, pressure cook the pasta and store separately from the cheese. Toss all the ingredients when ready to serve.
Instant Pot Israeli Couscous
- 1 cup Israeli/ pearl couscous
- 1 1/4 cup chicken broth or water
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon dried dill
- 1/2 cup Feta cheese, crumbled
- 1 lemon
- In the Instant Pot, place the pearl couscous, broth, olive oil, and dried dill.
- Close the lid and set the valve to the SEALING position. Pressure cook on HIGH pressure for 5 minutes.
- Once cooking time is finished, do a QUICK RELEASE.
- Using a fork, fluff the couscous and transfer to a large bowl.
- Add the crumbled Feta cheese and freshly squeezed lemon juice. Toss to combine.
- Serve warm or cold.