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Pearl CousCous with Peas, Mint and Lemon Herb Ricotta

This Pearl CousCous with Peas, Mint and Lemon Herb Ricotta is a deliciously flavorful dish that's bursting with fresh herbs, creamy ricotta and bright citrus. It makes a great addition to your meal as an appetizer, side dish or main. Plus, it feels a bit fancy and is great for celebrating or entertaining!
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Total Time30 mins
Keyword: chickpeas, couscous, couscous salad, lemon, mint
Servings: 3 people

Ingredients

  • 1 cup pearl couscous uncooked
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 tsp. olive oil
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 1/3 cup peas
  • 1/4 cup coarsely chopped kalamata olives
  • 1 tbsp. extra chopped fresh parsley, basil and mint for serving
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon for serving
  • 1 tsp. za'atar seasoning optional

Tofu Ricotta

  • 1/2 of a 14 oz. block firm or extra firm tofu pressed well to remove water
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. (packed) fresh parsley
  • Juice of 3/4 lemon
  • 1/2 tsp. nutritional yeast plus more to taste, if desired
  • 3/4 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 1/2 to 3/4 tsp. garlic powder to taste
  • 1/4 cup (packed) marinated artichokes, drained
  • 2 medium-sized fresh basil leaves
  • 1/2 tbsp. (packed) fresh mint

Dressing

  • 3-4 tbsp. olive oil start with 3 tbsp. and add another tbsp. if desired
  • 1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 tbsp. agave
  • 1 tbsp. dijon mustard
  • 1 tbsp. finely chopped shallot can substitute red onion
  • 3/4 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper
  • 3/4 tsp. garlic powder

Instructions

  • In a small saucepan, add the pearl couscous and the 1 tsp. oil. Turn on medium heat and "toast" the couscous, stirring periodically and watch carefully to avoid burning. This process takes 3 to 5 minutes. Have 1 1/4 cups of water (or vegetable broth for extra flavor) ready to add.
  • Toast the pine nuts while the couscous is cooking, by placing them in a small skillet over medium heat. You can do this process while you're separately toasting the couscous in the saucepan, as both will need watching carefully / periodic stirring to avoid burning, and they take around the same amount of time to toast.
  • When the couscous has toasted, add the water (or broth) and the 1/2 tsp kosher salt, and cover. Bring to a boil then turn down the heat to a gentle simmer (covered) for around 5 to 6 minutes (go according to package instructions).
  • Separately, steam 1/3 cup of frozen peas. You can do this in the microwave (peas + water) or on the stove. Check your package instructions for cooking.
  • While the couscous and peas are cooking, drain and squeeze excess water from the tofu using kitchen / paper towels (gently squeeze the tofu between the towels with your hands). Then place the tofu into the food processor along with the other Tofu Ricotta ingredients. Gently pulse until everything is incorporated / chopped.
  • Whisk the Dressing ingredients together in a bowl.
  • In a serving dish, place the cooked couscous, peas, olives and around half of the dressing. Mix together and add more dressing until desired amount is reached. Stir in the za'atar seasoning, if using.
  • Just before serving, you can add more dressing (and/or a generous squeeze of extra lemon juice), and the extra finely chopped fresh herbs. Then top with large dollops of the Tofu Ricotta and sprinkle the toasted pine nuts over the dish.