Toasted Pearl Couscous with Butternut Squash and  Cranberries

Toasted Pearl Couscous with Butternut Squash and  Cranberries

This is another great fall recipe! This toasted Pearl Couscous with Butternut Squash and  Cranberries has so many ingredients right from the garden! Toasting pearl couscous before cooking it with liquid brings out the pasta’s wheat nutty notes and an enticing aroma.

The unique thing about this recipe is that it pairs the couscous with butternut squash for creamy texture and subtle sweetness, then adds pops of flavor with caraway seeds, dried fruits (including sun-dried tomatoes) and toasted nuts. Serve as vegetarian main or as a side to roasts or kebabs. 


  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup pearl couscous
  • 1 tablespoon caraway seeds
  • 1 pound butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1-inch cubes (about 3 cups)
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries or dried cherries
  • 1/4 cup drained oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, patted dry and chopped
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup pistachios or pumpkin seeds, toasted and chopped 


  1. In a large Dutch oven over medium, combine the oil, couscous and caraway.
  2. Cook, stirring, until the couscous is golden brown.
  3. Add the squash, cranberries, tomatoes, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper, then add 3 cups water.
  4. Simmer, then cover and cook, stirring only once or twice, until the couscous and squash are tender but not mushy, 10 to 14 minutes.
  5. Off heat, stir in pistachios, then season with salt and pepper. 
  6. Optional garnish: chopped parsley.

Note: It’s best to not mix sun-dried tomatoes AND dried fruit. Do either/or. Always use stock instead of water. Also, be certain to use Caraway Seeds and not powder. This is really better every day it rests and gets reheated (Jim’s note).

Start to finish 40 minutes
Serves 4

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