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This pearl couscous with pistachio pesto is a mean green dinner. Loaded with herbs and aromatics, it’s just what you need for dinner tonight.

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When you’re looking to make a simple, easy dinner recipe, look no further than this pearl couscous with pistachio pesto. It’s unbelievably easy to prepare and comes together quickly.

The basis of this recipe is a pistachio pesto, which is a combination of fresh herbs–like basil, dill, parsley–as well as a little oil and a handful of pistachios and two cloves of garlic. Toss these in a food processor and blend until completely pureed and set aside.

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The next layer of this dish is aromatics – fennel and leeks, in particular. Start by sautéing a sliced fennel bulb until well-browned. Add cherry tomatoes and cook until beginning to soften but not completely broken down.

Remove the fennel and tomatoes from the pot and add leeks and cook in butter until they just begin to soften. Add the couscous and cook until it’s well-toasted.

From there, it’s just a matter of simmering the couscous in stock until it is completely softened. To finish the fish, add a few whole basil leaves, the reserved pistachio pesto and then fold in the fennel and tomatoes. That’s it!

I served with a few additional herbs on top to add a bit of brightness to the finished plate.

Looking for more vegetarian recipes? Check my archives!

If you made this recipe, please rate the recipe below and leave a comment to tell me how you liked it! If you take a picture of it, please tag me on Instagram so I can feature you in my feed!

Pearl Couscous with Pistachio Pesto_MidPage – 1

Pearl Couscous with Pistachio Pesto

This pearl couscous with pistachio pesto is a mean green dinner. Loaded with herbs and aromatics, it's just what you need for dinner tonight.
5 from 2 votes
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Course: Dinner
Cuisine: Universal
Keyword: couscous, easy, fast, healthy, pasta, vegetables, vegetarian
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 4
Calories: 485kcal
Author: Kylie Perrotti


  • Wide pot
  • Food processor


Pistachio Pesto:

  • 3 ounces fresh basil leaves stems discarded; a few leaves reserved for garnish
  • 1 ounce fresh dill a few sprigs reserved for garnish
  • ½ cup fresh parsley leaves and tender stems a few leaves reserved for garnish
  • ½ cup shelled pistachios
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Pearl Couscous

  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 fennel bulb cored and thinly sliced into wedges, a few fronds reserved for garnish
  • 12 ounces cherry tomatoes
  • 1 leek thoroughly rinsed, trimmed, and thinly sliced into rounds
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup pearl couscous
  • 2 cups vegetable stock
  • ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper plus more, if desired
  • Salt and pepper to taste


Prepare the Pistachio Pesto:

  • Combine all of the ingredients for the pesto in a food processor and pulse until completely blended. Taste and season with salt and pepper and set aside.

Cook the Fennel and Tomatoes:

  • Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a wide pot over medium-high heat. Add the fennel and cook, stirring occasionally for 6-7 minutes until it begins to brown around the edges. Add the tomatoes and cook an additional 5 minutes until they begin to soften but not completely break down. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a bowl.

Cook the Leeks:

  • Melt the butter into the pot and add the leeks. Cook for 4-5 minutes until softened.

Cook the Couscous:

  • Add the pearl couscous to the leeks and cook for 1-2 minutes until it just begins to toast and turn golden brown.

Simmer the Pearl Couscous:

  • Pour in the vegetable stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes until the couscous is tender. Season with salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper to taste.

Finish the Couscous:

  • Pour in the pistachio pesto and toss to coat. Fold in the fennel and tomatoes and toss gently to coat everything with the pesto. Taste and season once again to taste. Turn off the heat.

To Serve:

  • Divide the pearl couscous between bowls and garnish with the reserved herbs – a few basil leaves, a few sprigs a dill, a few fennel fronds, and a couple parsley leaves. Drizzle with a touch of extra virgin olive oil, if you like. Enjoy!


Calories: 485kcal | Carbohydrates: 52g | Protein: 14g | Fat: 27g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 15mg | Sodium: 145mg | Potassium: 923mg | Fiber: 7g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 2823IU | Vitamin C: 40mg | Calcium: 140mg | Iron: 4mg

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