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Pearl Couscous in Saffron Broth

Looking for a luxe vegetarian dinner? This pearl couscous in saffron broth is the place to start for a creamy, golden-hued dinner. If you need an easy, delicious vegetarian saffron recipe to add to your Rolodex, read on!
5 from 4 votes
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Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 5
Calories: 320kcal


  • Wide pot


  • 2 teaspoons neutral oil
  • 1 yellow onion peeled and minced
  • 4 ounces beech mushrooms trimmed and separated
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 teaspoons Aleppo pepper flakes or use 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper and 1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • 1 cup pearl couscous
  • 15- ounce can navy beans
  • 5 cups water or stock divided
  • A pinch of saffron threads
  • ¼ cup heavy cream or coconut milk
  • Salt and pepper to taste

For serving:

  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Fresh watercress leaves or minced parsley
  • Aleppo pepper flakes
  • Crusty bread


Cook the aromatics:

  • Heat the oil in a wide pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook for 5–7 minutes until it begins to soften. Add the mushrooms and cook for 7-8 minutes more until they begin to brown. Season with salt and pepper.

Toast the couscous:

  • Melt the butter into the pot. Once frothy, add the Aleppo pepper and the pearl couscous. Cook for 1-2 minutes until the couscous begins to toast.

Simmer the broth:

  • Add the beans to the pot along with 4 cup of water of broth. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes until the couscous is al dente. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Bloom the saffron:

  • Heat the remaining 1 cup of water in the microwave for 45 seconds until warm. Add the saffron threads and set aside as the broth simmers.

Finish the broth:

  • Add the saffron water and cream to the pot. Simmer for 10 minutes more. Taste and season again. Turn off the heat.

To serve:

  • Ladle the couscous into shallow bowls. Garnish with extra virgin olive oil and fresh watercress leaves. Sprinkle with more Aleppo pepper flakes. Enjoy with crusty bread.


Calories: 320kcal | Carbohydrates: 47g | Protein: 12g | Fat: 10g | Sodium: 431mg | Fiber: 7g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin C: 3mg
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