Pearl Couscous Risotto with mushrooms, chestnuts, spinach and Parmesan. This easy vegetarian recipe using pantry staples and some freezer ingredients. Delicious, slimming friendly and on the table in under 30 minutes.
You will also love… my Vegetable Halloumi Curry
I can’t believe it has taken me this long to post this pearl couscous recipe – because it happens to be my go-to meal whenever I am stressed, tired or, let’s not be coy, hungover.
I was all three today and in need of comfort food big time. This recipe is sort of a cheat’s risotto using pearl couscous (Israeli Couscous) instead of rice.
I threw in a bag of frozen wild mushrooms straight from the freezer, a handful of cooked peeled chestnuts, spinach and Parmesan cheese.
Only a handful of ingredients, but when brought together deliciousness happens with minimum effort!
HOW TO MAKE PEARL COUSCOUS RISOTTO
Full measurements and instructions can be found on the printable recipe card at the bottom of the page. Please take a look at the steps and video before attempting this recipe!
Heat the olive oil in a large pot or use low calorie cooking spray for a slimming version. Fry the shallots over low heat for about 5 minutes until softened.
Increase the heat and add the mushrooms and chestnuts. If using frozen mushrooms you can use them straight from frozen. Cook for 5 minutes, seasoning with salt and pepper.
Add the giant couscous, cheese rind (if using) and stir to combine. Gradually add the hot stock and simmer until the couscous is almost cooked through, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes. Add more stock when the liquid is absorbed.
Tip in the spinach (you can use frozen spinach for ease) and stir until it wilts – it will only need a couple of minutes. Take out the cheese rind and stir in the grated cheese until it melts.
Serve with a generous sprinking of finely chopped flat leaf parsley, extra Parmesan and a drizzle of truffle oil.
Pearl Couscous Risotto Variations
This recipe is vegetarian if you use veggie Parmesan; leave the cheese out and it becomes vegan.
ADD PROTEIN If, on the other hand, you want to make it meaty, then a bit of cooked chicken is delicious in this dish and perfect way to use up roast leftovers.
MIX THINGS UP If you can’t find wild mushrooms you can use button chestnut mushrooms instead. And if chestnuts don’t float your boat – I adore them– you can leave them our or replace with walnuts which add a welcome crunch.
The spinach can also be replaced with kale or other greens – this is a versatile and easygoing recipe. Finish by garnishing with grated or shaved Parmesan and a drizzle of truffle oil – delicious!
SLIMMING WORLD VERSION This couscous recipe is slimming friendly – simply replace the oil with cooking spray such as Fry Light and leave out the chestnuts.
Pearl Couscous Risotto
- 1-2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 shallots peeled and finely diced
- 300 g | 10 1/2 oz wild mushrooms diced if large (I used frozen)
- 100 g | 3 1/2 oz peeled and cooked chestnuts roughly chopped
- 1 cup giant couscous
- 450 ml | 2 cups hot vegetable stock you might not need to use it all
- 150 | 5 1/2oz fresh spinach
- small piece of vegetarian Parmesan rind (optional)
- 2 tbsp grated vegetarian Parmesan cheese
- salt and pepper to season
- fresh chopped flat leaf parsley to serve
- truffle oil to serve optional
- Heat the olive oil in a large pot. Fry the shallots over low heat for about 5 minutes until softened.
- Increase the heat and add the mushrooms and chestnuts. If using frozen mushrooms you can use them straight from frozen. Cook for 5 minutes, seasoning with salt and pepper.
- Add the couscous, cheese rind (if using) and stir to combine. Gradually add the hot stock and simmer until the couscous is almost cooked through, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes. Add more stock when the liquid is absorbed.
- Tip in the spinach and stir until it wilts – it will only need a couple of minutes.
- Take out the cheese rind and stir in the grated cheese until it melts.
- Serve with a generous sprinking of finely chopped flat leaf parsley, extra Parmesan and a drizzle of truffle oil.
Replace wild mushrooms with chestnut mushrooms and the chestnuts with chopped walnuts if you prefer.
Joann Maniquis says
Thank you for this recipe! A fantastic medley of ingredients. I made a few changes. I used frozen mixed mushrooms from While Foods. I used barley instead of couscous. It gives it a wonderful chew. I only used the 2 cups of vegetable broth you suggested but had to add more hot water to thoroughly cook the barley. I am looking forward to discovering more great recipes from you.
Dee Garrett says
Wow Lucy. Delicious, thank you for the inspiration for a cosy night in by log fire while snow falls gently outside. A nice pinot grigio to compliment it.
Lucy Parissi says
That sounds blissful indeed 🙂
This sounds delicious and something I never would have thought of. So adaptable too. I can see me making something like this when I have bits and bobs to use up
Lucy Parissi says
Yes it’s great comfort food! I do add whatever needs using up in the fridge – it tastes great with kale too
Julia Frey says
I can’t believe I never thought of this, Lucy!! Talk about triple YUM! I love all the add-ons here and the ease of preparing a meal in 20 min is off the charts fabulous!
Lucy Parissi says
I used to make versions of these for years but it’s that meal we shared at Pied A Terre that inspired me – you had a delicious little side dish made with giant couscous -though it had a pretentious name 😉