Roasted eggplant Israeli couscous is a great Mediterranean style dish that is packed with flavor and vegetarian. The caramelized eggplant is the star of the show. This is a wonderful side for a light meal and great for meal prep.
This is one of those side dishes that just somehow happens to disappear quickly. It is a fresh and easy to make recipe that quickly becomes a favorite for anyone that eats it. Another one of my favorite parts about this recipe is that it is vegetarian so everyone can enjoy it without worry. It can also be made gluten free by swapping it for some GF couscous. This can easily go from a side to a meal with the addition of tofu, chicken, and feta.
In this recipe
There isn’t a lot to this recipe and that is one of my favorite parts. Plus, if you need to go out to get anything almost everything is easy to get ahold of which is always a plus!
Israeli couscous: Sometimes called pearl couscous is a pasta similar to couscous but larger. Can be swapped for regular couscous as well.
Eggplant: this is the other star of the show, and the caramelization adds a richness and slight sweetness to the dish.
Balsamic vinegar: will provide brightness and help cut through some of the richness that the olive oil provides.
Lemon juice: gives a nice acidic kick to the dish as well as that fresh lemon flavor.
How is it different than normal couscous?
One of the biggest differences between Israeli (pearl) couscous and normal couscous is the size. They are both forms of pasta however they are not really related to each other. Couscous is made with semolina, flour, and water that are rolled into small pellets. Israeli couscous is made like normal pasta and pushed through an extruder and cut into small balls and then toasted. This gives it the trademark nutty flavor.
Caramelizing the eggplant
This is one of my favorite parts of the recipe. One because I love the flavor of caramelized eggplant and so does Baldr for that matter, and two because it is so easy. When you toss the eggplant it will act the an sponge and soak up all that oil and you might see some pieces with more oil on it than others. That is ok as long as you gave it a good toss.
Now what I will do to make sure it is more evenly distributed is to toss in a tablespoon at a time to help evenly coat the eggplant. You also need to make sure the oven temp is really high, so it doesn’t get mushy.
Making roasted eggplant Israeli couscous
One of the things I like to do before mixing everything up is to let the ingredients cool down a bit. If you toss all the ingredients together when they are really hot it can impact some of the flavors. Lemon juice should always be added at the end as well as the vinegar. This preserves the bright flavors of each as well as keeping the juice from turning bitter. Plus, it makes the perfect complement to the sauteed shallots and garlic.
Looking for other eggplant recipes?
Roasted Eggplant Israeli Couscous
- Sheet pan
- Mixing Bowl
- 1½ pounds eggplant cubed
- 1½ cups vegetable stock
- 1 cup Israeli couscous dry
- ½ cup shallots chopped
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 3 tablespoons parsley chopped
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest
- 1 tablespoon garlic chopped
- 1 teaspoon thyme
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- ½ teaspoon salt
- Preheat the oven to 450F, 230C, or gas mark 8.
- In a mixing bowl add the cubed eggplant, salt, pepper, thyme, and 3 tablespoons olive oil and toss to coat evenly. Pour onto a lined sheet pan and bake for 25 minutes. Stir halfway through to let all sides of the eggplant caramelize.
- In a saucepan add the vegetable broth and cook couscous according to package directions. Allow to cool.
- While the couscous and eggplant are cooking heat the remaining tablespoon of olive oil in a skillet over medium high heat and cook shallots until they become translucent. Add the garlic and cook for another 30 seconds and remove from the heat.
- In a mixing bowl combine the couscous, shallot mixture and roasted eggplant. Add the lemon juice, lemon zest, parsley, and balsamic vinegar and gently toss to combine.