Vegetable Couscous by Rafi Guetta. Photography: Daniel Lila. Styling: Oriya Geva
Vegetable Couscous by Rafi Guetta. Photography: Daniel Lila. Styling: Oriya Geva

Vegetable Couscous

Rafi Gueta teaches us how to make homemade couscous, served with piping hot vegetable soup. Gueta's Shabbat table always includes this vegetable couscous recipe alongside challah.

Ingredients for Vegetable Couscous

For homemade couscous:

  • 2.2 pounds (1Kg) semolina
  • 1 cup (240ml) oil
  • 1 teaspoon Salt

For the vegetable soup:

  • 1 cup chickpeas soaked overnight in a large amount of water
  • 3 carrots coarsely chopped
  • 3 potatoes coarsely chopped
  • 2 onions coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 3 zucchinis coarsely chopped
  • 1.1 pounds (500 grams) butternut squash chopped into cubes
  • 2 celery stalks chopped into 4-inch/10cm long pieces
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric


  • 1. Soak the chickpeas in water overnight.

Preparing the couscous:

  • 2. Place the semolina in a large bowl and pour the oil over it, mixing with your fingertips until the oil is absorbed. Add a teaspoon of salt, keep on mixing with your hands and add 2 cups of water. Continue mixing and mulling the semolina until crumbs form.

  • 3. Bring a ¾ quart/ 3 cups of water to a boil in a steamer pot. Transfer the semolina to the upper section of the pot and place it over the boiling water. Cover and steam for about 30 minutes. Set aside the bottom section of the pot, with half of it containing hot water.

  • 4. Transfer the semolina to a large bowl. Gradually add 3 cups of water and crumble the semolina with your fingers. Reboil the water you set aside, return the couscous to the steamer pot and steam for another 30 minutes.

  • 5. Transfer the semolina to a large bowl. Gradually add 2 cups of water. Wait for the semolina to cool down a bit and, using a coarse mesh sieve, sift it into a bowl.

Preparing the soup:

  • 6. Place the soaked chickpeas in a pot with a ½ quart/ 2 cups of water and cook over a low-medium flame for about 30 minutes.

  • 7. Add the carrots, potatoes, onions, chicken stock and oil and cook for another 30 minutes. Add the remaining vegetables and cook for about 15 minutes until the zucchinis and butternut squash soften. Add salt, pepper and turmeric and season to taste. Cook for about another 5 minutes and remove from the heat. Serve with the couscous.

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The instant version (cut preparation time): for 5 to 7 portions, you will need 1½ to 2 packages of instant couscous. Place the couscous in a bowl, add oil, season, and stir well. Pour one cup of boiling water into the bowl for every cup of couscous, stir again, cover and wait for 10 to 15 minutes.

Variation: if you don’t have chicken stock, you can dissolve a tablespoon of chicken bouillon in water instead.

Three useful cooking tips from Gueta’s kitchen:

1. Meat and lentils should be seasoned after they soften because by then their flavors are more distinct and exact. It is therefore advisable to wait and add the salt towards the end of cooking. The same holds true for garlic. Don’t make do with the garlic you added at the beginning (which after cooking turns sweet), and add more garlic at the end of cooking to enhance the flavor. Lemon and cumin are two other seasonings that require a boost – after cooking for 3 hours, their flavor becomes bland and needs some perking up.

2. Be creative and don’t follow the recipe too closely. Sauces, for example, can be prepared with various cuts of beef. And when you make chraime (a spicy fish stew popular with North African Jews), different types of fish can be used. Just make sure to adjust the cooking times to the cut of beef or type of fish you choose.

3. Have no fear of oil! We use it generously. There is no substitute for its flavor and it plays an important role in cooking. Because the oil ends up floating on top of what is in the pot, it doesn’t have to be eaten. When storing cooked food in the refrigerator, the layer of oil on top keeps it from spoiling.

This recipe is courtesy of the “HaShulchan” website

*שמנו לב שחסרים כמה פרטים קטנים להשלמת הפרופיל שלך ב־FOODISH, אפשר להוסיף אותם בקלות בעמוד המשתמש שלך.