Vegetarian Arabian Couscous with Pine Nuts and Raisins Recipe

Arabian Couscous with Pine Nuts and Raisins

Vegetarian Arabian Couscous with Pine Nuts and Raisins Recipe
Region / culture: Arabia, Saudi Arabia | Preparation time: 10 minutes | Cooking time: 15 minutes | Servings: 4 | Vegetarian diet


Arabian Couscous with Pine Nuts and Raisins
Arabian Couscous with Pine Nuts and Raisins

Arabian Couscous with Pine Nuts and Raisins is a delightful dish that combines the nutty flavor of couscous with the sweetness of raisins and the crunch of pine nuts. This dish is a testament to the rich culinary traditions of the Arabian Peninsula, where spices and dried fruits are commonly used to enhance the flavors of both sweet and savory dishes. Perfect as a side dish or a light meal, this recipe is not only delicious but also easy to prepare, making it a great addition to any meal.


The history of couscous dates back to the Berber people of North Africa during the 7th century. It has since become a staple in many North African and Middle Eastern cuisines. The addition of pine nuts and raisins to couscous is a tradition that likely originated from the Arabian Peninsula, where these ingredients are commonly used in cooking. This recipe is a fusion of flavors and ingredients that have been passed down through generations, reflecting the rich culinary heritage of the region.


How to prepare

  1. Heat butter in a saucepan.
  2. Add onion and carrot; sauté until onions are translucent, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add stock and raisins, increase heat to high and bring liquid to a boil.
  4. Add couscous, stir briefly, cover and remove from heat.
  5. Let it stand for 5 minutes.
  6. Stir in pine nuts and lemon juice.
  7. Season with salt and pepper.


  • For a vegan version, use vegetable stock instead of chicken stock. You can also add other dried fruits such as apricots or dates for a different flavor profile. For a spicier dish, add a pinch of cinnamon or cumin.

Cooking Tips & Tricks

To ensure the couscous is perfectly fluffy, be sure to let it sit covered after adding it to the boiling stock and raisins. This allows it to steam properly. Toasting the pine nuts before adding them to the dish enhances their flavor and adds an extra layer of texture. For a more intense flavor, you can soak the raisins in warm water or even in orange juice before adding them to the dish.

Serving Suggestions

This couscous dish can be served as a side with grilled chicken or fish for a complete meal. It also pairs well with a simple green salad for a light lunch or dinner.

Cooking Techniques

The key technique in this recipe is the steaming of the couscous. Ensuring that the couscous is not overcooked and is allowed to steam properly is crucial for achieving the perfect texture.

Ingredient Substitutions

If you do not have pine nuts, slivered almonds or chopped walnuts can be used as a substitute. Quinoa can be used instead of couscous for a gluten-free option.

Make Ahead Tips

This dish can be made ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. Simply reheat gently before serving, adding a little water or stock if necessary to moisten the couscous.

Presentation Ideas

Serve the couscous in a large bowl, garnished with a few whole pine nuts and a sprinkle of chopped fresh parsley or cilantro for color. A wedge of lemon on the side adds a nice touch.

Pairing Recommendations

This couscous dish pairs beautifully with robust flavors such as grilled lamb or roasted vegetables. A crisp, dry white wine or a light-bodied red wine complements the flavors of the dish well.

Storage and Reheating Instructions

Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. To reheat, add a little water or stock and warm gently on the stove or in the microwave.

Nutrition Information

Calories per serving

A serving of this couscous dish contains approximately 250 calories, making it a relatively low-calorie option for a meal or side dish.


A serving of Arabian Couscous with Pine Nuts and Raisins contains approximately 45 grams of carbohydrates. The majority of these carbohydrates come from the couscous and the raisins, providing energy for the body.


This dish contains about 8 grams of fat per serving, primarily from the pine nuts and margarine. Pine nuts are a good source of healthy monounsaturated fats, which are beneficial for heart health.


Each serving of this couscous dish provides around 6 grams of protein. The protein comes from the couscous and pine nuts, making it a good vegetarian source of this essential nutrient.

Vitamins and minerals

Arabian Couscous with Pine Nuts and Raisins is rich in several vitamins and minerals, including Vitamin A from the carrots, Vitamin C from the lemon juice, and iron and magnesium from the pine nuts. Raisins are also a good source of potassium.


This recipe contains gluten (from the couscous) and tree nuts (pine nuts). It is suitable for those who do not have allergies to these ingredients.


Overall, Arabian Couscous with Pine Nuts and Raisins is a nutritious dish that provides a good balance of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats, along with essential vitamins and minerals. It is relatively low in calories and can be a healthy addition to any diet.


Arabian Couscous with Pine Nuts and Raisins is a flavorful and nutritious dish that brings a taste of the Arabian Peninsula to your table. With its combination of sweet and savory flavors, it's a versatile dish that can be served as a side or a main. Easy to prepare and packed with nutrients, it's a wonderful addition to any meal.

How did I get this recipe?

The moment I discovered this recipe is a cherished memory that I hold close to my heart. It all started when I was just a young girl, learning the art of cooking from my own grandmother in our cozy kitchen.

My grandmother was a talented cook who could whip up the most delicious dishes with just a few simple ingredients. She had a knack for combining flavors and creating meals that were not only satisfying but also comforting. One day, while we were flipping through an old recipe book together, she stumbled upon a recipe for Arabian Couscous with Pine Nuts and Raisins. As she read through the ingredients and instructions, her eyes lit up with excitement.

"This recipe is a special one," she explained to me. "It comes from a dear friend of mine who traveled to Arabia and brought back this traditional dish. It's a unique blend of flavors and textures that will transport you to another world."

I was intrigued by the exotic ingredients and the promise of a culinary adventure. My grandmother and I set out to gather the necessary items from the local market - couscous, pine nuts, raisins, and a variety of fragrant spices. As we worked together in the kitchen, she shared stories of her travels and the people she had met along the way. Each ingredient had a story to tell, and I listened intently as she infused the dish with love and history.

The aroma of the spices filled the air as the couscous simmered on the stove. The pine nuts toasted to a golden brown, releasing their nutty fragrance. The raisins plumped up in a bath of warm water, ready to add a touch of sweetness to the savory dish. My grandmother's hands moved with a grace and precision that only years of experience could bring.

Finally, the moment of truth arrived as we plated the Arabian Couscous with Pine Nuts and Raisins. The dish was a beautiful blend of colors and textures - the golden couscous studded with plump raisins and crunchy pine nuts, all enveloped in a fragrant sauce infused with spices. I took my first bite and was instantly transported to a far-off land, where the flavors danced on my tongue and warmed my soul.

From that day on, Arabian Couscous with Pine Nuts and Raisins became a staple in our household. Whenever we craved a taste of the exotic, my grandmother would whip up a batch of this comforting dish, filling our kitchen with the rich aroma of spices and memories. I learned the recipe by heart, knowing that each time I prepared it, I was honoring my grandmother's legacy and the culinary traditions of distant lands.

As I grew older and ventured out into the world on my own, I carried the recipe with me like a precious heirloom. I shared it with friends and loved ones, passing on the story of how I learned to make Arabian Couscous with Pine Nuts and Raisins from my beloved grandmother. And with each bite, I felt her presence in the kitchen, guiding my hands and filling my heart with love and warmth.

To this day, whenever I make Arabian Couscous with Pine Nuts and Raisins, I am transported back to that cherished memory of my grandmother and our culinary adventures together. And as I savor each bite, I am reminded of the power of food to connect us to our past, our present, and the world around us.


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