Pearl Couscous With Creamy Feta and Chickpeas Recipe (2024)



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Cooking Notes

Jimmy Mack

Oops. Step 2 doesn’t look complete. When do the couscous and chickpeas go into the stock?


Made it tonight as written. Nice...but I think it would enjoy it more with the addition of some kalamata olives.


Thank you, Carol K., for your question on terminology. I went to my local market and searched in vain for "pearl couscous," ultimately deciding Israeli couscous would have to do, not realizing they are the same thing. Using the search engine on the NYTimes cooking site, you'll find three recipes for "pearl couscous" and 27 recipes for "Israeli couscous." I'd suggesting indexing all of these recipes with both names, to avoid this kind of confusion.

Jon Sade

Sub out of season tomatoes for roasted fennel, cauliflower or turnips. Save yourself complication and add brightness by subbing balsamic for the lemon juice from the lemon you just zested. I would also lower the zest by about half since its pretty potent stuff.

Miriam Esterkis

I added kalamata olives and shrimp for the last ten minutes. We couldn’t stop eating this .


@hazelfield.....Step 3 is where the couscous and garbanzos (aka chickpeas) go it. You don't cook the couscous separately. The hot stock you add to the pan after it has everything in it (save the feta) will be enough liquid to cook the couscous during baking.


This was dinner tonight. I used water plus the dregs of a jar of chicken Better Than Bouillon as my liquid, a palmful of dried thyme instead of the fresh oregano, and some parsley as the finishing herb. I’d do this again, but I’d probably skip the parm. I couldn’t taste it (totally lost the flavor under the feta), and it didn’t add anything texturally, either. If I felt the need for an umami hit, I’d add a splash of either soy sauce or fish sauce to the liquid.


I made this with quinoa instead of cous cous. I also added 2 cups of finely chopped kale to the hot broth. I extended the cooking time to 30 min. I omitted the baked-in feta and just used it for garnish. It came out delicious. I great cold lunch salad.


This recipe is transcendent. Truly, one of the best recipes from NYT I've ever made (and I've made a lot). Would be fabulous with a piece of chicken or salmon, though I was happy to snarf it up on its own. Cooking the stock with the cilantro, lemon, and cumin is integral. Could easily substitute a grain like farro for the couscous, though I doubt it would make any meaningful improvements. Excellent!

Cindy S

After reading other notes, I added toasted pine nuts and squeezed the zested lemon over the top. The brightness of the lemon juice was the proverbial icing on the cake.

Carol K., Portland

Are "pearl couscous" the same as the boxed "Israeli couscous" I see at Trader Joe's?


Add a shallot to roast with the tomatoes. Add the scallions at the end with the fresh herbs. Used fresh parsley and oregano since that's in my winter garden. Can't wait to try it with cilantro and some green chili. Maybe a little miso in the broth for a little umami. Can see where this could be a full meal with grilled or rotisserie chicken in it. Yummy.


When none of your local markets have any pearl couscous and you don't want to get it from Amazon, orzo works pretty well (had to bake an extra 5 minutes). I will make it with the couscous once I find some. The lemon is a must, such a nice bright flavor. Winner.


Jimmy: Re your question about when couscous and chickpeas are added, see Step 3 as now posted. "Remove tomatoes from oven and fold in couscous, chickpeas and hot stock mixture. Cover pan tightly with foil, and return to oven for 20 minutes."

Sue & Jim Aiken

We made this dish using what we had on hand, so we made some changes that worked well for us. First, we used roasted red bell peppers instead of tomatoes; second, we added merguez sausage (sautéed separately, sliced and folded in to couscous mix) and, since we had abandoned any pretext of having a vegetarian dish, we used chicken broth. Served it with harissa. This makes it sound like a different dish, but we never would have thought of it without having this nice recipe as a starter.


It turned out great but some did not like Rosemary for the first herb so next time will try oregano - used cilantro for second (was a little uncertain which herbs best with all the “or” statements with herb parts)


Amazingly good! Followed the recipe but I can tell that this dish is a very good base for lots of variations.


I made this today to meal prep for lunches this week. Once I was done making it, I realized this could be made in 15-20 minutes total if you just make the broth on the stove top and put the couscous and chickpeas in the broth while the tomato mixture roasts. This would also make it easier to add veg to the roasting process without it getting too mushy too. I will make this again, but there isn’t really a point to pouring the broth, chickpeas, and couscous in and baking for another 20 minutes.


Yowza was this good! Used fresh oregano and cilantro. Wouldn’t change a thing.


Delicious vegetarian main course for me, and served it with Ali Slagle’s Greek Chicken with Cucumber-Feta salad for the non vegetarians in the house. The cool, crispy salad made a great accompaniment and the chicken baked along with the couscous. I served olives and pita bread on the side.


Substitutions:Vidalia onions instead of scallions. Better than bullion vegetable base for stock. Add cauliflower cut small, zucchini (cut small), fingerling potatoes (par cooked and cut in quarters). Toss vegetables in ras el hanout and olive oil prior to roasting vegetables. Follow other directions except eliminate balsamic vinegar. Add olive muffuletta for briny flavor.

Tama W

Would cannellini beans be a decent substitute for chick peas here? As much as I love chick peas, I’ve got a kiddo who can’t eat them. Looking for alternatives.

Rae Rae McCool

Don’t change a thing. Mmmmmm


Delicious. Forgot to buy scallions, used finely diced red onion that was on hand. Used dried Oregano, and three large cloves of garlic instead of two. Next time would put more feta in at step 4, and use a full tsp of cumin.


Wonderful with lamb loin chops on the side.


Maybe less feta, ash liked the texture/liquid aspect so maybe more broth slightly…miso or lemon juice are interesting


Good, but next time I’ll add the fresh cilantro (or dill or parsley) at the very end. Couldn’t taste any of that flavor,


Added lemon juice with feta and olives


Great recipe. Very flavourful and easy to make. I added lightly toasted pine nuts, switched scallions for shallots, switched Parmesan for Gruyère cheese and added a touch of white wine.


I toasted the tomatoes with a shallot and doubled the tomatoes. Don’t add too much salt. Used parsley and cilantro. Also used cannellini beans instead of chickpeas.

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Pearl Couscous With Creamy Feta and Chickpeas Recipe (2024)
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