This Parmesan spinach couscous is a quick and delicious side dish made with a handful of pantry staples. It can be prepared in just 20 minutes. Serve it as a side dish with your favorite protein or eat it as a vegetarian main dish!
Let’s talk about couscous! While you might think of it as a grain, it’s actually a tiny pasta! I love it because it cooks in just a few minutes. I get whole wheat couscous from Trader Joe’s and it actually has a hearty amount of protein and fiber which means it’ll keep you full and satisfied!
Types of couscous
There are two common types of couscous. Regular couscous is small and cooks very quickly. The grains are about the size of cornmeal. Israeli couscous is larger and takes much longer to cook. I used regular couscous but you could try this with Israeli couscous if that’s all you have. You’ll just need to adjust the water and cooking time.
How to cook couscous
Cooking couscous is super simple. Once you know the couscous-to-water ratio, you’re good to go! If you’re making regular, whole wheat couscous, use 1 1/2 cups of water for every 1 cup of dry couscous. If you’re making Israeli couscous, reduce the water to 2/3 cup of water for ever 1 cup of dry couscous. Couscous expands a lot after cooking, so 1 cup of dry couscous will usually make about 4 servings.
To prepare the couscous, bring the water to a boil then add the couscous and remove from heat. Let it sit, covered, for about 5 minutes until all the water has been absorbed. Simply fluff with a fork and you’re ready to serve it!
This recipe is an easy way to prepare couscous that gives it tons of flavor. Be sure to use fresh Parmesan cheese in this recipe. I like to grate it just before serving!
- Looking for something other than Parmesan? Substitute Romano cheese, which has an even stronger, saltier flavor. You may need to cut back on the salt in this recipe.
- This recipe works with regular couscous or the larger, pearl couscous, often called Israeli couscous.
- Out of spinach? Try another leafy green like kale! It may need to cook for a minute or two longer. to soften.
- No onions? Try using shallots instead!
This Parmesan spinach couscous is a quick and delicious side dish made with a handful of pantry staples. It can be prepared in just 20 minutes. Serve it as a side dish with your favorite protein or eat is as a vegetarian main dish!
- 2 tablespoon olive oil, divided
- 1/2 medium white onion, diced
- 4 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 1/2 cups of dry couscous
- 2 1/2 cups of water
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese (plus more for garnish)
- 1 cup spinach
- In a large saucepan, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil and add the onion.
- Cook over medium heat for 10 minutes or until the onion is soft and translucent.
- Add the garlic and continue to cook for 1 minute until fragrant.
- In a separate pot, bring the water to a boil.
- Add couscous and remaining tablespoon of olive oil.
- Stir then immediately remove from heat and cover.
- Let the couscous sit for 5 minutes then fluff with a fork once the water has been absorbed.
- Add the couscous, salt, parmesan cheese, and spinach to the onion and garlic.
- Cook for 5 minutes over medium heat, until the spinach wilts slightly.
- Add salt to taste and serve immediately. Add additional parmesan, if desired.
Keywords: Parmesan Couscous
This came together so quickly and easily. I’ve eaten this as a main dish but you could also serve it with your favorite protein and turn it into a side dish!
The flavors reminded me a little bit of this Parmesan orzo pasta. That’s another great quick and easy side dish! It’s great when you’re short on time but still want a flavorful meal.
Have you ever made couscous?
This post was originally published in Feb 2015. Updated April 2019.