Israeli Couscous Salad with Roasted Mushrooms, Herbs & Pickled Golden Raisins


I love to jump head-first into the culinary wonderland with no particular plan of action (I recommend you wear a helmet though. One is never too cautious). Dishes you create in the spur of the moment are often the best and this salad is the perfect example. It started out as a vague attempt at making a vegetarian recipe but i knew it wasn’t going so well when i caught myself cooking Israeli couscous in chicken stock. I knew it was bad when i put a crispy leg of duck confit on top of the salad. I had a great time doing it though! I’m in no way trying to influence you and i will remain sensible to our vegetarian friends but duck fat wins, baby. Duck fat wins everytime. Umm..


I made the pickled golden raisins a day earlier with no particular intention. These tasty morsels pick up the gentle heat of mustard seeds and make perfect little canvas for inspiration. They’re complex little treats. So i roasted some mushrooms, maitake and shitake to a pleasing crispness, mixed them with the Israeli couscous and pickled raisins and some mustard seeds as well. I found some herbs in my refrigerator, tarragon, chives and parsley. Chopped them very roughly.. large pieces are nice for texture and taste. I made a vinaigrette with sherry vinegar and olive oil, salt and black pepper. I think i added a teaspoon of soy sauce for extra depth. It helped bring out the mushroom flavor. Tossed the whole gang together and shaved some manchego over the top. Damn good.

  • Israeli Couscous Salad with Roasted Mushrooms, Herbs & Pickled Golden Raisinsl

    • Serves 4
  • israeli-couscous-salad-3

    • For the pickled raisin:
    • 1 teaspoon yellow mustard seeds
    • 1 teaspoon brown mustard seeds
    • 1/3 cup sugar
    • 3/4 cup water
    • 4 tablespoons rice vinegar
    • 1 cup golden raisins
    • 1 teaspoon thyme, chopped
    • 1 teaspoon rosemary, chopped
    • 1 hot chili
    • For the salad:
    • 2 cups Israeli Couscous, cooked in chicken stock or water
    • 2 cups mushrooms,preferably shitake and maitake
    • 1 cup fresh herbs, chives, parsley, tarragon. Roughly chopped
    • 1 cup pickled raisins (some mustard seeds too)
    • 1/3 cup sherry vinegar
    • 2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
    • salt and pepper to taste
    • aged manchego, shaved
    • israeli-couscous-salad-4
      For the pickled raisins:
    • Toast the mustard seeds in a small skillet until they start to pop. Bring water and sugar to a boil in a small saucepan. Add the mustard seeds, vinegar, herbs, salt, chili and golden raisins. Bring to a simmer for about 10 minutes. Cool. Cover and reserve in refrigerator overnight.
    • For the salad:
    • Preheat the oven to 350’F. Cut the mushrooms into pieces. Drizzle with olive oil on a sheet tray. Season with salt and pepper and roast until golden brown and slightly crisp around the edges.
    • Mix them with the cooked Israeli couscous, chopped herbs and drained pickled raisins.
    • Whisk the sherry vinegar with salt and pepper and olive oil. Add a touch of soy sauce if you want.
    • Toss the salad with dressing, to taste. Adjust seasoning. Shave some manchego over the top. Serve.
    • israeli-couscous-salad-5

  • Sorry but i couldn’t help display a duck leg on this post.
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  • Its Not You, it’s Brie

    Why don’t more people use Israeli couscous? Don’t they know it’s the next quinoa? Beautiful salad, and the duck legs looks amazing- lush and crispy. Working double time.Is there a recipe posted elsewhere on your site?

  • Bron

    I’ve never had Israeli couscous, but it’s the Pickled Golden Raisins that have me especially tickled… gorgeous, gotta try that!

  • stacey snacks

    Yay for duck legs!
    Henry can’t enough duck confit!
    The Israeli couscous salad looks great with the golden raisins.

  • Bethany (Dirty Kitchen Secrets)

    Hmm. What is Israeli couscous? i’ve never heard of it. In Lebanon we have burghul. That does not look like burghul but it does resemble a semolina based balls we use in a dish called moghrabieh. Must research this, thanks for sharing!

  • Bren

    how do u have time to post back to back? I’m not even finished with my JR post.. waiting on other pics, but still! lovely looking dish! all the components sound like something I’ll dive into, too!

  • Peter

    Indeed Chef Steph…sometimes the best dishes come together in a whirlwind of cooking activity.

    This is very composed, appetizing and only missing some wine!

  • Colloquial Cook

    Pas facile à photographier, ça, dis donc mais tu t’en sors bien, petit. On fera quelque chose de toi si les petits cochons ne te mangent pas avant (ou si les canards ne se vengent pas de toutes les cuisses que leur as confites, héhé).

  • Zenchef

    Kirstin — I don’t have a recipe posted for duck confit yet but i was thinking about it. Soon!

    Bron — It’s nice. I hope you try it.

    Stacey — Ha, this Hen. I knew he was into duck confit!

    Bethany — It’s not burghul. Israeli is how it’s called in the US. There might be other names .

    Bren — I’m on a roll!!

    Peter — Some Greek wine maybe?

    Claire — Tiens. Tu boycottes plus mon blog? 😛

  • Manggy

    Who indeed can resist a duck leg on everything?! I am putting it on top of my cheesecake for the next post, hehe :)
    You *think you added soy sauce? Awesome. Great light (sans duck leg 😉 meal!

  • T.W. Barritt at Culinary Types

    I have a package of Israeli couscous in the pantry, and now I’m inspired. And, pickled raisins! I swear I would eat anything pickled, but this is making me salivate!

  • Amy (Minimally Invasive)

    Soooo… it looks like I’ll be shopping for mushrooms and duck confit this evening. Another gorgeous post, Zen!

  • nina

    I love all the flavors that you have used….it is just the best meals that come together in a minute, isn’t it?

  • Peter

    Duck fat ALWAYS wins. You said it. It’s fall! Confit season has begun!

  • pam

    I am completely intrigued by the pickled raisins.

  • D

    You know up until just a minute ago I thought raisins were worthless. Reading this, its only that its 11:48pm that is stopping me from running to the store to buy some golden raisins.

  • Divina

    This salad looks really amazing and the flavors are just incredible. Your blog is outstanding too. I’m new to your blog. Where have you been all this time? Looking forward to more of your blog posts.

  • pierre

    everything i love here in this receipe !!! thanks for hte sharing and if you like the pistaccio come and see me there is chef dessert !! cheers Pierre

  • Oui, Chef

    I love the flavors you’ve pulled together here, and will definitely be making the pickled raisins soon. Like you, I’m a huge fan of duck fat (thank the heavens for D’artagnan), and duck confit makes me very happy indeed. Great recipe…thanks!

  • uncledee

    mr zenchef, is that duck tongue i see

  • Mélanie

    Je sens que cette salade va aller dans un de mes tupper pour un midi dès cette semaine… sans le canard par contre!
    Tiens, je me dde si je suis vraiment française si ma cuisine n’a encore jamais vu la couleur d’une cuisse de canard confit?!?

  • we are never full

    oh yes… pickled golden raisin… why the f not. i could snack on these while watching a football game and drinking lager!

  • Jamie

    Now what, pray tell, makes couscous Israeli and is it different than the North African couscous I usually buy. Well, either way this dish looks fabulous and I’ll bet that duck fat made it taste fantastic!

  • Barbara

    Looks fabulous; I love Israeli couscous; also called pearl couscous. It is different; like a mini round pasta!

    I didn’t like the sound of pickled raisins…until I read the recipe and now I can’t wait to try this dish. I most often just saute some rosemary and garlic in olive oil and cook the couscous in chicken stock and that’s it, so thank you for something so delicious and beautiful!

  • Cynthia

    I have some Israeli couscous and have been thinking about what to do with them. This gives me an idea. Thanks!

  • 3hungrytummies

    Fabulous! That’s for dinner tomorrow night then :)

  • Tavolini

    What a good idea for the raisins! This looks like a great dish.

    I’ve never tried the Israeli couscous, but I’ve burned my fingers steaming and crumbling the smaller kind 😉

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