Couscous with Almonds, Raisins and Saffron Onions

Recipe courtesy of Joyce Goldstein, Mediterranean Fresh (W.W. Norton & Co., 2008) Photo courtesy of Andre Baranowski



  • 1 cup raisins
  • 4 1/8 cups water
  • ¼ tsp. saffron
  • 2 Tbsp. California Olive Ranch extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • Freshly grated zest of 1 orange
  • 2 cups couscous
  • 1 cup fresh orange juice
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1 ½ tsp. cumin
  • 1 tsp. sea salt
  • 1 cup slivered almonds, toasted
  • About ½ cup basic citrus dressing (see below)
  • Chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley or mint, for garnish

For the basic citrus dressing

  • ½ cup California Olive Ranch extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


Directions for the citrus dressing: Whisk all the ingredients together in a bowl.

  1. Put the raisins in a small bowl, cover with 3 cups hot water, and set them aside to plump.
  2. In a small saucepan, combine the saffron with 1/8 cup water and bring to a simmer over high heat. Remove from the heat and steep for 15 minutes.
  3. Heat the California Olive Ranch extra virgin olive oil in a medium sauté pan and cook the onion over the medium heat until tender and translucent, about 7 minutes. Add the saffron infusion and orange zest and simmer 3 minutes. Drain and set aside.
  4. Place the couscous in a 9-inch baking pan or Pyrex baking dish.
  5. Combine 1 cup water and the orange juice, spices, and salt in a saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Pour over the couscous and cover the pan tightly with foil. Let sit for 10 minutes, then fluff with a fork.
  6. Drain the raisins well. Toss the raisins, onion, almonds, and citrus dressing with the couscous. Adjust the seasoning and add salt to taste. Place on a platter or in a bowl and top with parsley or mint. You may garnish this with slices of melon or other fresh fruits or lettuce leaves if you like.


20 minutes




6-8 servings
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