Portobello Mushroom Israeli Couscous with Truffle Goat Cheese

Portobello Mushroom Israeli Couscous with Truffle Goat Cheese Recipe

Potatoes, rice or pasta typically serve as the starch in our daily meals, but when it's time for a change I turn to Israeli couscous. Like all starches, it's a versatile foundation upon which you can build any combination of flavors.

In this recipe, I cooked Israeli couscous with Portobello mushrooms, basil tomato sauce, arugula and truffle-flavored goat cheese. It can be served as a side dish, or as a main course for vegetarians. Either way, its looks will catch your eye and the taste won't disappoint. 


Yields: 6 servings

3 cups Israeli toasted couscous
1 Portobello mushroom
3 tablespoons olive oil
½ yellow onion, finely chopped
8 ounces tomato basil pasta sauce, store-bought
6 ounces truffle goat cheese (see tips), at room temperature
1 teaspoon black pepper, freshly cracked
1-½ tablespoons salt
½ cup arugula, finely chopped


Prepping the Portobello mushroom: Using the edge of a spoon, scrape and remove the gills of the Portobello mushroom. Wipe the inside clean using a paper towel (see tips). Brush the mushroom with oil.  Cut into ½" pieces. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a non-stick pan. Add the onions and cook over medium-low hear for about 10-15 minutes, stirring frequently to prevent them from burning. Add the mushrooms and cook until shiny and softened. Transfer to a plate. Set aside.

Cooking Israeli couscous: Bring about 2 quarts of water to a boil. Add the couscous, bring back to a boil, then immediately lower the heat to a gentle boil. Cook the grains for about 10 minutes. Season with salt and continue cooking for an additional 5-8 minutes. Keep stirring every now and then so it doesn't stick to the bottom. When the couscous is cooked (cooked inside and out but still in shape and firm), reserve about 2 to 2-½ cups of the liquid and drain it. Transfer to a large serving bowl.

Assembly time:
In the same pan, add a little more olive oil. Add the cooked Israeli couscous and toss for about 2 minutes. If the couscous starts sticking to the bottom, add a little reserved water. Add the tomato sauce, truffle goat cheese and about 2 cups of  reserved liquid. Cook until the goat cheese is completed melted. Season with salt and pepper. Stir well. Turn off the heat and add the Portobello mushroom mixture. Mix until the couscous is well coated. Check seasoning. Add more salt if necessary. 

Sprinkle with arugula. Stir well and let sit for about 5 minutes.

Serving suggestion: Accompany with white meat and grilled vegetables.

Bon appétit


Israeli couscous, also called pearl couscous, is a grain-shaped pasta that keeps a firm, al-dente texture when it's cooked. I also often serve it as salad. I bought it at my favorite local market called the Milk Pail in Mountain View, CA.

Removing the gills of Portobello mushrooms prevents the dish from turning dark once cooked.

I used Cypress Grove brand goat cheese called "truffle Tremore". It's a velvety-textured cheese with earthy flavors.

The addition of arugula adds a hint of peppery flavor to the dish. It's added at the last minute, so it barely cooks and wilts with the heat from the Israeli couscous.

You can use any other vegetables that are in season.

Published By: Jacqueline Pham on March 30, 2012.


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