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Spiced Couscous Pilaf with Almonds, Currants & Mint

Scott Phillips

Servings: four to six.

Warm Middle Eastern spices and fresh mint make this pilaf a great accompaniment to lamb roasts or chops, seared scallops, roast chicken, or sausages. Serve the couscous loose, or for a more formal presentation, you can make timbales by packing the couscous into ramekins and unmolding them onto your serving plates.


  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 small onion, finely diced (about 3/4 cup)
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • Pinch ground cinnamon
  • 1-3/4 cups homemade or low-salt canned chicken broth (one 14-ounce can)
  • 1/4 cup dried currants
  • 1 cup medium-grain (Moroccan) couscous
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh mint
  • 1/4 cup slivered almonds, toasted
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice; more to taste

Nutritional Information

  • Nutritional Sample Size based on six servings
  • Calories (kcal) : 210
  • Fat Calories (kcal): 70
  • Fat (g): 8
  • Saturated Fat (g): 1
  • Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 1
  • Monounsaturated Fat (g): 5
  • Cholesterol (mg): 0
  • Sodium (mg): 330
  • Carbohydrates (g): 30
  • Fiber (g): 3
  • Protein (g): 6


  • Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and 1/4 teaspoon of the salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is very soft, about 7 minutes. Add the cumin, coriander, turmeric, and cinnamon, and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Stir in the broth, increase the heat to high, and bring to a boil. Add the currants, cover, remove the pan from the heat, and let sit for 10 minutes so the currants can plump.
  •  Return the broth to a boil over high heat. Stir in the couscous and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, cover, remove from the heat, and let sit for 5 to 7 minutes. Scrape a fork through the couscous to fluff it. Add the mint and almonds and stir them into the couscous with the fork. As you stir, sprinkle on the lemon juice to taste. Serve immediately.


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