Orange-Scented Couscous

A Cooking with Kids Original Recipe

Preparation time: 5 minutes
Cook and stand time: 7 minutes Yield: 4 servings as a side dish

Orange Peel  

In this recipe, a hint of fresh citrus wakes up plain couscous, making it an elegantly fragrant side dish. Couscous (KOOS-koos) is actually a North African and Middle Eastern pasta that looks like a tiny grain. You can find instant couscous in the supermarket's rice or pasta aisles. Couscous is a busy person's dream food, because you can prepare it in minutes, it comforts and satisfies, and it can be used as a backdrop for more complex flavors, as suggested in the variations that follow this recipe. Kids old enough to grate the zest from an orange can be a big help with this recipe.


Ingredients and steps

  • 1 medium whole orange with peel, washed and dried
  • 1 cup water, less 2 tablespoons
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil or butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup quick-cooking couscous
  • 1 green onion, for garnish

1. Cover the finest grating side of a box grater with plastic wrap, extending the wrap below it to catch the zest, as shown in the "Say yes to zest!" instructions.

2. Grate the zest from all sides of the orange, making sure to get only the colored surface and none of the bitter white part below the surface.

3. When the orange is completely grated, scrape the zest from the plastic into a small mound; you should end up with about 1 teaspoon or more zest.

4. In a medium saucepan, combine water, olive oil or butter, and salt. Bring to a boil.

5. While the water is coming to a boil, cut the orange in half and squeeze out 2 tablespoons of juice. Set juice aside and reserve the remaining orange for garnish or another use.

6. When the water comes to a boil, remove the pan from the heat and stir in the orange juice and couscous until completely mixed.

7. Cover the pot and let stand for 5 minutes.

8. Stir in the reserved zest, fluffing with a fork or chopstick until the couscous grains are separated.

9. Cover until ready to serve, and fluff again right before serving.

10. Chop the green onion and sprinkle on top before serving.

Vary It! Substitute any other citrus fruit, such as lemon or lime, for the orange juice and zest. Use the couscous as a bed for sautéed, grilled, or stewed vegetables, making it into a meatless main course.


Say yes to zest!

This zest page shows you how to zest a lemon (or any other citrus fruit with a peel).


Recipe © 1999 by Kate Heyhoe

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Part I: Cooking Together:
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