Israeli couscous, a larger version of Moroccan couscous, is the size of peppercorns, has a nutty flavor, and is ideal for salads. Toasting the couscous deepens its flavor and enhances this savory and colorful mix of pumpkin, fennel, and cranberries, brightened with specks of parsley.
Microwave the chunks of pumpkin on high for five minutes, or until almost tender.
When cool enough to handle, peel the pumpkin, and coarsely chop enough to make two cups. Store the remainder in the refrigerator for up to a week or in the freezer for up to three months.
Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the couscous and cook for two to three minutes, until the couscous browns a bit. Add the apple juice, reduce the heat, and simmer, covered, for 15 to 20 minutes, until the liquid is absorbed and the couscous is almost tender, stirring occasionally. Add the pumpkin and cook for one to two minutes longer, stirring to blend the flavors and color.
Transfer the couscous to a large bowl, sprinkle with the salt, and cool slightly. Toss with the parsley, cranberries, fennel, and onion. Stir in the grapeseed oil and vinegar. Season with a few grinds of pepper. Taste and add more salt, if desired. Serve at room temperature.
This recipe is excerpted from The Pumpkin Cookbook, 2nd edition (Storey, 2017).