Recipe: Israeli couscous with caramelized butternut squash

Margi Lenga Kahn, Special to the Jewish Light



  • 1 large butternut squash, about 3 lbs., yielding about 7 cups of peeled, 2-inch cubes
  • 4 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 2½ tbsp. balsamic vinegar 
  • 5 sprigs fresh thyme or rosemary, stems discarded and leaves, finely chopped 
  • Coarse kosher salt, to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste  


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3½ c. Israeli couscous
  • 4-½c. vegetable broth or water
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme or rosemary leaves, chopped, plus more for garnishing
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ c. mascarpone cheese 


To prepare squash:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Lightly oil two large baking sheets or line them with parchment paper.

2. Toss squash in a large bowl with oil, vinegar, thyme or rosemary, salt and black pepper.

3. Add squash to pans in a single layer. Place pans in oven and roast until squash is fork-tender and lightly caramelized, about 40 minutes.

4. Place pans on a cooling rack and cover loosely with foil paper until needed. 


To prepare couscous:

Heat olive oil in 2-quart saucepan over medium heat. Add couscous and sauté, stirring constantly, until well coated and lightly toasted, about two to three minutes.

2. Add broth or water and bring to a boil. Cover pan, turn heat to a simmer and cook for about 10 minutes, or until couscous has absorbed most or all of the broth or water. Stir in herbs, olive oil and lemon juice and season with salt and pepper to taste.

3. Transfer couscous to a large serving bowl. Stir in mascarpone cheese, followed by reserved butternut squash.

4. Taste, adding more salt and pepper, as needed. Garnish with more fresh herbs before serving.  

Makes six to eight side dish servings.