For a quick couscous dish with lots of fresh flavor, we add juicy plum tomatoes, scallions, lemon juice, and a pinch of cayenne.

Couscous with Tomato, Scallion, and Lemon

WHY THIS RECIPE WORKS: Couscous may look like a grain, but it is actually tiny pasta made from semolina flour. At its best, it’s light and fluffy, and with its ability to absorb flavors, it can make a great addition to any meal. But it often falls flat, with a bland flavor and heavy, clumpy texture. Toasting the couscous grains deepened their flavor and helped them to cook up fluffy without clumping. And to bump up the flavor even further, we replaced half of the cooking water with chicken broth. Sautéed shallot and garlic added rich aromatic notes, and lemon zest and cayenne lent brightness and heat. Bites of juicy plum tomatoes and thinly sliced scallion rounded out the dish. Do not use Israeli couscous in this recipe; its larger size requires a different cooking method. Whole-wheat couscous can be substituted for regular couscous.

You will need to prepare Couscous with Tomato, Scallion, and Lemon

⅓ cup couscous

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1 shallot, minced

1 garlic clove, minced

¼ teaspoon grated lemon zest plus 1 teaspoon juice

Pinch cayenne pepper

¼ cup water

¼ cup chicken broth

1 plum tomato, cored, seeded, and chopped fine

½ scallion, sliced thin

Salt and pepper

1. Toast couscous in small saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring often, until some grains begin to brown, about 3 minutes. Transfer couscous to medium bowl.
2. Heat 1½ teaspoons oil in now-empty saucepan over medium heat until shimmering. Add shallot and cook until softened, about 2 minutes. Stir in garlic, lemon zest, and cayenne and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in water and broth and bring to boil.