Saturday, September 25, 2021

Herb Pistachio Couscous from @MysteryMacRae

This is couscous transformed. The addition of a fresh herb paste, pickled jalapeños, currants, and pistachios turns plain old couscous into a brightly-flavored dish that we serve as a main course (the measurements below are doubled from the original recipe for that purpose). It also makes a wonderful side paired with other vegetarian dishes or with meat. We adapted the recipe from The Milk Street Cookbook by Christopher Kimball who, in turn, adapted it from Yotam Ottolenghi – two of our favorite cooks.


Herb Pistachio Couscous



2 cup couscous (not pearl couscous, which won’t absorb enough water for this recipe)

6 tablespoons dried currants

1 teaspoon ground cumin

Kosher salt and black pepper

1 ½ cups boiling water

¾ cup olive oil, divided

4 cups lightly packed fresh cilantro leaves and tender stems

4 cups lightly packed fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves

¼ cup finely chopped pickled jalapeños, plus 4 teaspoons brine

4 ounces baby arugula, coarsely chopped

1 cup shelled pistachios, toasted and chopped

4 scallions, trimmed and thinly sliced


To make:

In a large bowl, combine couscous, currants, cumin, and ½ teaspoon each of salt and black pepper. Stir in boiling water and 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Cover and let sit for 10 minutes.


In a food processor, combine cilantro, parsley, remaining olive oil, jalapeño brine and ½ teaspoon salt. Process until you have a smooth paste, about 1 minute, scraping down bowl 2 or 3 times.


Fluff couscous with a fork, breaking up large clumps. Stir in herb paste until thoroughly combined. Fold in jalapeños, arugula, pistachios, and scallions. Season with salt and pepper. Serve at room temperature.



And now, with a tip of my toque to Maya Corrigan who’s been sharing links to Mystery Lovers’ Kitchen recipes from days gone by, here are links for couscous lovers to a recipe for Kale and Couscous Salad from Edith Maxwell, and another for Roasted Squash and Spinach Salad with Walnuts, Cranberries, and Couscous from Lucy Burdette.


There’s no arsenic in Herb Pistachio Couscous, but there’s plenty of it in Argyles and Arsenic, book 5 in my Highland Bookshop Mystery series. The book comes out March 1, 2022, and it’s available for pre-order now.

In the latest novel in the beloved Highland Bookshop Mystery Series, a murder at a baronial manor leads to a poisonous game of cat and mouse—with the women of Yon Bonnie Books playing to win.

And for those who like short stories, here’s a collection of my stories, most of which first appeared in Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine. The e-book edition of My Troubles is on sale for $1.99


The Boston Globe says Molly MacRae writes “murder with a dose of drollery.” She’s the author of the award-winning, national bestselling Haunted Yarn Shop Mysteries and the Highland Bookshop Mysteries. As Margaret Welch, she writes books for Annie’s Fiction. Her short stories have appeared in Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine since 1990 and she’s a winner of the Sherwood Anderson Award for Short Fiction. Visit Molly on Facebook and Pinterest and connect with her on Twitter  or Instagram.




  1. I will try anything with Yotam Ottolenghi's name attached to it, and this looks delicious! Thanks! (And thanks for the link to Lucy Burdette's salad, which I somehow missed...)

    1. Isn't Ottolenghi amazing? We have two of his cookbooks and haven't made a single thing we didn't like from either. Thanks for stopping by, Amy.

  2. This looks amazing Molly, and thanks for the shout-out!

    1. My pleasure, Lucy. I'm looking forward to making your salad.

  3. Thank you for the toque tip, Molly! :-)

  4. This look fascinating.
    Sadly, it has several ingredients I avoid (like large amount of cilantro) so I'll admire it from afar.

    1. Oh, bummer, Libby! It's worth admiring from afar, though.

  5. Yum, pistachios! I love how quick & easy it is to make couscous, and just throw in any additions to make it tasty, so we eat it quite often, cooler weather. I'll definitely try your recipe Molly, but will leave out the cilantro and maybe sub spinach. My husband has that "tastes like soap" gene!

    1. Poor guy! But spinach and/or basil would be good substitutes.