Speedy Chickpea Couscous with Pesto

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If you need  fast-cooking whole grains, stock your pantry with whole wheat couscous. As Maria Speck notes in her wonderful book, Ancient Grains for Modern Meals (Ten Speed Press), couscous is an anomaly. “It is neither a grain nor a pasta,” she notes, but it is eaten like a grain. You can vary the flavor of this recipe by using different types of pesto. We used our Basil-Mint Pesto here, but you also could use our Asian Pesto or Spicy Sage and Parsley Pesto, or even some from a jar. Whether it’s homemade or store-bought, use a bold pesto you really love since it adds most of the flavor to this dish. Serve with fish or chicken. “Garnish with 1/4 cup chopped toasted pistachios,” Speck suggests. “Or make it a light meal with crumbled ricotta salata, goat cheese or feta cheese and a few olives.”

Speedy Chickpea Couscous with Pesto

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Yield: Serves 4-6

Speedy Chickpea Couscous with Pesto


  1. 1-1/2 cups low-sodium chicken stock OR vegetable broth
  2. 1 cup whole wheat couscous
  3. 3/4 cup cooked chickpeas (homemade or canned, rinsed and drained)
  4. 3 tablespoons pesto
  5. 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil, divided
  6. 1 clove garlic, minced
  7. 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  8. 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


Place broth in a medium saucepan; bring to a boil. Remove from heat, and stir in the couscous, chickpeas, pesto, 2 tablespoons basil, garlic, salt and pepper. Cover and let stand 10 minutes, or until the liquid is absorbed. Adjust seasonings. Fluff with 2 forks, and sprinkle with the remaining 2 tablespoons basil.


Adapted from Ancient Grains for Modern Meals (Ten Speed Press).


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