Hearty Veggie Soup with Pearl Couscous

Such a yummy and healthy soup! Lot’s of good veggies and the earthy couscous takes it up a notch. Pearl Couscous (sometimes called Israeli Couscous) is different than regular couscous. It’s bigger and usually made with whole wheat. It has a great nutty, earthy flavor and slightly chewy texture if you don’t over cook it. Whenever I add rice or pasta to a soup I like to cook it separate. I think the texture stays better and if you have left overs (which I always do) then it doesn’t soak up broth and get soggy the next day. This soup was a hit with all except my 5 year old. He ate a modified version with no kale or zucchini. Oh well…at least he got the carrots and potatoes!

Hearty Veggie Soup with Pearl Couscous

  • 1 medium yellow or sweet onion – chopped
  • 2 celery stalks – chopped
  • 3 small carrots – chopped
  • 3-4 garlic cloves – minced
  • red pepper flakes
  • 1  15 oz can of petite diced tomatoes
  • chopped fresh herbs (basil, oregano, thyme, and parsley) OR dried herbs
  • 2 quarts chicken stock
  • 4 small red potatoes, diced
  • 2 small zucchini, halved lengthwise and sliced
  • 3 cups of greens: I used kale – about a half of a bunch, ribs removed and cut into bite size pieces. Spinach or swiss chard would be great too.
  • 1 can garbanzo beans – rinsed and drained
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 1/2 cup Pearl (Israeli) Couscous

In a large heavy soup pot, saute onion, celery, and carrots in some olive oil for about 10 minutes. Add garlic and red pepper flakes and cook about 5 more minutes. Add the chicken stock, the canned tomatoes, the chopped fresh herbs, and the potatoes and bring to a simmer. Simmer with potatoes for about 5 minutes then add the zucchini. If you are using kale or chard, add that also, if you use spinach you can wait until just before serving. Add the garbanzo beans,  season with salt and pepper, and simmer with the lid on for about 20 minutes. While the veggies are getting tender, cook the couscous according to the package directions. By the time the couscous is done, the soup should be ready. Just make sure your veggies are tender and you have added plenty of salt (I think I ended up adding about 1 1/2 teaspoons). Serve with a generous spoon full of the couscous and top with some fresh chopped parsley. A little fresh grated parm and a drizzle of good extra virgin olive oil wouldn’t hurt anything either. 🙂

Oh yeah…I made these yummy bread sticks also. I bought some La Brea Bakery Foccacia bread sticks in the fresh bread section of the grocery store and brushed them with olive oil and sprinkled them with some of the fresh herbs I had chopped for the soup. I topped them with grated parmesan and baked them for about 15 minutes at 375 in my toaster oven. My kids went nuts for them!

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