This Risotto-Style Couscous with Peas, Radicchio, & Dill recipe is a quick and simple vegetarian twist on traditional risotto (which is usually made with arborio rice).
When looking back over past risotto recipes I’ve shared on VV, I noticed that there is definitely a pattern – I haven’t used actual arborio rice on my site for risotto…ever! I tried to think about why this was and the only solution I came up with was that I love risotto but dislike how long it takes to cook arborio rice so I use other grains as shortcuts to create the same type of dish without the extra time. For example, this risotto style couscous dish comes together in under 20 minutes vs. your traditional risotto is going to most likely take at least 40+ minutes.
To create this dish, start by cooking the couscous “risotto-style” with dry white wine and by slowly adding in the water in batches. While that is cooking, create a simple radicchio + walnut + dill crunchy salad topping to put over the risotto right before serving to bring extra texture and brightness to the overall dish. Make sure to not skimp on the salty cheese you fold into the couscous because it’s going to help tame the bitter radicchio and bring out the other flavors.
If you don’t want to make the crunchy salad topping, this couscous pea situation also taste delicious on it’s own – think of it as a fancy, slightly boozy macaroni and cheese dish with peas. However, if not making the salad, consider adding an additional drizzle of olive oil and make sure to season with lots of salt and pepper to bring out the simple flavors.
This Risotto-Style Couscous with Peas, Radicchio, & Dill recipe is a quick and simple vegetarian twist on traditional risotto which is usually made with arborio rice.
- 3 Tbsp olive oil divided
- 2 shallots (or 1 small onion) diced
- 1 garlic clove minced
- 1 1/2 cups Israeli couscous
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 3 cups water divided
- 1/2 cup frozen peas
- zest from 1 lemon
- 1/4 cup shredded salty cheese (such as Parmesan Reggiano or Manchego) + more for serving
- 1 heat Radicchio chopped into 1 inch pieces
- 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh dill
- 1 Tbsp lemon juice
- Red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper to taste
In a large dutch oven or skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add shallots and garlic and saute for 5 minutes or until onions are translucent. Add couscous and 1/2 tsp salt and saute for another minute to toast them.
Add wine and 1 cup of water and let cook until the liquid has been absorbed, stirring often. Add 1 more cup of water and let cook until the liquid has been absorbed, stirring often. Add remaining cup of water and frozen peas and let cool until absorbed, stirring often.
Remove from heat and fold in the cheese and lemon zest. Taste and add more salt or cheese, if needed.
Meanwhile, toss together the radicchio, walnuts, dill, 2 Tbsp olive oil, and lemon juice in a small mixing bowl. Top over the couscous mixture and sprinkle with pepper and red pepper flakes.
Taste and add more salt, pepper, or red pepper flakes, as needed. Serve right away.
Looking for other risotto-style dishes? I’ve got you: