Pearl couscous (maftoul) with pickled lemon, pistachio and spinach

Recipe by Damaris Beems
0.0 from 0 votes
Course: MainCuisine: Middle East, Palestinian




Cooking time


Total time



Maftoul or pearl couscous has such a delicious structure. It is soft and yet has a bite. Those little balls absorb flavor and blend in great with the rest of the ingredients. I am in favor of cooking first and then baking. Then they are at their best. So that’s the tip of the day.


  • 500 gram pearl couscous

  • 1 kilo spinach

  • 2 Preserved lemons

  • 2 Onions

  • 5 cloves garlic

  • 1 large bouquet flat parsley

  • 100 gram peeled salted pistachios

  • 1 pomegranate

  • olive oil

  • salt and pepper

Cooking time

  • Cook the pearl couscous according to the instructions on the package. Drain and then rinse with ice cold water. When they have cooled, separate the balls from each other.
    Finely chop the pickled lemons whole. Not just the peel, as you are normally used to from pickled lemons.
    Bake the pistachios until crispy and fragrant in a dry frying pan. Then pound them roughly in a mortar.
    Knock the seeds out of the pomegranate. Cut it open crosswise, hold the open half with the open side in your hand and hit the round bulge above a bowl. The seeds are now falling out.
  • Finely chop the onions and fry them gently in olive oil until browned. Add the finely chopped garlic. Fry it gently as well. Then you turn up the heat and add the maftoul (pearl couscous) and stir it nicely through the oil. Now add the spinach in a few times, stir until it has shrunk. Keep the fire high so that the moisture evaporates well. Then add the parsley and the pickled lemon. Bring it to taste with salt and pepper. Taste for yourself, but don’t be too sparing with this. When everything is well mixed you can start serving.
  • Garnish generously with the pomegranate seeds.

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