Toasted Pearl Couscous with Fresh Dates and Vine Leaves




  • 12 vine leaves (fresh or preserved)
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp Equagold Berbere spice blend
  • 2 cups pearl (Israeli) couscous
  • 2 1/2 cups liquid chicken stock
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh mint
  • 1 cup fresh dates, pitted and sliced
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • Equagold Himalayan Sea Salt
  • freshly ground black pepper

Tahini Dressing

  • 3/4 cup plain unsweetened yoghurt
  • 1/4 cup tahini paste
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 tsp Equagold Himalayan Sea Salt
  • pinch Equagold Harissa spice blend


Vine Leaves

Preheat oven to 180°C. If using preserved vine leaves, soak these well then rinse and pat dry. Fresh vine leaves need to be blanched in boiling water and refreshed in cold water. Spread leaves out in a single layer over a baking tray. Roast for 10 minutes, or until crisp.


Heat oil in a large, heavy-based saucepan. Add spice blend and couscous and toast for 2 minutes over a medium heat, stirring continuously, until couscous is golden brown. Add stock and bring to the boil, stirring regularly. Turn down the heat to simmer, uncovered, for 8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add a little more stock or water, if the mixture dries out. Cover pan and remove from heat to stand for 10 minutes.

Tahini Dressing

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and stir until smooth. Thin with a little cold water, if necessary - the sauce should be the consistency of runny honey. Taste and adjust flavours as necessary to reach a good balance of sharpness to earthy, nutty tahini and garlic. Refrigerate and use within 2 - 3 days.


Fluff up couscous and stir through remaining ingredients. Check and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper, if necessary. Serve couscous with vine leaves and tahini dressing on the side, to spoon over.