Recipe: Mograbieh Salad with Toasted Nuts

From Special Guest by Annabel Crabb and Wendy Sharpe

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Mograbieh Salad with Toasted Nuts from Special Guest

Mograbieh Salad with Toasted Nuts from Special Guest [©Murdoch Books]

<i>Special Guest</i> by Annabel Crabb and Wendy Sharpe


Special Guest is a gentle guide for those of us who stress and feel like hitting a wall when guests are imminent and those who issue hasty dining invitations and immediately regret it!

It's also about learning the lesson of doing one thing well and calling the day a success. Get started with this tasty recipe:

Mograbieh Salad with Toasted Nuts

Annabel writes:

Mograbieh – also known as giant couscous, Israeli couscous or pearl couscous – is quite widely available in Australia now, but I first came across this semolina-based delight in London.

Having bought a packet on impulse and read somewhere about the importance of toasting it before boiling, I embarked on a ramshackle series of test cooks and arrived at a method (and set of companion ingredients) that might well invoke indignation across the Levant.

So: apologies. In this dish, the little toasty pasta balls are swathed in a zingy, herby, chermoula-like dressing. You could elevate it to main-course status by adding some fried halloumi – or, if you’re that way inclined, a lamb chop.


Ingredients (serves 6)

  • 400 g (2 cups) mograbieh (giant couscous)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 litre (4 cups) vegetable or chicken stock
  • 65 g (½ cup) slivered almonds
  • 50 g (1/3 cup) pine nuts
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 x 400 g tin of chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 40 g (¼ cup) barberries or currants

Herb Dressing

  • 100 ml olive oil
  • juice of 2 lemons
  • 1 garlic clove, roughly chopped
  • large handful of roughly chopped coriander
  • large handful of roughly chopped
  • flat-leaf parsley
  • handful of mint leaves, roughly chopped
  • ½ preserved lemon, finely chopped
  • 6 saffron strands, soaked in1 teaspoon hot water for about 5 minutes
  • 2 teaspoons cumin seeds, toasted in a dry pan then ground
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds, toastedin a dry pan then ground
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika 


First, prepare the mograbieh. Pour the olive oil into a large heavy-based saucepan over medium heat and add the mograbieh. Fry, stirring, for about 10 minutes until it’s a lovely deep toasty colour. Once you’re happy with the colour, add the stock. Lower the heat and cook, covered, until the liquid is nearly all absorbed.

Uncover and stir until the liquid has completely gone, then spread out the couscous on a lined baking tray or large plate to dry out.

Now fry the almonds and pine nuts gently in the butter until they’re burnished with gold – keep an eye on them, as they can quickly burn.

For the dressing, just whizz all the ingredients in a small food processor or blender, adding salt and pepper to taste.

When you’re ready to serve, tip the mograbieh into a large bowl, prodding and poking to separate the grains. Add the chickpeas and barberries. Pour over the dressing and stir well to coat all the ingredients. Sprinkle with the toasted nuts.

Make it vegan: dry-fry the nuts, or use a dash of olive oil and a pinch of salt instead of the butter.


This recipe is from Special Guest by Annabel Crabb and Wendy Sharpe and is reproduced here with the kind permission of the publisher.

Read more in the press release here »

Special Guest: Recipes for the happily imperfect host by Annabel Crabb and Wendy Sharpe is published by Murdoch Books (Syd, NSW; Oct 2018; HC; 240pp; RRP A$39.99)

It  is available at good bookshops and can be purchased online via »

 See links below for further recipes

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