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Couscous and Tomato Stew

Couscous and Tomato Stew


In this week’s parsha, Shemini, Aaron’s sons, Nadav and Avihu offer a sacrifice to G‑d, but bring “alien fire.”

The dish that I prepared for Shemini is about recognizing and integrating G‑d into our lives. The dish includes two main ingredients: couscous and tomato stew. The couscous is symbolic of the Israelites while the tomato stew is the consuming fire. The two are blended together after presentation to represent the bringing of G‑d into our daily lives.


  • 1 cup couscous, uncooked
  • 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1 handful of rainbow chard stalks (only), finely chopped
  • 4 tomatoes, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/2 tablespoon pine nuts, toasted
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Bring 1 cup water with a pinch of salt to a boil. Once boiling, add 1 cup couscous, mix well and remove from heat. Let sit for 4-5 minutes and then fluff with a fork.
  2. Over medium heat, warm 1/2 tablespoon olive oil. Add onion, garlic and rainbow chard stalks. Cook until soft and onion translucent, approximately 5 minutes.
  3. Add chopped tomatoes and a bit of water (not more than 1/4 cup). Cook over low-medium heat, allowing tomatoes to soften and liquify. Cook for 5-8 minutes.
  4. In a separate small pan, toast pine nuts over medium heat until golden brown.
  5. Fold pine nuts into tomato mixture. Remove from heat and add salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Place the couscous in the middle of a platter, surrounded by tomato mixture. Once presented, fold ingredients together.
Sarah Newman writes Neesh Noosh—a Jewish woman’s year-long journey to find faith in food. She creates weekly recipes inspired by the Parshah and what’s in season at her local farmers’ markets.
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