Near East Pearled Couscous

I first tried Middle Eastern and Mediterranean food about fifteen years ago, when I first came to the US.  I have no idea how I survived so long without it!   Now I adore hummus, tabouleh salad, gyros wraps, lamb with couscous and more.  We usually buy this kind of food at restaurants, but I always have boxes of Near East's couscous and tabouleh, for when I want to add a bit of ethnic flavor to our dinners.  I recently received some boxes of Near East's new Pearled Couscous variety; here's what I thought of it:

The Basics
Near East makes boxed grain dishes like couscous, pilaf, tabouleh, and other grain dishes that incorporate flavors and cuisines from around the world.   Their new Pearled Couscous is made with pasta pearls that are larger than traditional couscous.

Here's what Near East has to say about their product:  New Near East Pearled Couscous brings the elegance of Mediterranean cuisine straight to the kitchen. Near East Pearled Couscous, made with all-natural ingredients and Certified Kosher, is ideal for consumers looking for a flavorful and versatile side dish.  It adds elegance to any meal in just 20 minutes.

The Bongga
I'm a gal who likes to decide what we're going to have for dinner an hour in advance, then throw everything together -- so there's nothing like the convenience of Near East couscous.   It's so easy -- just boil and add spices. Even better, the Gourmet Meal Kit allows me to have a fancy-tasting Middle Eastern meal on a whim.  I don't usually have these kinds of spices readily available. I'd have to decide I wanted to prepare a Middle Eastern dish days in advance, get a recipe, shop for ingredients, hope everything turns out well, etc....  so the Gourmet Meal Kit really works for me.

I was a bit surprised by the gummy texture of the pearls, but I have no complaints about the taste whatsoever.  We've tried it plain, as a side dish, and I'm dying to try the Sicilian Caponata and Couscous salad by Near East chef Michael Psilaskis (go to for the recipe).  Stay tuned for the results!

The Blah
Pearled couscous can take some getting used to if you don't have an adventurous palate.  Half of my family liked it, the other half didn't (interestingly, the 3 girls -- me, The Pea, and Alfie's mum -- liked it, and the 4 guys -- 3Po, Jammy, Alfie, and Alfie's dad -- didn't).  Everyone liked the taste, but the boys weren't too fond of the pearls.  I guess the pearled texture isn't for everyone. 

The Bottom Line
New East Pearled Couscous and Pearled Couscous Gourmet Meal Kits are a great way to add some sophistication and global flavor to your meals, without much work!

I received a sample in order to review this product, but no monetary compensation. The views and opinions expressed here are my own.

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