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Small casserole dish with vegan caviar.
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5 from 3 votes

Vegan caviar

Woo your paramour with this pink-hued vegan caviar. It's made with Israeli couscous, also known as pearl couscous for its large spherical shape. (Don't replace it with regular grain-sized couscous.)
Serve vegan caviar with water crackers and spreadable non-dairy cheese. Garnish with fennel fronds, chives, or fresh dill leaves.
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Total Time15 mins
Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: Vegan
Keyword: dinner party, romantic dinner, tray passed appetizer
Servings: 8 people
Calories: 101kcal
Author: Cadry Nelson


  • 1 small beet about the size of a large strawberry
  • 1 cup pearl couscous also called Israeli couscous
  • 1 ½ cups water
  • ¼ teaspoon salt + generous pinch
  • 1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon lemon zest
  • ¾ teaspoon lemon juice
  • ¾ teaspoon olive brine
  • 1 clove garlic zested or minced


  • Peel a very small beet. Cut it into roughly half-inch slices. I got about 4 thick slices from one beet.
    If your beet is larger, cut off a strawberry-sized portion. Then cut it it into several ½ inch thick slices that are about an inch long.
  • Put the peeled beet slices into a medium sized pot with pearl couscous, water, and a generous pinch of salt. Bring the pot to a boil. Lower the heat to medium or medium high once it's boiling. Boil the pearl couscous for 8 to 10 minutes, until it's al dente.
  • Drain the pearl couscous using a fine mesh sieve. Remove the beet pieces.
  • Move the pearl couscous to a medium-sized bowl. Stir in extra virgin olive oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, brine from a jar of olives, and a clove of minced or zested garlic. Cover the bowl & refrigerate until ready to use. (If any of the pasta has stuck together after refrigerating, just give it a quick stir.)
    Serve on crackers with a swish of spreadable vegan cheese & garnish of fennel fronds, chives, or dill leaves.


Be sure that you're using pearl couscous (also known as Israeli), not grain-sized couscous.
It's important that you add the pearl couscous at the same time as the water. Don't follow the package directions & add the couscous once the water is boiling. I've found that the color of the beets is imparted the best when the pearl couscous, beet, and water are added & come to boiling at the same time.
The vinegar in the olive brine helps to intensify the pink color. Your pasta will likely be pinker once it's had a chance to meld with the brine.
The directions listed will give you a light pink couscous. If you'd prefer a deeper pink/red color, cook the beet on its own in two cups of water for 25 minutes. Then put the pearl couscous in a thick glass Pyrex-style container. Carefully pour the beets & hot water over the dried pasta. Cover and let it sit for 30 minutes. At around 20 minutes, test to be sure that the pasta isn't getting too done. You want it to be al dente. Drain and continue with the last step of the recipe above.
It can also be fun to do a half batch in light pink & a half batch in dark pink, or a half batch with pink & plain white. Then stir them together for a mix of colors.


Calories: 101kcal | Carbohydrates: 18g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 2g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 98mg | Potassium: 68mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 3IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 9mg | Iron: 1mg