Fregola with Grilled Red Onions and Pine Nuts

Also known as Italian couscous, fregola is made from semolina flour; grains of the medium variety are about the size of small capers. You can find it at specialty food shops and Italian markets. More Delicious, Quick Side Dishes

Fregola with Grilled Red Onions and Pine Nuts
Photo: © Reed Davis
Active Time:
45 mins
Total Time:
1 hr 30 mins


  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

  • 3 tablespoons sherry vinegar

  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

  • 2 large red onions, sliced 1/2 inch thick

  • 1 1/4 pounds medium fregola (about 3 cups)

  • 1 cup pine nuts (5 ounces)

  • 4 medium carrots, finely diced

  • 3 celery ribs, finely diced

  • 1/3 cup coarsely chopped cilantro

  • 1/3 cup coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley


  1. On a shallow platter, combine 2 tablespoons of the olive oil with 2 tablespoons of the vinegar and season generously with salt and pepper. Add the onion slices and turn to coat, keeping the slices intact; let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.

  2. Light a grill or preheat the broiler. Grill the onions over a medium-hot fire or broil for about 8 minutes, until softened and charred in spots. Return the onions to the platter and let cool. Coarsely chop the onions and transfer them to a large bowl.

  3. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the fregola until al dente. Drain well, shaking off any excess water. Return the fregola to the pot, add 1/4 cup of the oil and toss to coat. Spread the fregola out on a large rimmed baking sheet to cool.

  4. Meanwhile, in a medium skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Add the pine nuts and cook over moderate heat, stirring constantly, until golden, about 4 minutes. Drain on paper towels and let cool. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the skillet along with the carrots and celery and cook over moderate heat until softened, about 4 minutes. Transfer to a plate and let cool.

  5. Add the fregola to the bowl with the grilled onions. Add the carrots and celery, pine nuts, cilantro, parsley and the remaining 1 tablespoon of vinegar. Season with salt and pepper and serve.

Make Ahead

The salad can be refrigerated overnight. Serve cool or at room temperature.

Related Articles