This vegetarian couscous is a warming, satisfying but healthy dish, perfect for a cold January evening when you’re still reeling from all the Christmas feasting but want a big bowl of comfort food.
You can adapt it according to what vegetables to what you have on hand. Aubergines or courgettes would work well here. Add aubergines at the beginning and the courgettes at the second stage.
Any leftovers are good in a lunch box or used to stuff roasted peppers (you may need to drizzle them with a little more oil and/or stock and cover with foil). And if you’ve enjoyed this you might also like my Goan Cauliflower Curry.
Spicy Vegetable CousCous
1 small pumpkin or about 1/2 a butternut squash, peeled and de-seeded, cut into large bite-sized chunks
2 red onions, peeled and cut into wedges
2 tbsp olive or extra virgin rapeseed oil
1 red pepper, de-seeded and diced
4 or 5 tomatoes, roughly chopped
1 heaped tbsp harissa
1 chilli (optional), de-seeded and thinly sliced
1 fat clove of garlic, peeled and chopped
1 tin of chickpeas and some of their canning liquid
200ml good quality vegetable stock
Zest and juice of 1/2 lemon
1 heaped tbsp chopped fresh mint leaves
1 heaped tbsp chopped fresh coriander
Toasted flaked almonds and more herbs, to garnish
Pre-heat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas Mark 6. Toss the squash and onions with the oil and cook for 15-20 minutes, until softened.
Add the pepper, tomatoes, chickpeas and some of their canning liquid, the garlic, harissa and cumin seeds, and the chilli, if using. Break up the onion into segments. Toss to coat, season with salt and pepper and roast for a further 20 minutes or until cooked through and reduced. Check the seasoning.
While the vegetables are cooking, toast the flaked almonds in a dry pan, stirring often, until tinged with colour but watch that they don’t burn.
Put the couscous in a large bowl with the raisins and 5-10 minutes before you want to eat, heat the stock to boiling and pour it over the couscous. Stir briefly, cover with cling film and leave (check your packet instructions) for about five minutes.
Fluff with a fork, add the lemon zest and juice and the herbs and stir through. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Pile the couscous in a mound on a heated serving bowl and spoon the roasted vegetables over the top. Garnish with the toasted flaked almonds and a few more sprigs of herbs.