Tag Archive | couscous

Squash Couscous

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I don’t know about you, but I boil very few vegetables. Boiling, as a cooking method, doesn’t exactly bring out the best in vegetables, at least not for me.

This Canadian Living, squash couscous recipe caught my eye, but the picture did not appeal to me at all because the vegetables were essentially boiled in a flavoured broth and served over couscous. However, I loved the other elements of the recipe, so changed the cooking method to get something more palatable for me.

I omitted the broth entirely. Instead, I pre-roasted the squash (I replaced the butternut squash with delicata squash, one of my favourite types of squash) in the oven and cooked the zucchini in a shallow frying pan until golden. If the weather was better, I would have grilled the zucchini on the barbecue. I heated up the oil, cooked the onion, flavourings, and seasoning, and added the chickpeas, squash, and zucchini to absorb some of the flavours.

The result was incredible, with no soggy or boiled down vegetables. In fact, the roasting and shallow pan frying imparted additional flavours bringing out the best in these vegetables, namely their sweetness, still maintaining their shape and bite. It looked like a cornucopia of autumn goodness with mounds of seasonal, caramelized vegetables, embellished by just a hint of honey and a good handful of raisins. Together with the chickpeas and couscous, the dish is a complete vegetable protein and a fitting celebration of the season.

I prepared this for my mother and my mother-in-law (yes, they are both in town at the same time) and there were no leftovers…

If you pre-roast the squash from the night before or the weekend, this dish takes minutes to prepare. Served over a bed of couscous, it really does look special though no one will ever know just how quick and effortless it really was.

Serves 4

Ingredients:

 Oil, canola  1/4 cup
 Onion, Spanish, roughly chopped  1
 Ginger, fresh, grated  1/2 tsp
 Salt  1/2 tsp
 Black pepper  1/2 tsp
 Turmeric  1/2 tsp
 Raisins  1/2 cup
 Honey  1/4 cup
 Couscous:
 Couscous, whole wheat  2 cups
 Water  4 cups
 Salt  1/2 tsp
 Olive oil  Splash
 Roasted Delicata Squash:  Splash
 Squash, delicata, cut into 1-2-inch pieces  1.5 lbs
 Olive oil  1/3 cup or so
 Salt
 Black pepper
 Pan-fried Zucchini:  Splash
 Zucchini, green, medium-large,  cut diagonally into 1/4-inch thick pieces  2
 Canola oil  1/2 cup
 Salt
 Black pepper
 Chickpeas  19 oz can
 Harissa  For serving

Directions:

  1. To prepare the delicata squash, preheat oven to 400 degrees. Wash, remove the seeds, and cut the squash into 1-2-inch pieces. There is no need to peel delicata squash. When roasted, the peel becomes very thin and is edible. In a roasting pan, combine squash, olive, salt, and black pepper and roast until caramelized, approximately 45-60 minutes. If I am making this during the week, I normally roast the squash from the night before or the weekend.
  2. To prepare the couscous, follow the instructions on the package. I placed the couscous in a medium bowl and added a splash of olive oil and salt and then poured the boiled water over the couscous, covered it with saran wrap and let it stand for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, I fluffed the couscous with a fork.
  3. To prepare the zucchini, cut the zucchini diagonally into 1/4-inch thick pieces. Season with salt and black pepper. Heat the canola oil in a frying pan and cook zucchini, turning once, approximately 3-4 minutes on each sides, until golden.
  4. In a medium pot, heat canola oil over medium heat.
  5. Add onion, ginger, salt, pepper and turmeric and cook until the onions become translucent and are beginning to caramelize slightly, approximately 10-15 minutes.
  6. Add raisins and honey and cook for a couple of minutes.
  7. Add chickpeas and cook until heated through, approximately 5 minutes.
  8. Add roasted squash, pan-fried zucchini, and parsley and cook until they are warm and thoroughly combined with pot ingredients, approximately 5 minutes.
  9. Dump couscous onto the centre of large platter. Arrange vegetables over couscous. Sprinkle with more parsley. Serve with harissa as a side or drizzled on top.