Moroccan Style Vegetables with Couscous

moroccan-style-vegetables-with-couscous

On a recent visit to my local library I met a friend who was looking for ideas on hosting a dinner party for a few friends. She was thinking of a Moroccan theme so in my enthusiasm  I suggested serving Moroccan Style Vegetables with Couscous as it is so simple to make and would fit the theme she was thinking of.

I first saw a version of this recipe a couple of years back in a supermarket magazine where it was giving ideas on how to use a tagine and this was the vegetarian option. The vegetables were slightly different in the magazine so when I recreated it at home, I just used the vegetables that I had and it turned out to be really good. As I don’t have a tagine I just roasted the vegetables in the oven.

This recipe reminds me of the time when we went on a desert safari excursion on a trip to Dubai.  The desert  safari included a traditional meal and this dish was served as the vegetarian option. The vegetables were less tasty but the idea of the couscous I got from there so I mixed the two together to create this meal.

This dish of Moroccan Style Vegetables with Couscous works well for large gatherings where you want to try and have fuss free cooking plus it would be good to take on picnics as it tastes good when served cold. The best thing about this dish is the fact that not only is it simple to make,  especially for a large group, but it is vibrantly colourful, which to me is brilliant as half of the way we enjoy food comes from the visual impact.

I was told by Parita from Parita’s World about this event on Moroccan food hosted by Home Cook Recipes and originated by Holy Cow!

I look forward to seeing other vegetarian/vegan recipes from this event.

Moroccan Style Vegetables with Couscous

As mentioned before, you can use any Mediterranean style vegetables and you can add chillies if you want to make it more spicier. This mixture of vegetables also works well in wraps for an alternative lunch. I have found that the couscous requires a lot of salt in order for it to have a well balanced taste, I would say start by adding a little at a time to make sure it does not get too salty. The spice mix used to flavour the cous cous is a pre blended mix, however you can use either similar ingredients or any other spice mix that you feel will complement the flavours.


Ingredients

Preparation time: 20 mins          Cooking time: 1 hr         Serves: 4 to 6

For the vegetables

3 Courgettes (Zucchini) cut in chunks

4 red onions sliced

3 capsicums (Bell peppers) – one in each colour – red, green & yellow or orange

1 medium butter nut squash cubed into 2cm pieces

salt & pepper to taste

2 tsp each of ground cumin(jeeru) and cinnamon (taj) powder

2 tsp paprika powder

3 tbsp olive oil

For the Couscous

3 cups couscous

420 g canned chick peas drained and rinsed

3 tsp salt

2 tsp Arabic seasoning mix (cumin, coriander, black pepper, fenugreek, garlic, ginger, mint, onion, cloves, cinnamon, chilli and aniseed powder)

juice of 1 lemon

3 tbp olive oil

hot water


Method

1) Pre -heat the oven to 200′C. Chop all the vegetables into large chunks about 2 cm cubed pieces. For the zucchini/courgette I cut it half length ways and then chopped it into 1 cm semi circles. For the butternut squash I have learnt the hard way that you need proper sharp knife and peeler. Here is an excellent article on how to peel and cut butternut squash from SimplyRecipes.com

2) In a  large baking tray place all the vegetables, and pour the olive oil over the vegetables together with the spices and salt, mix thoroughly and place in the oven.

3) While the vegetables are cooking, prepare the couscous. Drain & rinse the chick peas and keep aside. Boil some water. In a large bowl, place the couscous, chick peas, seasoning and all the other ingredients. Pour boiling hot water, enough to cover the couscous and 2 cms extra and mix with a fork.  Making sure all the grains of couscous are coated with the spice, olive oil and lemon juice, keep on mixing at regular intervals just to make sure that the grains of couscous don’t lump together. Once the water has absorbed taste the couscous for the correct balance of flavours and to make sure the couscous is al dente, you can add a little extra hot water if needed and mix again with a fork.

4) Check on the vegetables and mix at regular intervals to ensure that the vegetables cook evenly and the spices mix well together. They should be cooked in about 30 mins, check to make sure, once cooked remove from the oven and you are ready to serve with the couscous, enjoy and let me know how you enjoyed the flavours.






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6 Responses to “Moroccan Style Vegetables with Couscous”

  1. Parita Says:

    I too am planning to make something in moroccan cuisine…i havent experimented much in couscous but your dish reminds me i should start using couscous :) the dish looks grt, i love the veggies used, yum yum, hey send this to Morocca event, for details check out http://homecookreceipes.blogspot.com/2009/06/announcing-its-vegan-world-moraccan.html

    Kiran ~ I too have just recently ventured into this style of cooking but the amazing thing is that we have the same sort of spices as Indian cooking they are just used in a different way. Couscous is a great ingredients to use and everyone enjoys it, a very quick and easy meal to prepare. Thanks a lot for the event link will put myself in.

  2. Lubna Karim Says:

    Oh wow came here by searching for Moroccan recipes…..looks flavourful, aromatic and yum………Love that seasoning….

    Kiran ~ Thanks for coming by, this dish is a real treat visually, and for the taste & smell sensations well. The seasoning mix I get from a lady in a market stall and I use it for flavouring many different dishes it gives a wonderful aroma and depth of taste.

  3. pavithra Says:

    Wow platter is looking gorgeous… yummm , the veggie so colorful and tempting..pass me the plate

    Kiran ~ That is such a correct description, give it a go and let me know what you think.

  4. Lavi Says:

    Thanks Parita!! Love the Dish Kiran, Looks Delicious!

    Kiran ~ Thanks for hosting such a lovely event. It will give me some ideas. Look forward to the next one :)

  5. Hertta Says:

    Thank you for excellent recipe. I love these vegs, usually make them this way: Basicly the same as your recipe but I use Thyme and garlic for spicing and in addition give the vegs a few minutes under the grill.Be careful,you don’t want to burn them only to get the yummy caramel taste. When done, sprinkle with lemonjuice and mix vegs carefully with the drained and rinsed chickpeas.Equally good cold as warm, can be prepared hours ahead.

    Kiran ~ That seems like a good way of doing the vegetables, might give it a go next time I make it. Thanks for the idea.

  6. Kathryn Says:

    I made this recipe last night and it was INCREDIBLE!! When I first put all the spices on the veggies I was skeptical (not used to cooking with cinnamon), but after baking in the oven for a while they combined to form an amazing flavor. I halved the amount of cinnamon (because I was nervous), and didn’t have cumin so I used a curry powder blend, but it didn’t seem to suffer, it was sooo flavorful. With the couscous I also had to improvise a little (didn’t have an arabic blend or all the spices in parentheses); I used ginger and corriander and curry powder. It made a huge amount of couscous, next time i think i’ll half it, but it was a fresh and simple flavor that went perfectly with the veggies. Many thanks for posting! And for any other people surfing looking for Moroccon-style couscous, I highly recommend!

    Kiran ~ Thanks for your wonderful feedback Kathryn, I feel cooking is all about experimenting with the flavors that best work for your tastes, and also using what you have to create it. I am sure the curry powder you used is or has the same ingredients as the mixture of spices I used. Always be positive when cooking and follow your instincts :) All the best.

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