Eat at Bett's

Our Passion for Food came from our Mom

Moroccan Roasted Vegetable Couscous

Melissa and I are not eating meat for Lent (3 days down, 43 to go! — for our reasoning, see my Rambling Priest blog) and have been looking at all sorts of meatless recipes that are more than rice and beans or pasta.  Cooking Light (I’m starting to feel like a shill for them) has some great ethnic vegetarian options.  We’ve both traveled to Morocco so this one seemed like a wonderful place to start.  The parsnips were slightly spicy for me personally, but Mel liked them.  I may make it with potato next time instead or another root type vegetable (fennel, or turnip?).
This tasted authentic to be sure, and I made one big variation, (which I’ll note below): I kicked up the spices to 3 teaspoons from 1.  This was a good solid recipe and we’ll do it again in the coming weeks!

5 cups diced peeled sweet potato (about 1 1/2 pounds)
2 cups (1/2-inch) diced peeled parsnips (about 10 ounces)
1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon Ras el Hanout (See below for mixture — I used 3 teaspoons)
3 carrots, peeled and cut crosswise into 2-inch pieces (about 9 ounces)
1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
1 1/4 cups organic vegetable broth
1 cup uncooked couscous (I used a Far East box and upped the broth to 2 cups per the box)
1 (15-ounce) can no-salt-added chickpeas (garbanzo beans), rinsed and drained

TOPPING: (This was delightful, and gave a sweet edge to this)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 yellow onion, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices, separated into rings
1/4 cup pine nuts (we used small pumpkin seeds–pine nuts were $16 a pound!)
1/4 cup raisins
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon honey

1. Preheat oven to 450°.

2. To prepare couscous, combine the first 5 ingredients in a large bowl; stir in 1/2 teaspoon salt. Place potato mixture on a baking sheet. Bake at 450° for 30 minutes or until the vegetables are tender, stirring occasionally.

3. Bring broth to a boil in a medium saucepan. Stir in couscous and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt. Remove from heat; cover and let stand 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork; gently stir in chickpeas. Keep warm.

4. To prepare topping, heat 1 tablespoon oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add onion to pan; cook 12 minutes or until tender and golden brown, stirring occasionally. Add pine nuts and raisins; cook 2 minutes. Stir in cinnamon; cook 30 seconds. Stir in honey, and remove from heat.

5. Mound couscous in the middle of a serving platter. Place the roasted vegetables around base of couscous. Arrange 5 carrots vertically around couscous; spoon topping over top of couscous.

Ras el Hanout
1/4 cup (serving size: 1/4 teaspoon)

2 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons ground ginger
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground red pepper
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon saffron threads, crushed (I didn’t bother since I didn’t have them)
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg

1. Combine all ingredients in a small bowl. Store in an airtight container for up to 1 month.

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8 thoughts on “Moroccan Roasted Vegetable Couscous

  1. I am wondering if you stored the Ras el Hanoutin the fridge, you would get more life out of it. I don’t think I would use it all up before a month.This sounds really good. I am going to try it in the next couple of weeks. I bet Lyniene would love it too.

  2. Shoot, I have spices from a long, long time ago…. I wouldn’t worry about it. Nothing in this will go rancid.There are also a couple of other recipes with the Ras el Hanout in it on the Cooking Light website and I’m sure there are others we can find online….

  3. Here’s another Ras el Hanout from a Moroccan Cookbook we have (I doubt we’ll try this, but it sounds lovely). BTW Ras el Hanout means “Top of the Shop” and it’s a very old mixture and everyone has their “secret recipe.”Mix in a blender till fine and then sieve:4 whole nutmegs10 rosebuds 12 cinnamon sticks12 blades of mace1 teaspoon aniseed8 pieces of tumeric2 small pieces of orrisroot2 dried cayenne peppers1/2 t of lavender1 Tbs white peppercorns2 pieces of galingale2 Tbs whole gingerroot6 cloves24 allspice berries20 white or green cardamom pods4 wild (black) cardamom podsSo there you go!

  4. Ha! I just looked up recipes with this in the book, and one (which the author swears she has never tried) is for a candy that includes hashish in the making process. Hmm, better look at that Lamb recipe…

  5. Hashish??? Hmmmmm… The above recipe sounds very aromatic. I was looking at a Turkish Delite recipe not too long ago which called for rose water and lavendar. I think I need to expand my horizons.

  6. Like I said, I was surprised to find it there. Melissa and I both were reminded of when we were offered it in the market. We politely declined!

  7. What a great blog! I’m excited to do some exploring!

  8. The new Earl Grey loose tea bags for Starbucks London Fog Tea Lattes use a pretty decent amount of lavendar in it. It is so aromatic, it is hard to smell the bergamot. Three cheers for expanding horizons.

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