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.