Roasted Vegetable Pearl Couscous Salad
Roasting vegetables concentrates their flavours as the water in them evaporates and the sugars caramelise. This recipe does require a bit or preparing, but with the main ingredients being cooked at the same time, it doesn’t take long overall, and what you get in return is a dish full of warm spicy flavours and interesting textures.
2 teaspoons cumin seeds
2 teaspoons coriander seeds
2 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 red pepper, deseeded and cut into 1cm (1/2 inch) dice
1 courgette (about 20cm/8 inches long) cut into 1cm (1/2 inch) dice
1 aubergine, cut into 1cm (1/2 inch) dice
100ml (3 1/2fl oz/scant 1/2 cup) olive oil
salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 red onions, peeled and thinly sliced
200g (7oz) feta cheese, cut into 1cm (1/2 inch) cubes
250g (9oz) pearl couscous
250ml (9fl oz/generous 1 cup) hot vegetable (or chicken) stock
2 tablespoons (2 1/2 American tablespoons) chopped parsley
Preheat the oven to 230C / 450F / Gas Mark 8
Toast and grind the cumin, coriander and fennel seeds. First place them in a small frying pan on a high heat and cook, tossing frequently, for about 1 minute or until they are browned (take care not to let them burn). Grind them into a powder with a pestle and mortar or place the seeds in a plastic bag and use a rolling pin to crush them, then set aside.
Place the red pepper, courgette and aubergine pieces in a bowl, then pour over 50ml (2fl oz/1/4 cup) of the olive oil and mix well together, seasoning generously with salt and pepper. Spread out on a baking tray and roast in the oven for 20 minutes, tossing occasionally, until the vegetables are soft and lightly browned.
Meanwhile, pour 25ml (1fl oz) of the olive oil into a frying pan on a medium-heat, add the sliced onions, season with salt and pepper and fry, stirring occasionally, for 18-20 minutes or until the onions are golden and completely soft.
Meanwhile, place the feta in a bowl, along with the remaining olive oil and the spices, and set aside.
Finally, 5 minutes before the vegetables and onions are ready, mix together the couscous with the hot stock in a large bowl and allow to stand for 5 minutes or until the liquid has been absorbed. Use a fork to fluff up the grains of couscous.
Add the roasted vegetables and parsley to the couscous and gently mix everything together. Check the seasoning, then divide between the bowls to serve.