This is the sort of vegetarian meal that many meat-eaters – my own dearest DH included – often complain about, as it consists basically of side dishes, with no identifiable lump of protein to be seen. However, to such people I say, get a grip – it’s delicious! You may need to manage expectations when you serve this, but it’s definitely worth it.
Yes, you could serve the vegetables or the couscous as a side dish, but to my mind they’re so yummy, savoury and filling that they make a fabulous meal. The cauliflower and broccoli are crispy without, tender within, and the coating browns gorgeously in the oven to create a lightly spiced sensation. Meanwhile the couscous has a gentle, understated flavour that complements without overpowering. Yum yum yum. Oh, and yum.
AND it’s all vegan – hurrah!
Although the vegetables take a little while to cook, I found making this dinner quite relaxing. You have plenty of time to get the various parts ready without any rushing, and there’s even time to set the table nicely and make a quick fruit salad for dessert if that’s your thing. A stress-free meal – perfect.
I used ras-el-hanout as my spice mix, as it’s fragrant and complex without too much heat. DH complained that it wasn’t hot enough. Sigh. If you like your spices fiery I recommend doctoring the recipe with some hot paprika, cayenne or chilli to taste. Or splash over a little tabasco at the table.
The couscous salad is simplicity itself, and you can adjust the ratio of olives/tomatoes/herbs/couscous to suit your taste. Kipper, for instance, would probably have 90% olives, no tomatoes, 1% parsley and 9% couscous, but that’s just the way she rolls. Feel free to make it your own.
This made enough couscous for 2-3 people, but we scoffed down all the delicious veggies and could happily have eaten more. Make plenty. This amount serves 2 (ish).
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- 1 small cauliflower
- 1 small-medium head of broccoli
- 1 tsp ras-el-hanout
- 1 tbsp flour
- 2-3 tbsp olive oil
- 150ml hot vegetable stock
- 120g couscous
- 50g pitted black olives
- 50g cherry tomatoes
- Good handful fresh parsley
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- Preheat the oven to 200C. Put a large pan of water on to boil.
- Cut the cauliflower and broccoli into florets and wash well. Cook in the boiling water for 2 minutes then drain thoroughly.
- Meanwhile, mix the ras-el-hanout with the flour and oil. Toss the drained vegetables in the spice-flour-oil mixture.
- Spread the vegetables out on a non-stick baking sheet and roast at 200C for 15-20 minutes, until crisp and cooked through.
- Bring the vegetable stock to the boil. Add the couscous, stir, remove from the heat and cover. Leave to stand for at least 5 minutes.
- Meanwhile, slice the black olives and cut the tomatoes into small dice. Finely chop the parsley.
- Once the couscous has absorbed all the stock, add the olive oil and fluff with a fork. Stir in the olives, tomatoes and parsley, and serve.