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Persian-style Chickpeas Couscous Salad with Roasted Squash

About this recipe: This exotic and wholesome vegetarian salad captures the flavours of ancient Persian cooking. Dates and sultana couscous makes a bed for colourful roasted vegetables.

Elaine Russell

Ingredients
Serves: 4 

  • 1 butternut pumpkin, about 750g
  • 2 capsicums (1 yellow and 1 red), deseeded and halved
  • 250g yellow squash, halved if large and cut into large chunks
  • 1 orange, cut into large chunks
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 1 cinnamon stick, halved
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • For the couscous
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • ½ cup (100g) chopped pitted dates
  • ½ cup (85g) sultanas
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 tsp grated fresh ginger
  • 150ml dry white wine
  • 1⅓ cups (250g) couscous
  • 1 can (about 400g) chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 300ml boiling water
  • 2 tbsp each chopped fresh mint and parsley
  • juice of 1 orange

Directions
Prep:35min  ›  Cook:25min  ›  Ready in:1hr 

  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C. Peel the butternut pumpkin and cut in half lengthways. Remove the seeds, and cut across into thick slices. Cut each capsicum half into 12 pieces. Put the pumpkin and capsicums in a roasting tin with the squash, orange, bay leaves, cinnamon stick and garlic. Drizzle over the olive oil. Roast, turning once, for about 25 minutes or until browned and tender.
  2. Meanwhile, prepare the couscous. Heat the oil in a saucepan, add the onion and garlic, and sauté for 5 minutes. Add the dates, sultanas, cinnamon, ginger and wine. Cover and cook gently for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat. Stir in the couscous and chickpeas, then add the boiling water. Cover and leave to stand for 5 minutes.
  3. Add the parsley, mint and orange juice to the couscous. Mix in and fluff up with a fork. Spoon the couscous on to four plates and top with the roast vegetables. Serve warm or at room temperature.

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