Moroccan couscous with chickpeas, fast-roasted vegetables and almonds
The choice is yours with this exotic but easy-to-make Moroccan couscous dish. You can either serve it hot as a main meal, or cold as a salad — it really does work well either way. In fact we often make up a double batch so we can have some hot for dinner, then the rest cold the next day for lunch (after the flavors have intensified overnight).
The mellow dressing used to coat the couscous and other ingredients is a simple combination of ground coriander, cumin, and cinnamon, together with garlic, tangy fresh lemon juice, and fruity extra virgin olive oil. This mix of seasonings really highlights the vegetables, which have already sweetened and intensified in flavor during roasting.
The chickpeas add their own wonderful flavor and texture to this dish, and they’re a good source of protein and a number of important vitamins and minerals including calcium and folate. They’re also rich in soluble fiber, which helps lower cholesterol levels and regulate blood sugar levels.
Another thing we love about this dish is that it can be varied in almost endless ways. Instead of chickpeas, you can use cooked shredded chicken or canned tuna. The carrots and red pepper can easily be replaced by sweet potato, pumpkin, zucchini, or eggplant. Instead of almonds you can use pistachios, pine nuts or walnuts. Instead of raisins you can use chopped dates, apricots or prunes. And instead of cilantro you can use fresh flat-leaf parsley or mint.
1 carrot — cut into quarters lengthways and thinly sliced
1 red pepper — cut into small pieces
½ red onion — cut into wedges and separated
¼ cup slivered almonds
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 clove garlic — minced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup quick-cooking couscous
¼ cup raisins
1¼ cups boiling chicken or vegetable stock
1 cup canned chickpeas — rinsed and drained
1 tablespoon finely chopped cilantro (fresh coriander)
Variations: Instead of chickpeas, use cooked shredded chicken or canned tuna. The carrots and red pepper can be replaced by sweet potato, pumpkin, zucchini, or eggplant. Instead of almonds use pistachios, pine nuts or walnuts. Instead of raisins use chopped dates, apricots or prunes. And instead of cilantro use fresh flat-leaf parsley or mint. Serve as a hot dish or cold as a salad.