Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Roasted Vegetable and Chickpea Couscous

It's getting a lot colder where I live now, so it's time to start thinking of alternatives to salad for lunch. It's not good to eat too many raw foods in cold weather, as it takes a lot more of your body's warmth and energy to digest than food that has been cooked. So it's time to put lots of quick and easy cooked meals on the menu. Couscous is a great option - cooks in a few minutes and can be combined with a whole range of different ingredients. Roasted pumpkin and parsnips with cooked chickpeas make this dish almost completely cooked and thus easier on your digestive system.

2 cups instant couscous
2 ½ cups vegetable stock
1/4 cup sunflower seeds, toasted*
1 parsnip, peeled and diced
200g pumpkin, peeled and diced
1 large cucumber, chopped
2 cups cooked chickpeas (or 1 tin chickpeas)
6-7 dates, chopped
3 tbsp chopped fresh coriander
Salt to taste

* Toasting! There are 2 ways to do this 1) Spread the seeds on a tray and toast under a grill for 2-3 minutes until slightly browned – keep a close eye on the suckers because they are really easy to burn. 2) Heat a little bit of oil in a non stick pan and then slightly fry the seeds for 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly.

To Make
1. Place the chopped pumpkin and parsnip in a bowl or baking dish and coat with oil. Transfer to a tray (if you had it in a bowl) and roast in a moderate oven for 15-20 minutes, or until soft and completely cooked.
2. Put the instant couscous in a bowl.  Add the hot stock and stir with a fork. Leave it for about 5 minutes to soak up all the liquid and then go back and fluff it up with the fork.
3. When the couscous is dry and fluffy add the the rest of the ingredients and mix well. You can also drizzle in some of the oil from the baking tray.
4. Serve with extra chopped coriander, if desired.

Serves 4.

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