Spiced Winter Vegetable Cous Cous

I mentioned a little while back about cooking a birthday dinner for my friend Jenny, when I shared the dessert recipe ‘Chocolate Heartache Cake‘. Well here is part of the mains, we had grilled meat (steak or chicken) with this spiced winter vegetable cous cous, an Ottolenghi recipe (bound to be delicious) shared by one of my favourite blogs, Orangette. It was so good that I also made it as a side dish to accompany the rhubarb and ginger roast belly pork that I cooked for mother’s day; which I promise to share soon, it would be criminal not to (it was to die for). Don’t be put off by all the ingredients and stages in this recipe, once you’ve cooked it once, you’ll have it down. It isn’t complicated at all, there is just a few spices involved; it is worth it though, trust me.


Ingredients: (Serves 4-8)

  • 2 medium carrots, diced
  • 2 medium parsnips, peeled and diced
  • 8-10 shallots, peeled
  • ~5 tbsp of olive oil (divided, I used a little less than this I think but I didn’t measure it)
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 4 star anise
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 0.5 tsp of ground ginger
  • 0.5 tsp of turmeric (the original recipe says 0.25 but I love turmeric and its gorgeous colour)
  • 0.25 tsp of paprika
  • 0.25 tsp of red pepper flakes
  • Salt, to taste
  • 1 (~300 g) butternut squash or pumpkin (or any squash), peeled, de-seeded and diced
  • 70 g of dried apricots, chopped
  • 1 tin of chickpeas (400 g tin, ~250 g drained)
  • 350 ml of water
  • 200 g of cous cous (raw weight)
  • A large pinch of saffron
  • 1 cup of chicken/vegetable stock
  • 1.5-3 tbsp of butter (the choice is yours, I used about 1.5 tbsp)
  • 1-2 tbsp of harissa, depending on how much spice you want in it (I keep harissa frozen in ice cubes then use them straight from frozen, I used 2 cubes)
  • ~30g of preserved lemon (or 1 heaped tbsp of preserved lemon paste)
  • A handful of fresh coriander, chopped


  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C fan (190°C non fan).
  2. In a large baking dish/deep tray put the carrots, parsnips, shallots, a good glug of olive oil, cinnamon sticks, star anise, bay leaves, ginger, turmeric, paprika, red pepper flakes and 0.75 tsp of salt. Stir until everything is evenly coated and place in the oven for 15 minutes.
  3. Add the butternut squash/pumpkin, stir well and place in the oven to bake for a further 35 minutes.
  4. 15 minutes before the end of the 35 minutes, put the cous cous in a large bowl with a tbsp of olive oil, saffron, 0.5 tsp of salt and the boiling hot stock. Stir well and cover for ten minutes.
  5. After the squash has been in the oven for 35 minutes, add the apricots, chickpeas and water (350 ml), stir well and return to the oven for 10 minutes.
  6. Add the butter to the cous cous and stir with a fork to fluff it up.
  7. Once the vegetables are done, stir through the harissa and preserved lemon, followed by the cous cous.
  8. Garnish with fresh coriander.
  9. Serve as a main or as a side and enjoy all those stunning flavours.

4 thoughts on “Spiced Winter Vegetable Cous Cous

  1. Are your friends aware of the fact that you are a one in a million kind of person? I have never, ever had a friend cook me a meal like this! I think that I need to move to the UK.


  2. Pingback: Rhubarb & Ginger Roast Belly Pork | Noisette

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