Wonderfully exotic and colourful, this vegetarian salad captures the flavours of ancient Persian cooking: date and sultana couscous makes a bed for butternut pumpkin and squash with capsicums and orange.
Eggplant and pearl barley salad: Replace the butternut pumpkin with 2 eggplants, cut into thick slices. Instead of the couscous, put 1 cup (200g) pearl barley in a saucepan with 1 chopped onion, 1 halved cinnamon stick, and 1 litre vegetable stock. Bring to the boil, then cover and simmer for 1 hour or until the barley is just tender. Drain if necessary and cool, then toss with ⅔ cup (85g) toasted walnut pieces, 1 tbsp chopped fresh mint, 1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley, the grated zest and juice of 1 lemon and 1 tbsp olive oil. Serve topped with the roast vegetables.
Dried dates are rich in potassium, niacin, copper, iron and magnesium. Both dates and sultanas are a valuable source of soluble fibre.