Persian-Style Pumpkin Couscous

    Persian-Style Pumpkin Couscous

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    1hour


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    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.

    Ingredients
    Serves: 4 

    • 1 butternut pumpkin, about 750g
    • 2 capsicums (1 yellow and 1 red), deseeded and halved
    • 250g yellow zucchini, halved if large
    • 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
    • 1/2 cup (100g) chopped pitted dates
    • 1/2 cup (85g) sultanas
    • 1 cinnamon stick
    • 2 tsp grated fresh ginger
    • 150ml dry white wine
    • 1 1/3 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
    Preparation:35min  ›  Cook:25min  ›  Ready in:1hour 

    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.

    Some more ideas…

    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.

    Health points

    Dried dates are rich in potassium, niacin, copper, iron and magnesium. Both dates and sultanas are a valuable source of soluble fibre.

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