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Summer vegetables with couscous

Sat, 13 August, 2022

Peppers, courgettes, tomatoes and whatever else you fancy or consider a summer vegetable, roasted with fragrant spices then tossed with couscous to mop up the juices.

summer vegetables with couscous

Just the dish for a heatwave

It’s a vibrant veggie dish perfect for the middle of the summer. Because you really don’t want to eat meatballs in heavy creamy sauce when it’s 30C out.

At least I don’t – I want salads, with just a tiny amount of protein or other filler so I’m not hungry half an hour later. Which I wouldn’t be because it’s too hot to feel hungry.

It should, in theory, be the perfect time for a weight-control spell. And it would be – if it wasn’t for ice cream. Because, obviously, you fancy ice cream ALL THE TIME on perfect summer days. Seems like you can never win…

roasted vegetables with couscous

Couscous magic

While we commonly mistake couscous for grain, it is in fact tiny granules made from semolina obtained from durum wheat. It’s a North African staple, the counterpart of rice or potatoes from other corners of the world.

But in spite of technically being similar to pasta, it’s much better healthwise. Couscous, especially wholewheat, is far less processed than any pasta shapes and it’s lower in calories.

It has more fibre, more complex carbohydrates that release slowly and a sound amount of nutrients. And it is a lightning quick doddle to prepare.

couscous and roasted vegetables

How to cook couscous

Packages and boxes variously tell you to steam it, boil it or soak it. Pay absolutely no mind to the labels: Moroccan couscous (the most common variety) is pre-cooked and dried so all it needs is to be rehydrated.

To do that, simply add boiling liquid to couscous in a bowl, in equal volumes. Let it sit, covered, for as little as ten minutes and it’s ready to eat.

how to prepare couscous

The liquid might be plain water or it could be fragrant stock. You can add crushed cloves of garlic, herbs or spices to dry couscous and let it infuse while it soaks. It is wonderful in its absorbent qualities and that pertains not just to the soaking liquid but to the flavours of the foods you pair it with.

Other types of couscous, Israeli a.k.a. pearl or Moghrabi couscous have much larger grains and so they require longer cooking: simmering in liquid until it is absorbed, like rice.

summer vegetables

Marinating vegetables

Back to the vegetable element of the dish: do not think it’s only meat that requires marinating. Vegetables benefit immensely from standing a while, soaking up the salt and spices, oil and herbs and whatever flavour you want the final dish to have.

marinated vegetables

This mix is of a Middle Eastern variety, with harissa and honey coating the vegetable chunks and cumin and cinnamon adding sweet heat. I use garlic powder in this recipe, to thicken up the marinade and better distribute the ‘garlickness’.

Since there is honey in the mix, it has a huge potential to burn and stick to the roasting tray. That’s why I line it with a sheet of parchment, only to remove it halfway through the roasting time, which also automatically tosses and turns the vegetable pieces in the dish.

roasting vegetables

Once the veggies are ready, instead of piling them on mounds of plain couscous on the plates, I advise to reverse it: pour the couscous onto the vegetables in the tin and stir, to mop up the juices and flavours with it. That obviously makes everything look messy, but the flavours will make up for that tenfold.

couscous and vegetables

More couscous recipes

With a meaty protein element, this couscous chicken salad can be served warm or cold. Also a summery dish, with the red peppers showing through, and it's light on calories.

When asparagus is in season, couscous with asparagus chunks, toasted pistachio nuts and fresh herbs is a dish of perfectly matching ingredients.

Couscous for breakfast? But of course: sweet couscous with raisins, yoghurt and honey, it is delicious and easy to make.

More roasted vegetable recipes

Roasted Mediterranean vegetable mix with a topping of crumbled feta and toasted pine nuts. It’s vegetarian, it’s wholesome and it’s healthy.

Sesame roasted broccoli with a hint of sweetness from maple syrup, soused in olive and sesame oil, ready in 20 minutes. Broccoli like you’ve never tasted before!

Roasted sweet potatoes with chorizo and bacon are the perfect blend of sweet, salty and spicy. Served with sour cream topping for a main course, or on its own for a side.

summer couscous and vegetable mix

Summer vegetables with couscous

Servings: 4Time: 1 hour


  • 1 large red pepper
  • 200g (7 oz.) cherry tomatoes
  • 1 yellow or green courgette
  • ½ small cauliflower
  • 150g (5 oz.) mushrooms
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • ½ tsp ground cumin
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 2 tsp rose harissa
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 60ml (¼ cup) olive oil
  • 150g (1 cup) wholewheat couscous
  • ½ beef or vegetable stock cube
  • 250ml (1 cup) water


1. Core the pepper and chop it – aim to cut all the vegetables into chunks the size of the tomatoes. Top, tail and chop the courgette, divide the cauliflower into small florets. Halve or quarter the mushrooms. Place all the vegetables in a large bowl.

2. In a small bowl, stir together the salt, garlic powder, cumin, cinnamon, smoked paprika, rose harissa, honey and olive oil. Whisk into a paste. Toss the vegetable pieces with the paste making sure everything is evenly coated. Leave to marinate for up to a couple of hours.

3. Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/gas 6.

4. Turn the vegetables out onto a large baking dish lined with parchment in a single layer. Bake for 40 minutes, pulling out the parchment halfway through (it’s there so the marinade doesn’t burn too much) and shaking the tray about.

5. While the vegetables are roasting, place the couscous in a medium bowl. Dissolve the stock cube in water in a small saucepan and bring to the boil. Pour it over the couscous and cover the bowl with cling film. Leave it to stand for 10-15 minutes then uncover and fluff up with a fork.

6. When the vegetables are out, scrape the couscous onto the tray and stir into the vegetables. Serve immediately or at room temperature.

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Hello! I'm Anna Gaze, the Cuisine Fiend. Welcome to my recipe collection.

I have lots of recipes for you to choose from: healthy or indulgent, easy or more challenging, quick or involved - but always tasty.


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