Herby Lemon Couscous:
- 1 c Moroccan couscous instant
- 1 1/4 c vegetable or chicken stock see note 1
- 1 tbsp butter
- 2 tbsp Italian parsley finely chopped
- 1 tsp olive oil extra virgin
- 1 tbsp lemon juice freshly squeezed
- salt and pepper to season
Roasted Red Pepper Mayonnaise:
- 1 large red pepper (capsicum) or 2 small see note 2
- 1 c Mayonnaise (250ml) I use Best Foods brand
- 1 tbsp white wine vinegar or similar - see note 3
- salt to season
- 4 zucchini, medium
- 4 baby eggplant or use 4 more zucchini
- 1 red pepper (capsicum)
- 1 yellow pepper (capsicum)
- 1 green pepper (capsicum)
- 1/4 Kent (Jap) pumpkin
- 3 carrots
- 1/4 c olive oil extra virgin, for cooking the vegetables (approximately )
- 2 tsp salt and pepper to season (approximately )
To prepare the Couscous:
Put the stock (I use chicken but if catering for vegetarians, then use vegetable stock) and butter into a medium sized saucepan and bring to the boil on the stovetop. As soon as it reaches a boil, remove from the heat and add the couscous. Stir it lightly so couscous is even then cover and set aside to steam for 5-7 minutes. Fluff lightly with a fork to separate grains and avoid any clumping. Stir through the olive oil, lemon juice and parsley. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside.
To make Roasted Red Pepper Mayonnaise:
Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F). Line an oven tray with foil and then with a layer of baking paper on top.
Wash and dry the red pepper (capsicum). Cut in half lengthways and remove the core and seeds. Place the halves skin side up on the oven tray. Roast in the oven for 25-35 minutes or until the skin is charred and blackened. Remove and place them in a bowl. Cover with cling wrap and set aside for 15 minutes to steam (this makes them easier to peel). Once cool enough to touch, remove and discard the skins.
Place the roasted capsicum flesh, mayonnaise and vinegar into the bowl of a mini food processor and blend until smooth (approximately 20 seconds). Remove to a bowl or jug. Season to taste with salt and set aside.
NB. The red pepper can be cooked on the same tray, at the same time as the peppers required for the salad. They can also all be grilled on the bbq with the lid on if you prefer - see post.
To Grill/Roast the Vegetables:
Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F) and line an oven tray with foil and then top with a layer of parchment paper. Wash and dry the red, yellow and green peppers (capsicums). Cut them in half lengthways and remove the cores and seeds. Place the halves skin side up on the oven tray. Roast in the oven for 25-35 minutes or until the skin is charred and blackened and the peppers are soft. Remove and place them in a bowl. Cover with cling wrap and set aside for 15 minutes to steam (this makes them easier to peel). Once cool enough to touch, remove and discard the skins.Slice the peppers into 1cm slices and place in a bowl. Season with salt and add 1 tsp olive oil to them. Stir and set aside.
Zucchini and Baby Eggplant
Wash and dry the zucchinis and baby eggplant. Trim the top and bottom of the zucchini, then slice lengthways into thin slices (2mm thick). Do the same with the baby eggplants, or you can quarter them lengthways. Pat them dry with paper towels.Heat a frying pan over high heat and add 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add a single layer of zucchini slices to the pan (don’t overcrowd), reduce the heat to medium/high and cook until well browned (approximately 1.5 mins). Season lightly with salt, then turn over and repeat on the other side. Once cooked, remove to a plate or tray that is lined with paper towels. Repeat with the remaining zucchini slices. You may need to top up with more oil to the pan along the way. Let any new oil heat up before adding more zucchini.Cook the eggplant slices/quarters in the same way as the zucchini. The eggplant will take slightly longer to cook. Make sure they get nicely browned and are soft on the inside before taking off the heat. As with the zucchini, remove the cooked eggplant and place on a plate or tray lined with paper towels. Continue to layer eggplant, making sure there are paper towels between each layer.Set the zucchini and eggplant aside.NB. The cooking of the zucchini and eggplant can also be cooked on a barbeque plate/grill.
To Assemble the Salad:
Place the cooked couscous into a large salad bowl or platter. Spread out. Top with the grilled/roasted carrots, zucchini, eggplant, peppers and pumpkin. I add a half quantity of each and then repeat, so they are a little mixed up. Drizzle over the red pepper mayonnaise and gently fold everything together well so that all the vegetables and couscous are well coated in the dressing. You may have a little left over. Season with pepper and add salt to taste (if required).
The nutritional values are based on 2 teaspoons of salt overall and 1/4 cup olive oil (oil for roasting the vegetables) being used, however you may end up using less oil than this.
The nutritional values are based on 6 serves, however this salad serves 6-8 people.
Note 1: Couscous to liquid ratios can vary slightly depending on the brand. I have found that the ratio I use works well and produces a fluffy and not gluggy couscous, however refer to the packet instructions if in doubt.
Note 2: For the peppers in this recipe, if you are time-poor, you can use the jarred variety.
Note 3: I have stated white wine vinegar but I used fig vinegar in this recipe and have also used tarragon vinegar.
Note: for a gluten-free substitute you can use quinoa in place of the couscous. Prepare with the following ratio of 1 cup of quinoa to 1 3/4 cups of stock - rinse the quinoa thoroughly under running water, rubbing the seeds with your fingers for 20 seconds. Drain and place the quinoa into a medium sized saucepan. Add the stock and set aside to soak for 15 minutes. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat to low and cook with the lid on for 10-15 minutes or until the liquid has just evaporated. Fluff with a fork, replace the lid and set aside for 15 minutes to continue to steam.
Calories: 617kcal | Carbohydrates: 56g | Protein: 10g | Fat: 41g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 21mg | Sodium: 1267mg | Potassium: 1221mg | Fiber: 10g | Sugar: 15g | Vitamin A: 11870IU | Vitamin C: 139mg | Calcium: 79mg | Iron: 2mg