Moroccan Couscous


I’m trying to challenge myself. Some of my least favourite pulses are chickpeas and I’m mostly not more than luke-warm about any squash or pumpkin. So this recipe is a bit of a ‘leap of faith’ for me. In using flavours (Harissa) and textures (couscous and roasted onions) that I like in the dish, I was hoping to make the squash and chickpeas more palatable. Roasting them gives a wonderfully sweet flavour and the robust spicing overwhelms the bits I don’t like in the veg. It looks wonderful piled high on a platter and works equally well as a salad, side or even main dish. Can I say I’m a convert? Well, nearly! Just have to keep the variety going to pep your unloved veg. Hope you enjoy as much as I did…

Worth noting that this is the best, most foolproof way of cooking couscous I’ve ever come across – always resulting in tasty, fluffy grains in a flash. Couscous sounds like it should be so easy, but the number of times I have it off a menu and it’s been cooked terribly is shocking.

Moroccan Couscous (dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, soya-free, sesame-free, vegetarian and vegan)


serves 4

  • 1/2 butternut squash, peeled, deseeded and cut into bite-sized cubes
  • 1 red onion, roughly sliced
  • 1/2 tin chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp Harissa paste
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • Small handful if parsley, finely chopped

For the couscous:

  • 1 cup couscous
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp of any combination of lemon or vinegar
  • 1 tsp salt

– Mix together the squash, onion, chickpeas, oil and Harissa and roast for 30 minutes at 180 degrees centigrade, tossing now and then
– Add the balsamic and cook for an extra 10 minutes
– Taste and adjust seasoning as desired
– To make the couscous: bring the water, lemon/vinegar, oil and salt to the boil
– Pour over the couscous and cover
– Leave for 10 minutes then fluff up with a fork
– Add the roasted veg to the couscous, pls the raisins and parsley
– Serve warm or room temperature




Silky Squash and Rosemary Soup

It’s April and it’s still freezing. Come on weather! Pull your socks up, and get a bit more spring-like – in the meantime, here’s another soup to warm the [figurative and vegetarian] cockles.

I not a big fan of butternut squashes, but since one arrived in this week’s veg box, it just had to feature in my soup choice. However, this  combination of squash with rosemary was capable of changing even my opinion on the humble squash. The resulting soup is silky, herby, punchy and (in my opinion) transforms squash into a wonder ingredient! Top with these rather addictive rosemary roasted salted pumpkin seeds and feel the warmth.

Silky Squash and Rosemary Soup (dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, sesame-free, soya-free, gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan)


serves 4

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 sticks of celery, peeled and chopped
  • 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 2 sprigs of rosemary
  • 1 butternut squash, peeled, seeded and chopped
  • 750 ml vegetable stock
  • salt and pepper

– Saute the onion, carrot and celery in the oil until softened but not browned

– Add the squash and rosemary and stir well.

– Pour in the stock and simmer for 15-20 minutes until the squash is cooked through.

– Remove the woody rosemary stalks and liquidize.

– Taste and adjust the seasoning.

– Serve scattered with rosemary roasted pumpkin seeds and sliced spring onions.

Rosemary Roasted Pumpkin Seeds (dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, sesame-free, soya-free, gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan)


makes plenty!

  • 1 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 1 tsp finely chopped rosemary,
  • 1/2 tsp salt (or less)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

– Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Centigrade/Gas Mark 4

– Toss together all the ingredients and scatter on a baking tray.

– Roast for 10-15 minutes, until starting to turn golden.

– Cool


Roasted Mushroom and Butternut Squash Burgers

It seems like it was a ‘Burger Tuesday’ in this house this week. At The Green Fair on Sunday I bought the recipe book Veggie Burgers Every which Way and it’s inspired me to experiment with some burgers, buns and my favourite pink pickled onions. I had a butternut squash hanging round in the fridge (I’m not really sure why I bought it as I tend not to like squashes!) and a few tired mushrooms so taking some general inspiration from the book concocted a new veggie burger recipe. So far (uncooked) it tastes good and the texture seems ok but we’ll have to see if they hold together when I fry them off later… Fingers crossed!

I’m going to serve them in home-made burger buns but I reckon they’d also work pretty well as a stand alone pattie or to accompany roast vegetables.

Update: they tasted delicious – sweet from the squash but with an earthy roasted mushroom tang. They held up well to being fried and looked good in a bun, BUT they were a bit soft so fell apart somewhat on eating. I always get this problem with veggie burgers – anyone out there know how to make them firmer and more substantial?

Recipes for the burger buns and pickled pink onions to follow….

Roasted Mushroom and Butternut Squash Burgers (dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, peanut-free, sesame-free, soya-free, vegetarian and vegan)

makes 4

  • 1/2 butternut squash, cut length-wise
  • 6-7 mushrooms
  • 1/2 red onion
  • 1-2 slices of bread, whizzed into breadcrumbs
  • good handful of parsley
  • seasoning
  • optional, if eat dairy: 60g goat’s cheese

– Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Centigrade/Gas Mark 5

– Place the 1/2 butternut squash in a baking dish, drizzle with olive oil, season and roast for up to an hour, until soft and squidgy. Scrape the flesh from the skin and set aside.

– Slice the onion and place in a different baking dish with the mushrooms. Drizzle with oil and sprinkle with thyme. Roast for 30 minutes.

– Whizz up the bread in a food processor to make breadcrumbs.

– Add the mushroom and onion mix and whizz.

– Add the roasted butternut squash and parsley. Process until well combined. (Add the goat’s cheese if using)

– Check the seasoning.

– Form into four burgers and place on a lined baking sheet.

– Leave to set in the fridge for a good few hours.

– Fry until golden and crisp. Then move to a preheated oven for 10-15 minutes to cook through.