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Roast Vegetables with Couscous

It's ridiculously quick and easy to make, healthy, delicious, and has the capacity to soak up flavours, making it extremely versatile. This is a vegetarian version, which can be enjoyed entirely on its own, or as an accompaniment to a meat or fish dish, or with a salad. Try it with a handful of raisins and chopped apricots, and plenty of chopped fresh mint.

ingredients

serves 6
4 tbsp olive oil, plus a little extra to serve
2 onions, peeled and cut into wedges
2 shallots, peeled
3 carrots, cut into chunks
2 parsnips, cut into chunks
3 cloves of garlic, crushed, peeled and chopped
1 red chilli, finely sliced (seeds included if you like the heat)
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp coriander seeds, crushed
1/2 tsp cumin seeds, crushed
4 cardamom pods, crushed large pinch of saffron
2 courgettes, thickly sliced
500 g plum tomatoes, skinned sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
450 g couscous
75 g butter
a bunch of flat-leaf parsley, chopped
a bunch of coriander, chopped
a dash of balsamic vinegar

method

1. Heat the oven to 190°C/gas 5.

2. Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy-based roasting tin directly over a medium heat. Add the onions, shallots, carrots and parsnips and cook for about 10 minutes until golden, stirring frequently.

3. Add the garlic, chilli, paprika, cinnamon, coriander, cumin and cardamom and stir well, coating the vegetables in all the spices. Cook for a further 4 minutes then remove from the heat and stir in the saffron, courgettes, tomatoes and seasoning.

4. Transfer to the oven to roast for 40 minutes. Check after 30 minutes, adding a little water or vegetable stock if desired.

5. Place the couscous in a large bowl and cover with boiling water to a level of 2.5cm above the grains.

6. Mix well and leave to stand for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a small saucepan, add the chopped herbs and cook for 1 minute. Pour over the couscous, mix well and season it.

7. Take the vegetables out of the oven, drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar, and serve with the couscous.

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