winter vegetable couscous

I was a CSA virgin until this winter.  Boy, have I been missing out. 

Have you done a CSA? Do you know what a CSA is?  In case you've never heard of it, CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture.  Basically, what that means is that you support a local farm by paying a seasonal fee in exchange for their farm fresh veggie to be delivered to your doorstep, usually on a monthly basis. 

What a fabulous concept.  And, do you want to know my favorite part is? You have no idea what you're going to get until it arrives. It's a boxful of surprises.   

Look at all those gorgeous vegetables.  

Fresh carrots, potatoes, garlic, squash. It even included the elusive black radish which I had never heard of until this delivery.  Of course, I quickly googled "black radish" only to find out that many others have ran into this conundrum as well. But, that's a post for a different day.

With all of the amazing vegetables at my fingertips, I wanted to make a hearty dish for dinner that incorporated a lot of of what I had in my delivery.  And, who better to turn to for inspiration than Yotam Ottolenghi's gorgeous cookbook: Plenty.  

I was so happy when I came across this recipe. It was like he created it for my winter vegetable CSA delivery.

Of course, you do not need to be a part of a CSA to make this recipe.  You do not even need to have all of the vegetables recommend below.  You can mix and match as you please with whatever fresh winter vegetables you can find.  

Just like many other veggie lovers, I am enamoured by Yotam Ottolenghi's Plenty. His book is a constant source of inspiration for me and my recipes. If you do not have a copy, you must order one ... now ... today! I promise you too will be inspired by the incredible recipes and all of the unique ways to enjoy vegetables.

winter vegetable couscous
Recipe adapted from Plenty by Yotam Ottolenghi

Around 4 as a main course, or around 6 as a side dish


2 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 3/4-inch chunks
2 medium parsnips, peeled and cut into 3/4-inch chunks
8 shallots, peeled
2 cinnamon sticks
3 bay leaves
8 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground turmeric
1/4 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp chile flakes
2 1/2 cups of butternut squash (from a 10-oz squash)
1/2 cup dried apricots, roughly chopped
1 cup chickpeas (canned or freshly cooked)
1 1/2 cups chickpea cooking liquid and/or water
1 cup couscous
Large pinch of saffron or tumeric 
1 cup boiling vegetable stock
2 tbsp harissa
2 cups cilantro leaves 


  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. 
  • Place the carrots, parsnips and shallots in a large ovenproof dish. Add the cinnamon sticks, bay leaves, 4 tablespoons of the oil, 3/4 teaspoon salt and the ginger, tumeric, paprika, and chile flakes and mix well. Place in the oven and cook for 15 minutes. 
  • Add the squash, stir and return to the oven. Continue cooking for about 35 minutes, by which time the vegetables should have softened while retaining a bite. 
  • Now add the dried apricots and the chickpeas with their cooking liquid and/or water. Return to the oven and cook for a further 10 minutes or until hot. 
  • About 15 minutes before the vegetables are ready, put the couscous in a large heatproof bowl with the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil, the saffron or tumeric and ½ teaspoon salt. Pour the boiling stock over the couscous. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and leave for about 10 minutes. Then add the remaining 3 tablespoons of olive oil and fluff up the couscous with a fork. Cover again and leave somewhere warm. 
  • To serve, spoon couscous into a deep plate or bowl. Stir the harissa into the couscous; taste the vegetables and add salt if needed. Spoon the vegetables onto the center of the couscous. Finish with plenty of cilantro leaves.