Layered bowl of seasoned couscous, roasted veg with toasted pine nuts and black olives and mixed leaf served with a balsamic dressing.
This plate is from the next day when I made it again. Used only red peppers this time and was out of black olives so used chopped green instead. Still lovely :-)
O.M.G - this salad was stunning! And quite the heavyweight, don't let the salad tag fool you here. I could barely walk after this, beaten by a salad I was! Of course, you don't have to eat the massive portion I did that you see there, I certainly had better intentions at the time but it was just too good and before I knew it, all gone.
I got this idea from Delia's Vegetarian Cookbook which I have had for years and this layered couscous salad has always caught my eye. I've completely changed the recipe to suit my tastes here but the basic idea is the same: couscous, roasted veg then salad and a dressing. The couscous and dressing will need precise measurements but for the roasted veg you can use whatever you like. Normally I would always use zucchini in my roasted veg but didn't have any so I used green pepper instead. I didn't have any aubergine/eggplant but that would go nicely too. Just use what you like - that layer is very forgiving :-)
Roasted Vegetable Couscous Salad with Balsamic Dressing:
100g couscous, dry weight (that's 1/3 + 1/4 cup)
1 tsp vegetable stock powder, I used Marigold Vegan Bouillon Powder.
200ml water (3/4 cup + 4 teaspoons)
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 onion, diced large
8 cherry tomatoes, peeled
1 small red pepper, diced large
1 green pepper, diced large (or halved zucchini slices)
200g mushrooms, quartered
1/4 tsp fine sea salt
3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 clove garlic, pureed
1 tsp dijon mustard
1/4 tsp salt
freshly ground black pepper
Mixed salad leaves of your choice, rocket is lovely in here!
30g pine nuts (2 Tbsp) toasted
10 black olives, chopped
Fresh basil, about 2 Tbsp chopped
There are quite a few steps with this salad but as they are all needed cool or room temperature you can do these in stages earlier on to make it easier.
First, roast the veg. Preheat the oven to 200C/ 400F. Peel the cherry tomatoes by slicing a small X on the bottom of them and place in a bowl then cover with boiling water. Leave for 5 minutes, drain then plunge into cold water. The skins should easily peel off now, any bits left on just use a paring knife to remove. In a large roasting tin add the tomatoes, onion, peppers, mushrooms and or whatever veg you like!
Drizzle over the olive oil, then sprinkle over the salt and a few grinds of black pepper and toss it all together with your hands until well coated in oil. Pop it into the oven for about 1/2 an hour, give the pan a shake a couple times during cooking and stir the mixture near the end to ensure even roasting. When there is no more liquid and the veg are tinged brown at the edges they are done. Transfer to a bowl and let cool.
Toast the pine nuts in a dry frying pan until golden then transfer to a small bowl to cool down. Add these and the chopped black olives to the cooled veg.
Measure the couscous into a shallow bowl - a bowl with a large surface area is best to ensure even cooking of couscous, I use an 8" square glass baking dish. Heat the water with the veg stock in a saucepan until boiling. Pour this over the couscous, give it a stir then quickly cover with cling film and leave for 5 minutes. Remove the cling film and give it a fluff with a fork then transfer to a large bowl to cool down. Make sure to fluff it up with a fork now and again as it cools to stop it clumping.
To make the dressing, add the olive oil to a small bowl then slowly add the balsamic vinegar, whisking all the while until fully emulsified. Add the Dijon and whisk until all the little mustard dots are gone - it should be completely smooth. Whisk in the pureed garlic, salt and pepper and set aside.
When everything is cool or room temperature, tip the couscous into a large serving bowl. Top with all the roasted veg/pinenut/black olive mixture then top with the mixed leaf.
To serve, first take some of the leaf and distribute equally amongst plates (2 for a massive meal or 4 for smaller meals) then take a large serving spoon and spoon over the veg and couscous. Lastly drizzle over the dressing then serve immediately.
Nutritional Information: based on a more reasonable 4 servings ;-) Or you could just eat half of it like I did....
Sat Fat: 2.6g
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