Moroccan Chick Pea Couscous with Harissa

I was looking for something to make for a light tea the other evening, using up a few veggies in the bottom of my fridge. It was warm and sunny but I was too tired to be bothered lighting the BBQ, so I made this easy vegetarian recipe instead, which is full of aromatic Moroccan flavours.

It’s a perfect recipe to enjoy Al Fresco, either on it’s own or to accompany grilled fish or meat and you can keep any leftovers in the fridge overnight to finish off the next day, so make a big batch. It’s also great dish to serve at a BBQ, keeping vegetarians happy with an extra dish on offer to go with their veggie burgers but the meat eaters will also be fighting over it! We ate a bowl of this delicious recipe in the garden the other night with a lovely glass of wine, enjoying the sunshine.

I first ate something similar to this dish around a friend’s house one evening, at a dinner party a few years ago. The couple had just returned from travelling and had picked up a few interesting recipes along the way. I love it’s simplicity. I am the kind of woman who always has canned chick peas in her cupboard. There are so many things you can make with them in next to no time and this dish is actually pretty easy to throw together.

I used courgettes and a bag of mixed peppers in mine but have also eaten this with roasted aubergine and cherry tomatoes. I had some basil which needed using up so I used this to garnish the dish but you can use any herbs you fancy.

Fill your life with a bowl of this yummy sunshine food and enjoy hot or cold. It has a wonderful aromatic, zingy fresh flavour and certainly went down well with a glass of Prosecco the other night!

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Ingredients

For the Main Dish
1 Courgette
a few mushrooms
4 mixed peppers
( you can also use aubergine, cherry tomatoes or any combination of the above)
5 crushed garlic cloves
a can of chick peas

1 medium cup of plain dried Couscous

For the Harissa Paste
2 Tablespoons of freshly crushed whole cumin seeds in a pestle and mortar
Extra virgin olive oil
2 – 3 tablespoons of tomato puree
The juice of a fresh Lemon or 2 limes
a quarter of a pint of  Extra Virgin olive oil
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

To Garnish
slices of fresh tomatoes
fresh herbs eg basil

Method
Chop all the vegetables into bite sized chunks, drizzle lightly with olive oil, stir to coat the vegetables in oil and roast in the oven at 160C for 15 min

Add the drained can of chick peas and garlic, stir again, then roast for another 15 to 20 min until the vegetables are golden brown.

While the vegetables are roasting make up the harissa.

Crush the cumin seeds in a pestle and mortar. You can use ground cumin but freshly crushed seeds give off the most wonderful aroma and flavour.

Mix well with all the other ingredients in a jug. Taste and add more or less of anything to get the flavour just right, plus a seasoning of salt and freshly ground black pepper. Put the harissa to one side.

Cook the couscous according to the packet instructions about 6 or 7  minutes before the vegetables are cooked. Cover and keep to one side until the vegetables are ready.

Cooking couscous normally involves pouring boiling water over the dried grains then leaving to stand and fluffing up with a fork once the grains have absorbed the water.

To assemble the dish, mix the cooked couscous with the roasted vegetables in a big serving dish.

Garnish with slices of fresh tomatoes, basil leaves and drizzle over the harissa. If you have made too much harissa then store in the fridge for a few days as it is also lovely drizzled over cooked meat or fish.

You can also serve with grated cheese on top along with the harissa. The cheese melts over the hot vegetables and also tastes amazing. I left the cheese out the other night as we are both dieting after eating too much on holiday!

I hope you and your friends enjoy this dish which is made for sharing xx

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