Dec 13 2011

Weekday Lunch: Root Vegetable and Herb Couscous

I'm listing this meal as a weekday lunch, but that's not how I originally envisioned it. I was scheduled to make this couscous the night before and didn't (blame it on yoga and then an incredible desire for a veggie burger). Until my first bite, I was unconvinced that roasted vegetables and couscous could make an appropriate lunch. On first glance, the preparation seemed too laborious and the composition too heavy. I was wrong on both accounts.

I dedicated 10 minutes for vegetable prep and 10 minutes to boil the veggie broth and pour it over the couscous. The oven took care of everything else! Unluckily for me, the oven took care of everything else very, very slowly. I neglected to plan ahead and didn't even start the minimal vegetable prep until 11:45. I ate this lunch at 2 pm, my hunger assuaged by a 1 pm snack of yogurt and honey.

We ate the cold leftovers on Sunday and I noticed very little in the way of flavor degradation. This means that if you work from home, you can make this dish fresh--just preheat your oven around 10am! And if you commute, you can make this dish the night before and eat it cold (or warm it up, if you prefer) at the office.

Slow Roasted Root Vegetable and Herb Couscous

Adapted from The Garden Cookbook

Serves 5-6

Hands on time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 1 1/2 hours


2 beets

2 carrots

1 sweet potato

2 parsnips

2 onions

2 heads of garlic

2 tablespoons of olive oil

a bunch of thyme

balsamic vinegar

150 ml vegetable stock

salt & pepper

275 g of wholewheat couscous

500 ml vegetable stock

3-4 tablespoons of chopped mint

3-4 tablespoons of chopped parsley

juice and zest of 1 lemon


Preheat the oven to 320 degrees.

Scrub the vegetables. Peel and cut the carrots, sweet potato, and parsnips into wedges. Leaving the skin on, cut the beets in half or wedges, depending on their size. Quarter the onions.

Lightly oil a baking sheet and put all of the vegetables, except for the onions, together with the thyme. Gently toss to ensure all are covered with oil. Then sprinkle with a bit of balsamic vinegar.

Roast the vegetables for 40 minutes. After 40 minutes, add the onion and the 150ml of vegetable stock (*this will keep the vegetables from burning on the bottom.) Roast the vegetables for another 35-40 minutes until they're crisp and golden.

When the vegetables have 20 minutes left, bring the 500ml of vegetable stock to a boil. Put the couscous in a deep bowl and pour the boiling stock over it. Stir once and then cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap. Leave for 10 minutes until the couscous has absorbed the stock and the grains are soft.

Then, season the couscous with salt and pepper, and toss in the herbs, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Season the vegetables with salt and pepper and then dish out equal portions of each onto plates. Enjoy!