When you don’t feel like cooking too much, but you do want to give your body your daily vitamins, vegetable couscous is the answer. It is super easy to prepare and most of the work will be done for you, while the veggies are cooking and infusing with all the spices on the stove.
Moroccan vegetable couscous used to be a very common meal to eat with my French family. My mom was born in Algeria where she was raised half of her childhood. Couscous is a traditional dish in Algeria, as well as in Morocco, Tunisia and Israel. The French love to eat couscous au beurre (couscous with butter), in Algeria it is called Mesfouf. There are many regional recipes for couscous, some are more spicy, some more savory, some more sweet. Mostly it’s served with vegetables and meat, sometimes with almonds, dates, and pistachio’s.
I remember when I was a kid we always used to eat couscous in a Moroccan restaurant in Courcouronnes, a small town below Paris, where my grandparents used to live. Today I am still eating couscous, but that has more to do with Omri’s Israeli heritage. This is why I will always keep traveling, the fusion of cultures is what makes life so interesting. Traveling taught me a lot about food and it didn’t only brought new flavors into my life, it also brought me old flavors back from my childhood memories.
Now let me teach you how to make this delicious hearty vegetable couscous Morrocan-style. This is the basic recipe for vegetable couscous. Matbucha is to my opinion the best add to this meal. If you are in the mood, I recommend you to make it yourself, it’s not difficult but you’ll have to make it ahead. You could add any kinds of dried fruits and nut and experiment with the spices to create your own signature twist. I am sure this meal will satisfy your belly and feel good to your soul. You might even lick your plate clean when finishing!
Vegetable Couscous Moroccan-Style
- 2 cups couscous
- 1 courgette
- 1 big carrot or 2 small ones
- 2 celery stems
- 1 big potato or 2 small ones
- 1 butternut squash or regular pumpkin
- 1 onion
- 4 garlic cloves
- fresh parsley / cilantro
- mix of spices curcuma, paprika, cayenne, cumin, ginger
- 1 liter vegetable broth
- Pomegranate arils or dried fruits or nuts they all go well with it, but it isn't a must
- olive oil
- Cut the onion into big pieces and let it fry in olive oil (about 1 tablespoon) in a large soup pot. Meanwhile cut all the vegetables. Cut everything into big pieces. Add the garlic cloves as whole, or if they are big you can cut them in half and add it to the onions. Stir well and add the spices. This is all about freestyling, be generous and use as much as you want and make it as spicy as you wish. This is all to your taste. Stir well and let the spices open up.
- Add all the vegetables to the pot and give it a good stir. Leave it for a little bit to give the spices some time to infuse with the veggies. Meanwhile you can make the vegetable broth.
- Pour the vegetable broth on the vegetables and give it a stir. Cover the pot with a lid and let it cook for about 30 minutes. Check in the meantime if the vegetables are getting soft. Don't cook them too soft, cause they will fall apart. They need to be solid but cooked, so you keep the bite but cook it well enough that it will melt on your tongue. Taste the broth to see if it's your level of spiciness and add spices if needed.
- Cook the couscous. We always use 1 cup of boiled water for 1 cup of couscous. Just add the couscous to a bowl and pour the water. Cover with a towel and leave it for a few minutes to absorb the water. Once ready separate the couscous with a fork. If desired you could add a drop op olive oil.
- Serve the couscous with the vegetable soup on top. Add chickpeas, fresh herbs and if you wish you could add dried fruits, nuts or pomegranate to add some sweetness to it. Enjoy!