I recently had an adventure at one of the local farms. It turns out, if you help out for a mere five hours, they will send you home with an obscene amount of produce. See below:
So after I got back to a reasonable sense of normalcy, (I had to be fed, watered and washed => I sound like a farm animal already) I, of course, began to worry about how to use these beauties while they are still in their prime. In swept a recipe from the Vegetarian Times magazine from earlier this year: Roasted Vegetables with Green Olive Vinaigrette and Pistachio Couscous with some additions and deletions. First, I added sweet potatoes to the veggie lineup. I thought it sounded like a good idea and it was actually the star of the whole shebang. On this go round, I thought since I also had butternut squash I would throw that in. Then I omitted the vinaigrette. While it was good; it was unnecessary, same thing with the pistachios. I love pistachios and I cannot even imagine something better without them but I found myself just eating handfuls of them, not really incorporating them into the dish. So I encourage you to take a look at the original recipe and maybe try it but here’s how I tweaked it. Now for a new name since it no longer has the vinaigrette or the pistachios.
Tunisian Inspired Descended from Heaven Roasted Vegetables on a Bed of Couscous
1 small butternut squash, peeled and chopped into 1/2 inch cubes
1 medium-large sweet potato, peeled and chopped into 1/2 in cubes
2-3 sweet peppers cut into 1/2 chunks
1 large red onion, sliced into rings
2 Tbs olive oil
1 Tbs balsamic vinegar
1 Tbs finely chopped mint*
2 tsp harissa
2 cloves garlic
2 c couscous
1 tsp salt
For the Veggies:
1) Preheat oven to 450°F. Combine the butternut squash and the sweet potatoes with 1 Tbs of the oil. Line a baking sheet with foil and transfer them to the pan and cook in the oven for 15 minutes. While those are cooking, combine the onion and peppers with the other Tbs oil and put on another baking sheet lined with foil. When the 15 minutes are up place this pan in the oven along with the other and cook both for 15 minutes more.
2) While those are roasting, combine the balsamic vinegar, chopped mint, harissa and the garlic.
3) When the veggies are done roasting, transfer to a bowl and drizzle with the vinegar mixture.
For the couscous:
4) Bring 2 c water to a boil, add salt and couscous and give it a stir. Cover the pan and take off the heat. Let stand 5 minutes and then fluff with a fork.
5) Put 1/2 to 1 c of couscous on each plate and top with some of the veggie mixture. Easy Peasy!
*Those of you who are inclined to leave out the mint: I gently urge you not to. Spoken as someone who usually doesn’t like to incorporate the ‘sweet’ spices into savory dishes, the mint adds a sweetness and brightness that balances out the harissa (especially my harissa because it’s hot and cumin-y) and I think it really is integral. Plus, it’s not a huge amount but like I’ve said before, you are in charge of your kingdom.
P.S. If you find that all you talk about is pumpkins/ pumpkin spiced lattes/ leaves turning/ sweater weather and you are using #fallingforfall or other fall related hashtags this video might help you and you suck because fall doesn’t come to Central Texas for another 6 weeks. At least that’s what Arnie the Armadillo seeing his shadow means never mind that armadillos have poor vision and are rarely out before sunset.
Now what to do with that okra? Yipes!