Couscous is an amazing ingredient to serve alongside stews and sauces; the perfect sponge for flavour. But even better, couscous makes for many interesting and delicious dishes in their own right, like this wonderful roasted Moroccan-inspired cauliflower & garlic couscous.
This Moroccan Couscous With Roasted Cauliflower & Garlic is one of the tastiest side-dishes ever. I say side-dish, it could easily have been a meal in its own right. But, I can't say no to pairing couscous with a sauce, so I usually accompany mine with something like a super-simple-super-delicious Moroccan Kefta Tagine. But even when I don't, this salad is a winner every time!
What is couscous?
Well, in actual fact, couscous is a type of pasta. Durum wheat semolina flour is combined with water and in-turn creates tiny grain sized balls. They look a little like bulghur wheat or quinoa but are not actually a whole grain at all. Couscous is a staple in North Africa and eaten widely in Morocco, Tunisia and Algeria. It's often steamed, fresh or dried and rehydrated and easy to find in most supermarkets. Rehydrating couscous is simple and quick, making it one of my favourite, fuss-free staples to serve on the side.
Stuff you'll need
This dish is simple to put together, with a few key ingredients to make the magic happen. There's a full recipe below.
Couscous - plain variety, don't buy the flavoured ones, they're a bit nasty!
Cauliflower - If you're new to the magic of roasted cauliflower, you're in for a treat!
Stock - soaking the couscous in stock gives it a tonne more flavour. Chicken is my go-to, but vegetable is great too.
Butter - I'll often add a little ghee or butter to the hot stock for even more flavour. In Morocco they use a fermented butter called 'smen'. Its funky smell is most like a stinky blue cheese, if you're up for a challenge, make your own smen for the full Moroccan experience.
Tomatoes - I like tangy heirloom or small grape tomatoes.
Herbs & lemon - A Moroccan dish wouldn't be the same without either. Mix and match your favourite herbs. I always use parsley but often interchange with the likes of fresh dill, cilantro, mint and oregano.
The results are fresh, light and fragrant - so simple and effective! You can experiment with whatever ingredients you have around the kitchen - I'll often add cooked green beans, chickpeas, radish, cucumber, roasted carrots or parsnip - the choices are endless.
More delicious Moroccan and Mediterranean Recipes
If you like this couscous, why not try one or all of my favourite Moroccan and Mediterranean recipes.
Preheat oven to 400ºF/200ºCSeparate the cauliflower into small florets and arrange on a baking sheet with the onion, bell pepper and garlic. Drizzle over the olive oil and cumin seeds then season with salt and pepper and toss with your hands to ensure everything is coated.Roast in the oven for about 40 minutes until the everything is nicely charred.Remove from the oven and fish out the garlic cloves. Remove the skins and discard. Return the roasted garlic to the vegetables and leave to cool for 5 minutes.
While the vegetables are cooking, bring the stock to a boil in a saucepan then turn off the heat. Add the couscous, ghee (if using) and cumin powder and a little salt & pepper and stir once. Put on a lid and leave for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes fluff up with a fork.
In a large bowl, combine the couscous with the roasted vegetables. Gently stir in the tomatoes, mint, dill, parsley and the juice of half a lemon. Drizzle over a little extra virgin olive oil and season with a little more salt and pepper if needed.
Serve at room temperature with more lemon wedges to squeeze over.
You can make this cous cous with a whole array of roasted vegetables. I often make variations using roasted broccoli, Brussels sprouts, potato, parsnip, carrots and beet.
Cous Cous with Roasted Cauliflower & Garlic
Amount Per Serving
Calories 223Calories from Fat 72
% Daily Value*
Saturated Fat 1g6%
Vitamin A 1186IU24%
Vitamin C 89mg108%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.