Perfect for those lazy summer afternoons: this refreshing and light recipe is guaranteed to make your taste buds go alive without too much effort. There is something really hearty about this combination of couscous, roasted vegetables and chunky chickpeas with the myriad of textures in the form of crunchy walnuts, fresh herbs that you just can’t stop. The best part: the deep red pomegranate seeds that glisten like gems, add a wonderful tangy sweet finish to the dish…not to mention the goodness of this super food. You can serve this dish as a starter or salad just on its own, or make it part of a main course by serving this instead of rice with a lovely curry. There is in fact so much you can do with this – fill up your Tupperware for a healthy packed lunch or fill it up in pita pockets for your kid’s snack, serve it on little leaves of gem lettuce or endive to make fancy appetizers, the options are unlimited. So, what are you waiting for? Lets get started…
- Couscous – 150 grams
- Boiled Water – 250 mls
- Red and Yellow peppers – 1 each, medium-sized
- Raw Mango – 1, chopped into cubes
- Boiled chickpeas – 1 cup
- Walnuts – ½ cup, chopped
- Lemons – 3, juiced
- Olive Oil – 4-5 tablespoons
- Red chilly – 1, de-seeded
- Pomegranate seeds – 2 tablespoons
- Coriander / Cilantro – large handful, chopped
- Salt to season
Method Place the couscous in a large bowl and fill with boiled water (adjust the quantity of water depending on the couscous type) to come up to an inch above the couscous and cover with a plate for 10-12 minutes. Uncover and fluff up the couscous by running a fork through it – you can add a teaspoon of olive oil at this stage and keep aside. While the couscous is soaking up the water, smear the whole peppers generously with olive oil and place on top of a gas flame, turning at regular intervals until the skin gets charred, begins to shrink and gives in slightly. This will take about 4-5 minutes as you dont want to softent the peppers too much. Alternatively, you can grill them in a hot oven, at 200 Celsius for about 12-15 minutes. But I prefer the gas flame as it gives it a lovely charred look and smoky flavour. Cut the peppers into halves, remove the seeds and chop the peppers into 1-inch squares and add these to the couscous along with the chickpeas without any liquid, especially if you are using the tinned variety. To prepare the dressing, whisk together the olive oil, juice from the lemons, chilli and salt and pour evenly over the couscous mixture. Toss in the chopped walnuts, pomegranate seeds and coriander and give it a good stir. Taste and adjust the seasoning for any extra lemon juice or salt. Cover for about 5-10 minutes to let the couscous and veggies absorb the lovely flavours and serve.
- Do note that couscous absorbs flavours like a sponge, so make sure you taste and adjust the salt and lemon juice. I started with juice of 2 lemons and then kept adding till I had used up three. I like mine a little more lemony but adjust according to your taste.
- Feel free to replace the chickpeas with any beans you prefer – red kidney or borlotti beans make for good alternatives.
- You can replace the coriander with any flat leaf herb of your choice.