Roasted Veggies with Couscous

Note: In my earlier posting (http://www.menupause.info/archives/20094),  using more vegetables is on the list of heart healthy recommendations, so I thought this dish, suggested by my yoga buddy Joann, would be a good choice for February. I made it for a food demo last month and I think this one was the favorite of all the dishes. To make it more nutritious, use whole grain couscous, and for a gluten-free version, use Riz Cous (made from rice to resemble traditional couscous).

Utensils: Cutting board & knife, roasting pan, 2 quart saucepan, serving dish & spoon
Prep. Time & Cooking Time: about 30 minutes total (You can be baking the veggies and cooking the couscous at the same time.)
Categories: Vegan, GF if using Riz Cous

Ingredients (very flexible!)

3-4 cups diced or sliced (organic) veggies of your choosing, such as: carrots, cauliflower, leeks, rutabaga, celeriac, delicata squash or sweet/white potato, fennel, carrots, bell peppers, zucchini, garlic, etc.
2-3 Tbl. macadamia nut or coconut oil
1-2 tsp. Za’atar or other herbal blend of your choosing, ex. curry powder, Italian herbs, ginger, etc.
1/4-1/2 cup couscous or Riz-Cous
3/4- 1 1/2 c. water or stock
salt & pepper to taste (optional if using your own herbal mixture)
Optional: sesame seeds or slivered almonds as topping

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Wash all veggies, then slice or dice, depending on the veggie. For example, thinly slice carrots, leeks, delicata squash, and any additional root veggies because they take longer if too thick. On the other hand, potatoes do best diced, and perhaps peppers and cauliflower. Experiment!
  3. Toss sliced and diced veggies with oil and herbs. Spread a little extra oil onto a small baking pan. (Sugg: 2 Tbl. for veggies & one for pan.) The picture below depicts veggies before baking.
  4. Place tossed veggies onto lightly oiled pan with little or no overlapping and bake until crunchy-tender. Depending on your own taste, test the veggies every few minutes. I suggest about 20 minutes, if the pieces are diced and thinly sliced.
  5. While the veggies are roasting, follow directions for couscous. Companies generally recommend twice as much water or stock as grain. Once the boiling liquid is poured overr the grains, cover and allow liquid to be absorbed. Fluff with a fork and add a touch of oil if you wish. couscous takes less than 15 minutes total, so you can make it while veggies are roasting.
  6. Remove cooked couscous from saucepan and spread onto a platter. (feel free to add a little oil.) Top with veggies from the oven and serve as is, or feel free to add slivered almonds or sesame seeds for added crunch.
    Variation: Add cubed, firm tofu to the veggies for a protein boost.
    Option: Turn the oven to broil for about one or two minutes to brown the edges of the veggies. (Cooking food at very high temperatures is considered less healthy than steamed or baked.)
    Serves 3-5 depending on if it is a side dish or main dish.

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