Moroccan apricot and almond couscous with roasted vegetables

A jar of powdered ras el hanout in my cupboard caught my eye the other day and I resolved to find something to do with it other than spice up chickpeas (see "North African chickpeas with ras el hanout", posted here 8.5.11). Then I noticed wholemeal couscous in my local supermarket... this subtle but spicy dish makes the most of our lovely Autumnal veggies and is colourful and satisfying without being stodgy. Don't be put off by the long ingredients list- it is fairly quick and easy to make. If you like uppma (a savoury vegetable and semolina dish) then you'll probably like this for a change. Serve with a green salad and olives for extra colour and vitamins to get you through the rapidly darkening mornings and evenings, or top with tomato sauce. The quantities her fed 6 of us for dinner plus two smaller lunches the next day, so reduce the quantities if not feeding so many!

500g wholemeal couscous
200g almonds
100g semidried apricots, chopped
1/4 small white cabbage, finely chopped
extra virgin olive oil for sauteing
1/4 large celeriac*
450g firm orange pumpkin*
2 bell peppers*
a handful of fresh cilantro (coriander) or flat-leaved parsley leaves, divided into small sprigs
1 tab soy sauce/ liquid aminos
1 tsp hing
a pinch of powdered gour/ shakar
seasalt to taste
2 tabs ras el hanout
1 tsp turmeric and./ or a few strands of saffron
1 tsp paprika
  • Soak the almonds for at least 15 minutes
  • Roast the almonds in the minimum of oil at 200C until browned (be sure to watch them- they overcook quickly!)
  • Meanwhile, prepare the veggies by cutting them into chunks- and peel the pumpkin if using 
  • When the nuts are roasted crush with a rolling pin, but leave some whole/ nearly whole for texture
  • Roast the other vegetables in oilive oil (adding faster-cooking ones like bell peppers later to avoid overcooking them) at 225C
  • Saute the cabbage in a large pan over a medium-high heat, adding the hing, soy sauce/ liquid aminos and shakar
  • Add to the pan 800ml water, seasalt, ras el hanout, turmeric/ saffron and paprika
  • Stir in the couscous over a gentle heat until it softens and the liquid is absorbed. Adjust seasoning if desired
  • Stir in the apricots and almonds
  • Just before serving, add the coriander/ parsley leaves
  • Serve with the roasted veggies on top and a green salad on the side

* (You can swap these veggies for courgettes, aubergine, beetroot or parsnip if you like)


  1. Looks really good, love the colours.

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