Persian Style Squash Couscous Salad is a magnificently delicious and quick to prepare light lunch and dinner. This exotic and colorful salad grabs the savors of ancient Persian cooking and provides the vegetarians not only with a low calorie dish but a high flavor one as well.
The sultanas along with dates are smoothly seethed with spices, wine and shopped garlic in order to complement the overall flavor of couscous, a fluffy grain that takes minutes to cook. This mixture is then topped with the peppers, orange slices, roasted butternut and patty pan squashes to give an amazing finishing touch to this simple and nutritious salad.
Preparation time: 25 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes
Serving size: 04
Utensils needed: saucepan, oven, stove, spoons, forks, mixing bowls, serving bowl, large salad bowl, whisk, cutting board, and knife etc.
- 1 butternut squash (about 750 g or 10 oz) – properly peeled
- 1 red pepper - halved and seeded
- 1 yellow pepper - halved and seeded
- 225 g (about 8 oz) baby patty pan squashes - halved if large
- 1 orange – unpeeled and cut into large chunks
- 4 bay leaves – fresh
- 1 cinnamon stick – halved
- 2 garlic cloves – finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- ½ teaspoon crushed dried chilies - optional
Date and sultana couscous:
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 onion - finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves – nicely chopped
- 75 g (about 2½ oz) stoned dates - finely chopped
- 75 g (about 2½ oz) sultanas
- 1 cinnamon stick – properly halved
- 2 cm (¾ in) piece fresh root ginger - finely chopped
- 150 ml (about 5 fl oz) dry white wine
- 250 g (about 8½ oz) couscous
- 1 can (about 400 g) chickpeas - drained and rinsed
- 300 ml (about 10 fl oz) boiling water
- 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
- Juice of 1 orange – freshly squeezed
- Salt and pepper – to taste
First of all preheat your oven to 400 degree Fahrenheit (ºF) or 200 degree centigrade (200ºC), with gas mark 6.
Take a sharp knife and properly peel one butternut squash. Then, cut it into half lengthways and remove all its seeds properly. Now, place the two halves of the peeled butternut squash in a large cutting board and slash them into thick slices. Set the slices aside, placing in a bowl or plate.
Pick one large red pepper and one yellow pepper and rinse them with cold water. Wipe them dry and cut into equal halves from the center. Do not remove the seeds and simply cut them into 12 slices each.
Take a medium roasting tin and arrange the recently chopped butternut squash and peppers in it. Add in the halved baby patty pan squashes, unpeeled chunks orange, bay leaves and the properly halved cinnamon stick, and the finely chopped garlic cloves. Toss the ingredients in the roasting tin until mix well.
Drizzle the 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil all over the ingredients in the roasting tin and sprinkle ½ teaspoon of finely crushed dried chilies (if you like). Now, toss again to coat the ingredients and set the roasting tin in your pre-heat oven. Now, roast the mixture for about 20 to 25 or until the vegetable slices are tender and lightly brown.
Note: Make sure to turn the mixture around at least once to properly cook it from all sides. It is better to turn at the end of first 12 minutes of roasting.
Until the mixture in the oven is roasting, you can prepare the couscous. Grab a medium saucepan and pour 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil into it. Turn on the heat of your stove at medium range and set the saucepan over it. Wait until the oil is warm and add in the finely chopped garlic cloves and onion slices. Now, fry the garlic-onion mixture for 3 to 5 minutes or until light golden, stirring it constantly.
Once the garlic-onion mixture is pale golden, add in the finely chopped dates, sultanas, properly halved cinnamon stick, and the nicely chopped up fresh root ginger. Mix the ingredients and drizzle about 150 ml of dry white wine over the mixture. Now, cover the saucepan by placing its lid at the top and cook it the mixture for 3 to 5 more minutes over medium-low heat. Remove the saucepan from stove with great care, wearing thick gloves. Take away lid of the pan and add in the couscous followed by the properly drained and rinsed chickpeas. Pour in some boiling water, cover the saucepan again and leave it for 4 to 5 minutes.
Remove the lid of the sauce pan after 5 minutes and shift the mixture to a large serving bowl. Add the 2 tablespoons of chopped parsley, 2 tablespoons of fresh mint and fresh juice of one large orange into the couscous mixture. Now, season with some salt and ground black pepper to enhance the overall taste of the salad. Grab a large fork and fluff up the ingredients, mixing them properly.
Pick four medium salad bowls and divide the recently prepared couscous mixture among them.
Remove the roasted vegetable mixture from oven and break it up equally among the bowls.
Your Persian Style Squash Couscous Salad is ready; place fork or spoon in each of the salad bowl and serve warm.