Toronto Star

A healthy Middle East-inspired dish to start the new year

This satisfying vegetable recipe will help you stay on track with your resolution­s

- Ricardo

It’s a new year and with that comes new resolution­s. Eat better, exercise more, watch the spending, take time to slow down . . . I’m going to help you get off to a healthy start with this satisfying, delicious slow cooker recipe made up of vegetables and chickpeas and served over couscous. It’s so simple, all you need to do is brown a couple of onions in a skillet with garlic, cumin and turmeric, then toss this mixture — along with your chickpeas and veggies (good-for-you stuff like carrots, turnips, rutabaga, zucchini and bell peppers) — into the slow cooker, press a button and you’re set.

Come dinnertime, make the couscous (using the vegetable broth straight from the slow cooker), chop up some fresh cilantro and this wholesome meal is ready to go.

Slow Cooker Couscous With Vegetables and Chickpeas

Ricardo Tested Stewed vegetables: 2 onions, chopped 2 tbsp (30 mL) olive oil 2 garlic cloves, chopped 1 tsp ground turmeric 1 tsp ground cumin 3 cups (750 mL) water 1 can (14 oz/398 mL) diced tomatoes 1 can (14 oz/398 mL) chickpeas, drained and rinsed 5 carrots, peeled and sliced 2 turnips, peeled and each cut into 6 wedges 2 bell peppers of various colours, seeded and diced 1 small rutabaga, peeled and cubed 2 zucchini, cut into half-moon slices 1 tbsp (15 mL) honey 1 tbsp (15 mL) harissa paste 1/4 cup (10 g) chopped fresh cilantro

Couscous: 21/2 cups (425 g) medium couscous 1 tbsp (15 mL) olive oil

To make the stewed vegetables, brown onions in oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic and spices and cook for 1 minute. Transfer to slow cooker and add remaining ingredient­s except for the cilantro. Stir well. Season with salt and pepper. Cover and cook on high for 5 hours.

At the last moment, stir the cilantro into the stew. Remove 2 1/2 cups (625 millilitre­s) of hot broth from slow cooker and pour into a bowl. Stir in couscous and oil.

Cover and let rest for 5 minutes. Fluff couscous with a fork.

If slow cooker has been on warm, microwave the broth for a few minutes until hot before adding couscous (couscous will not cook in warm broth). Serve the couscous with the vegetables and chickpeas.

Makes 6 servings.

 ?? RICARDO ?? When cooking, use good-for-you veggies such as carrots, turnips, rutabaga, zucchini and bell peppers, Ricardo writes.
RICARDO When cooking, use good-for-you veggies such as carrots, turnips, rutabaga, zucchini and bell peppers, Ricardo writes.
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