Spiced root vegetable bake with cous cous

cous cous and spiced root vegetable bake

cous cous and spiced root vegetable bakeLike other starchy staples such as rice, potatoes and pasta, cous cous is inexpensive and filling.

It’s also surprisingly easy to cook – simply salt, cover with boiling water and a lid, leave for 10 minutes until the grains are soft and fat and then fluff up with a fork and perhaps a little butter. Cous cous is a good carrier for strongly flavoured sauces and stews.

The recipe here is for a rich, spiced root vegetable bake – the recipes specifies parsnips, carrots and swede but you could add raw beetroot or turnips into the mix if you like. Also, don’t feel hampered by these vegetable proportions – a few more carrots or one less parsnip will work just as well.  Be led by what’s in season and available in the shop or your fridge.


2 parsnips, peeled and chopped into 2 cm dice
4 carrots, peeled and chopped into 2 cm chunks
½ swede, peeled and chopped into 2 cm chunks
1-2 baking potatoes, peeled and chopped into 2 cm dice.
4 cloves garlic, peeled and cut in half
3 tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, finely sliced
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp coriander powder
2 x 400g chopped tinned tomatoes
1tbsp tomato puree
Handful pitted green olives (optional)
250g cous cous
Salt & Pepper


  • Preheat the oven to 200ºC (190ºC fan) gas 6
  • Put the parsnips, carrots, swede, potatoes and garlic cloves in a large oven-proof dish so that they are not packed too deeply.
  • Season well, toss with 2tbsp olive oil and place in the oven for 30 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, put the remaining olive oil in a heavy bottomed pan over a medium heat.
  • Add the onions and allow to soften for 10 minutes.
  • When the onions are soft, add the cumin seeds and coriander powder and stir around for a minute or so.
  • Add the tinned tomatoes, tomato puree and olives, season with salt and pepper, stir and simmer gently to thicken for 10-15 minutes.
  • Next make the cous cous. Boil a kettle of water. Place the cous cous in a large bowl. Add a teaspoon of salt then cover with water until there is just under a centimeter of liquid over the surface of the grains. Cover the bowl with a large plate or cling film so that it’s airtight and leave for 8-10 minutes.
  • Once the vegetables have been in the oven for at 30 minutes and are almost cooked through, add them to the tomato mixture. Stir well, cover with a lid and allow to cook together for 5 – 10 minutes.
  • After 8-10 minutes take the lid off the cous cous and fluff the grains with a fork and serve with the root vegetable stew.