If you’re looking for your next weeknight dinner, Look no further. This warm ‘couscous’ salad is for you. This isn’t your traditional bland couscous dish, It’s bursting with amazing flavours and ticks all the boxes for a winter meal when you feel like something light but comforting.
I have a low-key crush on middle eastern/ Moroccan food. The dishes have the perfect combination of sweet, spicy and savoury notes that are indulgently comfy but never overly heavy. I’ve combined my favourite ingredients from both cuisines to make this simple but tasty salad. The base is made by swapping out traditional couscous for millet. If you haven’t tried millet before you should immediately add it to your rotation of whole grains. It is a tiny gluten-free grain with a slightly nutty flavour & a fluffy texture once cooked, making it the perfect swap for couscous or bulger. The fluffy millet ‘couscous’ is layered with sweet dried apricots, cubes of spicy, savoury Za’atar roasted eggplant & sweet potato and juicy cherry tomatoes & pomegranate seeds. All the flavours are brought together with a zingy green tahini dressing which is a divine combination of fresh herbs, lemon & natural coconut yoghurt.
Millet can be found in the health food aisle of the supermarket or at a health food/ bulk bin store. If you can’t track it down white quinoa would be a great alternative. I’ve also included my go-to recipe for Za’atar, a zingy earthy middle eastern spice blend combining sesame seeds, sumac, dried oregano & cumin. It makes small jars worth so you won’t need it all for this recipe but keep it on hand to sprinkle over everything. It’s particularly good on a piece of toast slathered with hummus, avocado and olive oil.
Jewelled ‘Couscous’ Salad
Serves – 4 Prep – 15 Cook – 30 Difficulty – Easy
for the salad
1 1/2 cups of uncooked millet
1 medium eggplant
1 medium sweet potato
1 punnet of cherry tomatoes, halved
1 cup of pomegranate seeds
1/2 cup of chopped dried apricots
1/2 cup flaked almonds
Small hand full of peppery greens like watercress or rocket
for the Za’atar
2 Tablespoons each of
For the Green Tahini Sauce
1/4 cup of natural yoghurt (i used coconut yoghurt )
2 tablespoons of tahini
1/4 cup of mint + coriander leaves
1 small clove of garlic
juice of half a lemon
dash of water
salt + pepper
Pre heat your oven to 160c.
To cook the millet add it to a large saucepan and cover with 3 cups of water. Bring to the boil then reduce the heat to a simmer. Try not to stir the millet while it’s cooking because it can become gluey and stick together. When all the water has been absorbed and the millet is al dente turn the heat off and cover with a lid. Allow to steam cool slightly.
While your millet is cooking prepare your za’atar by combining all the spices in a small bowl then set aside.
Cut your eggplant and sweet potato into small cubes and place on an oven tray lined with baking paper. Sprinkle with a generous amount of za’atar and a drizzle of olive oil. Bake for 25 – 30 minutes until soft and golden. Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly.
Next, make the dressing by adding all the ingredients to a food processor and blending until smooth. If it’s too thick add a touch more water.
To put the salad together get a large serving plate cover it with millet, spreading it out into an even layer. Scatter over the dried apricots, roasted eggplants & sweet potatoes, chopped cherry tomatoes, pomegranate, greens & almonds. Drizzle the green tahini sauce over just before serving.
Serve with extra za’atar and fresh orange or lime wedges.