Vegetable Couscous with Moroccan Pesto

26 Feb

I’ve found that if you cook only vegetarian food, it’s sometimes easy to get stuck in the rut of always cooking pasta, typically with Italian flavors. Don’t get me wrong– Giada de Laurentiis is my fave (if you couldn’t tell from many of the other recipes I’ve posted)! But to me, it’s really  important to keep things interesting and try new recipes with unexpected flavor combinations.

Vegetable Couscous with Moroccan Pesto certainly fits the bill, and thus, has become a “regular” in my household. It’s full of healthy vegetables, and the Moroccan flavors are so interesting. I especially like the contrast of the savory pesto and tomatoes, paired with the sweetness of cinnamon and raisins.

By the way, couscous is technically a type of pasta, and yes, I was just saying one shouldn’t “get stuck in the rut of always cooking pasta.” But just as I consider peppers to be vegetables rather than fruits, I consider couscous closer to rice than pasta. Whatever the case, this is definitely not your typical Italian pasta dish!

Vegetable Couscous with Moroccan Pesto

Vegetable Couscous with Moroccan Pesto (adapted from recipe by Food Network Magazine)


For the Pesto-

  • 1 cup fresh cilantro (leaves and some stems)
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley (stems reserved for couscous)
  • 2 tablespoons walnuts (or almonds, if you prefer)
  • 1/2 clove garlic
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt, to taste

For the Couscous-

  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter
  • Salt
  • 1 onion, cut into wedges
  • Sprinkle of ground cinnamon
  • 14 oz can whole peeled tomatoes, halved
  • 2 small carrots, cut into chunks
  • 1 zucchini, chopped
  • 1/3 cup raisins
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 1 cup whole wheat couscous


  • Heat a wide heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat. Add 3 tbsp butter and 1/2 tsp salt; cook until butter begins to brown. Add the onion. Add about 5 reserved parsley stems and cinnamon to the pot. Cook, stirring occassionally, until the onion is lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes, 1 cup water, carrots, zucchini, raisins, 1 tsp salt, and pepper, to taste. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are crisp-tender, about 15 minutes. Remove the parsley stems.
  • While the vegetables are cooking, prepare the couscous and pesto. Cook the couscous as the label directs. Add the remaining 1 tbsp butter, season with salt and pepper, and fluff with a fork.
  • For the pesto, Combine the cilantro, parsley leaves, walnuts, and garlic in a food processor. Pulse until coarsely chopped. Add the olive oil and 1/4 tsp salt; process until smooth.
  • To serve, top the couscous with the vegetables and pesto.

Makes 2-3 servings.


5 Responses to “Vegetable Couscous with Moroccan Pesto”

  1. crustabakes February 27, 2011 at 9:31 am #

    It’s definitely rewarding to change your menu from time to time. I have never tried making couscous before, I guess i should give it a shot soon enuff!

    • yumtherapy February 27, 2011 at 9:41 am #

      Oh yeah you definitely should! It’s super easy to make the couscous itself– only takes about 5 minutes or so. And it’s very versatile and can be topped with all sorts of tasty foods.

  2. Saveur March 7, 2011 at 1:19 pm #

    The pesto looks like an interesting twist for the tagine. I also love the Moroccan flavours. Yum!

  3. foodblogandthedog March 11, 2011 at 4:36 am #

    Love the idea of the Moroccan pesto! I’ll have to try that with a little chilli I think!!

    • yumtherapy March 11, 2011 at 5:52 am #

      That’s a good idea! The cilantro in the pesto will be a nice compliment to the chili.

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