While this dish might be rather dull in color, it’s shining with flavor. With a long list of spices (star anise, cinnamon sticks, ginger, turmeric, and paprika), every bite tastes sweet, spicy, and delicious.

Winter Couscous

The toughest part of this recipe is the preparation. While root vegetables might be plentiful at this time of year, their texture makes them a struggle to peel and chop. Once this step is done, however, the recipe is largely hands off and requires little attention.

If you’re looking for a new way to use up that squash, or want a warm dish to offset the cold of winter, this one won’t let you down.

Winter Couscous 2

Winter Couscous Recipe (adapted from Plenty: Vibrant Recipes from London’s Ottolenghi)


  • 2 parsnips, peeled and cut into 3/4 in. cubes
  • 2 carrots, peeled and cut into 3/4 in. cubes
  • 1 medium sized onion, chopped
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 4 star anise
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • salt to taste
  • 1/2 tsp ginger
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 tsp chile flakes
  • 1 butternut squash, peeled and cut into 3/4 in. cubes
  • 1/3 cup dried apricots, chopped
  • 1 cup canned chickpeas, rinsed
  • 1 cup couscous
  • 1 cup vegetable stock
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • harissa, to serve
  • parsley, to serve


  1.  Heat oven to 375 degrees. In a large bowl, mix together parsnips, carrots, onions, cinnamon sticks, star anise, bay leaves, ginger, turmeric, paprika, chile flakes, olive oil, and 3/4 tsp salt. Place in a large baking dish and roast for 15 minutes.
  2. Remove the dish from the oven and add butternut squash. Cook for another 35 minutes.
  3. Boil vegetable stock in a small pot.  Once ready, add couscous and remove from heat.  Cover and let sit for 5 minutes.  After 5 minutes, add in 1 tbsp of butter and fluff with a fork.
  4. Remove vegetables from the oven and add 1 1/2 cups water and dried apricots.  Continue roasting for 10 minutes more.
  5. Serve vegetables on top of couscous with harissa and parsley on top.

Makes 4-6 servings.


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