Seven-Vegetable Couscous

Seven-vegetable couscous

Seven is a lucky number in Jewish tradition, so a soup or stew featuring seven vegetables is a Rosh Hashanah (Jewish New Year) favorite among Sephardic Jews. Despite the longish ingredient list, it’s easy and quick enough to serve as a mid-week main dish even if you don’t observe the Jewish New Year. Feel free to replace other veggies for the ones listed below. Want a gluten-free version? Substitute  quinoa for the couscous. From Vegan Holiday Kitchen. Photo by Susan Voisin, FatFree Vegan Kitchen.

Serves: 8

  • 1 1/2 cups couscous, preferably whole grain
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil or vegan buttery spread, like Earth Balance
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 medium onions, quartered and thinly sliced
  • 1 heaping cup thinly shredded green cabbage
  • 1 medium turnip, peeled and diced
  • 1 medium yellow summer squash, halved lengthwise and sliced l/4-inch thick
  • 1 medium zucchini, halved lengthwise and sliced l/4-inch thick
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked or canned (drained and rinsed) chickpeas
  • 1 1/2 cups diced ripe tomatoes
  • 2 teaspoons grated fresh or jarred ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon each: ground cumin, coriander, turmeric and salt

Garnish:

  • 1/2 cup golden raisins or finely chopped dried apricots
  • 1/3 cup minced fresh parsley
  • 1/2 cup sliced or slivered toasted almonds

Combine the couscous and 3 cups boiling water in a heatproof bowl. Cover and let stand until water is absorbed, about 15 minutes. Fluff with a fork, then stir in the margarine, turmeric and salt. Cover and set aside.

For the vegetable stew, heat the oil in a large saucepan or soup pot. Add the onions and sauté over moderate heat until translucent. Stir in cabbage and sauté until both it and the onion are lightly golden.

Seven-vegetable couscous for Jewish New YearAdd remaining stew ingredients. Bring to a simmer, then over and reduce the heat to medium-low. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 15 to 20 minutes. Add water as needed to produce a moist, but not soupy, consistency. The vegetables should be tender, but still firm.

To serve, arrange the couscous on the outer edge of a large serving platter. Pour vegetable mixture in the center, then sprinkle with the garnishes. Let each guest place a mound of couscous on his or her dinner plate and top it with the vegetable mixture.

Variation: For a gluten-free variation, use quinoa in place of couscous. Use 1 1/2 cups quinoa, and simmer gently in 3 cups water until the water is absorbed.

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