Good news: my long-suffering oven has finally gone to meet it’s maker. Bad news: it is Sunday night and although I have a luscious long list of recipes to test bake, my oven is kaput. I’m going to Plan B, which is to use the Ras el Hanout spice I was gifted recently to build an exotic batch of stove-top Moroccan couscous. The spice is widely available in the U.S., but it differs greatly in composition from brand to brand. Mine has warm, fruity scent, almost like the spiced winter holiday pudding I love so much. Wherever you find yours, be sure to sniff to make sure it tempts you, and acquire only small amounts, freshly ground.
This recipe is savory, with sweet dried fruit, but pulls its bright flavor from fresh lemon juice and orange zest. It is finished with crisp toasted walnuts, scallions and chopped cilantro, for a fresh-out-of-the garden texture. Oh my!
No-fat Vegan Ras el Hanout Couscous
2 C dried dates and apricots, chopped
Juice of 1 fresh lemon
1 C dry couscous
2 C water or vegetable broth
1 TBSP Ras el Hanout spice
1 14 oz. can garbanzo beans, drained
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
1/2 C coarsely chopped green onion
1/2 C cilantro, chopped
1/2 C walnuts, toasted and coarsely chopped
Zest and juice of 1/2 orange
1. Put chopped fruits in a small bowl and marinate in lemon juice for 1 or 2 hours.
2. In a saucepan, bring the couscous, water or vegetable broth, Ras el Hanout spice, garbanzo beans and chopped onion up to a boil. Cover and simmer on low until the liquid is absorbed, or 20 to 30 minutes. Remove lid and cool for 10 minutes.
3. Mix together the fruit with its marinade, couscous, & green onion.
4. Place the Ras el Hanout couscous in a favorite serving bowl and finish by squeezing the juice of 1/2 orange over all. Garnish with walnuts, cilantro and orange zest.