Are you looking to cut down on meat, but not on taste? Or are you a vegetarian looking for a healthy and easy veggie recipe? Or maybe you're looking for a side idea, other than the good ol' roasted potatoes.
Well, today's recipe is going to answer all of those questions. The Roasted Vegetable Salad is an easy and healthy vegetarian recipe that you can make in about 30 minutes. I made it with Couscous, which is an excellent source of fibers, vitamins and minerals.
You can have this Veggie Couscous Salad for breakfast, lunch, dinner or as a side dish. It works great with a lot of diets and it also very filling.
If you've been reading my blog for a while, you know that I like to give a lot of details about the ingredients I use in my recipes. If you're like me, I know you want to know more about what you and your family eat (other than the usual 'healthy' and 'tasty' tags).
Knowing what we eat and feed our children with, is essential in understanding whether a particular dish is actually healthy and good for us.
So let's get in-depth with the ingredients which I used to make the Roasted Vegetable Couscous Salad.
Where does Couscous come from?
Couscous has its origins in North Africa. This is a berber traditional ingredient and it is made of durum wheat and semolina.
It was first referenced in the 13th century in a North-African cookbook, "The cookbook of the Maghreb and Al-Andalus".
Nowadays, we have three types of Couscous: Lebanese, Moroccan and Israeli. The difference between them is just the size of the couscous pellets.
It is very popular in Middle-Eastern Cuisine where it replaces rice and Quinoa.
So if you're tired of rice, consider Couscous as a replacement. And if you're tired of Quinoa, just take a look at this Salad and see if you like what I made with it.
Couscous belongs more to Pasta family because the dough from which it's made, is pretty similar to the pasta dough.
Now that we know more about it, let's take a look at its benefits.
Organic Facts wrote an in-depth article about Couscous and its benefits, which I will summarise below:
1. It is packed with vitamins and minerals. Some of them include: Selenium, Thiamin, Niacin, Folic Acid, Potassium and Manganese.
Selenium is an essential mineral in the human body, that is difficult to find in other foods.
2. Cardiovascular Health. The Selenium in the Couscous helps to prevent heart attacks and strokes.
Potassium regulates the normal beating of heart and it reduces blood pressure.
3. Cancer Prevention. Selenium helps to prevent lung cancer when combined with Vitamins E and C.
The deficiency in Selenium was also linked to increased risk of prostate cancer appearance.
4. Immune System
5. Muscle Building
6. Wound Healing
7. Weight Loss
9. Body Metabolism
10. Antibacterial Activity
Now that we actually know more about the main ingredient it's time to take a look at the Peanut Butter Dressing.
In my opinion, this is what makes this healthy vegetarian recipe truly special.
I may be biased because I love Peanut Butter so much but hey... give it a try and let me know what you think of it.
A lot of people tend to be scared about its high calorie content. Don't be. If you can manage to consume it in reasonable amounts and not gobble up the whole jar, then you should be fine.
Authority Nutrition gave a comprehensive answer to the question 'Is Peanut Butter Good for you?'.
You might wonder how I got this salad dressing to be smooth and pourable. Well, it's kind of easy. I mixed it with a bit of water and a few spices in a tight-lid jar. Then shook vigorously and ... that's about it really.
I hope that by now you have a better understanding about the ingredients I used in the Roasted Vegetable Couscous Salad.
So let's get cooking...
Couscous roasted veggies salad with peanut butter sauce
1 cup whole wheat giant couscous
2 red pepper bell, chopped into big pieces
1 Tbsp smoked paprika
½ cup roasted peanuts
a small bunch of parsley, chopped
½ butternut squash, peeled, deseeded and cut into cubes
¼ cup spring onions, chopped
salt and pepper to taste
2 Tbsps olive oil
For the peanut butter sauce:
2 Tbsp natural peanut butter
1/2 tsp seal salt
1 1/2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp raw honey
1/2 Tbsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp garlic powder
4-5 Tbsp water
Preheat the oven at 180C/350F.
In an ovenproof dish, place the butternut squash and pepper. Add olive oil, salt , paprika and pepper and toss to combine. Roast in the preheated oven for about 15 minutes, until the veggies are golden on the sides and fork tender.
In a saucepan add 5-6 cups of water and bring it to the boil. Once boiling, add the couscous and simmer for about 6-8 minutes than drain and add the couscous to a bowl.
Meanwhile, prepare the peanut butter sauce. Add all the sauce ingredients to a jar with tight lid. Shake vigorously until all perfectly blended and smooth.
Add the roasted veggies to the couscous, then stir in the peanuts, green onion, and parsley. Drizzle with peanut butter sauce.
Toss to combine and serve it warm.