I think every time I make my couscous salad it differs from the previous version. Yes there are the staple ingredients that I throw in like roasted red capsicum, onion, chickpeas and loads of fresh parsley, but anything else comes down to what is wafting about the pantry or fridge. I usually use the finer grain couscous, but when a packet of the larger Israeli stuff found its way into the Middle Eastern section of my pantry, I had no choice but to use it.
This style of couscous doesn’t rely on the usual absorbtion method and is instead boiled in water for about 8 minutes. I used stock rather than water for that extra bit of flavour, and the rest kind of fell into place.
A bit of this, a bit of that and before you know it you have a fabulous side salad or light meal that’s kind of good for you. Another thing I always make sure to put into my couscous is a final flourish of crunchy seeds – like pumpkin and sunflower.
There’s so much softness going on in there so you really need a little crunch. I’ve used Turkish pul biber as a garnish but if you can’t get your hands on these sun dried pepper flakes, just use a little paprika or simply go without.
Preheat the oven to 200°C.
Tumble the pumpkin, onion and garlic onto a baking tray and toss over the olive oil and baharat. Mix well and bake for 10-15 minutes.
Bring some salted water or stock to the boil and add the couscous. Allow to simmer for 8 minutes then drain well and allow to cool.
In a large mixing bowl combine the couscous, capsicum, chickpeas, roasted onion and pumpkin, chopped parsley and pomegranate arils. Mix well.
For the dressing combine all of the ingredients then pour over the couscous. Mix gently and garnish with the seeds and pul biber.