couscous with vegetables
Photo credit: Emily Paster

Couscous with Seven Vegetables Recipe

A celebration of seasonal produce and the new year.

Seven is a lucky number in many religions, including Judaism. The world was created in seven days; together, the patriarchs and matriarchs add up to seven; at a Jewish wedding, there are seven blessings; and so on.

It is no wonder, then, that on Rosh Hashanah — when we try to do everything we can to ensure good luck for the coming year — there is a tradition of eating seven vegetables. Among North African Jews, especially those of Moroccan origin, Couscous with Seven Vegetables is a traditional and cherished Rosh Hashanah dish. The couscous has a special significance: The many tiny grains represent a wish for a year with countless blessings.

With many of us rethinking our Rosh Hashanah celebrations this year, it seems fitting to change up the traditional holiday fare. 

Rosh Hashanah occurs at a time of year when many vegetables are at their peak, such as squash and root vegetables, which are perfect for this dish. The vegetables in the recipe are only a suggestion — feel free to play around, just make sure you have a variety of textures and flavors.

Moroccan food is highly seasoned, but not spicy. So you will notice a wide range of spices in this dish, from paprika to cinnamon. I highly recommend seeking out the North African spice blend ras el hanout. When added at the end of cooking, ras el-hanout adds sweet, earthy and even floral notes to your dish. That’s because it is a mix of many different ingredients including pepper, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, cumin, cardamom pods, rose petals and grains of paradise. You can find ras el hanout at a good spice shop, a grocery store with a good spice selection (like Whole Foods, which does carry their own) or online.

Photo credit: Emily Paster

Note: You can make the stew (Directions 1-4) ahead of time.

Print
clock clock iconcutlery cutlery iconflag flag iconfolder folder iconinstagram instagram iconpinterest pinterest iconfacebook facebook iconprint print iconsquares squares iconheart heart iconheart solid heart solid icon
couscous with vegetables
Photo credit: Emily Paster

Couscous with Seven Vegetables

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

No reviews

A great way to incorporate seasonal produce for a weeknight dinner or for Rosh Hashanah.

  • Total Time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 6

Ingredients

  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 tomatoes, seeded and diced
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp cayenne
  • 2 red peppers, chopped
  • 2 zucchini, halved and cut into wedges
  • 23 small turnips, peeled and cut into wedges
  • 1 bunch carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1 butternut squash, peeled and cubed
  • 4 cups vegetable broth or water
  • 15 oz can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 2 tsp ras el hanout
  • 2 Tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • handful slivered almonds (optional)
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 box instant couscous (about ⅓ cup)

Instructions

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large, deep saucepan or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onions and sauté until softened, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
  2. Add the garlic and tomatoes and sauté until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the tomato paste and spices, and stir to combine. Sauté the mixture for a few additional minutes until fragrant, stirring frequently to prevent scorching.
  3. Add the red peppers, zucchini, turnips, carrots and squash, as well as the broth or water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and cover. Simmer until vegetables are tender, about 10-15 minutes.
  4. Remove cover and add chickpeas. Simmer until chickpeas are heated through and stew is thickened, another 5-10 minutes. (May be done ahead up to this point.)
  5. Meanwhile, make couscous according to package directions. Remove from heat and cover. Let stand 5 minutes. Remove cover and fluff couscous with a fork to break up any clumps.
  6. Just before serving, add the ras el hanout to the stew. Taste and adjust seasonings.
  7. To serve, spread the couscous on a platter or shallow dish with a well in the middle. Spoon the vegetable stew over the couscous. Garnish with chopped parsley and slivered almonds, if using.

Notes

You can make the stew (Directions 1-4) ahead of time.

  • Author: Emily Paster
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 35 minutes
  • Category: Entree
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Sephardi

7 comments

Leave a Comment

Recipe rating 5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

    • Shannon Sarna

      Ras el hangout is a North African spice blend. You can find it online, at Whole Foods or at a middle eastern or Indian grocery store.

    • Shannon Sarna

      Ras el hangout is a North African spice blend. You can find it online, at Whole Foods or at a middle eastern or Indian grocery store.

    • The Nosher

      Hi Vivian, most boxes of instant couscous contain around ⅓ cup dry couscous. Enjoy!

Keep on Noshing

9 Rosh Hashanah Main Dishes to Make that Aren’t Brisket

You don't have to make a big brisket for the New Year.

You Can Buy Your Entire Rosh Hashanah Dinner at Trader Joe’s

Everyone's favorite store has got all the goods you need for the New Year.

3 Sweet and Simple Cocktails for the New Year

You don't have to be a master mixologist to make these perfect drinks.