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  • Recipe Room  »  Spiced wholewheat couscous with sweet potato and pistachios



    • 3 small sweet potatoes
    • 4 tablespoons olive oil
    • 2 tablespoons pumpkin seeds
    • 150g giant wholewheat couscous
    • 500ml light vegetable stock or water
    • handful of raisins, preferably organic
    • 1 rounded teaspoon za’tar
    • 50g unshelled, unsalted pistachios, chopped

    To serve

    • 1 lemon
    • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
    • 2 tablespoons freshly chopped coriander
    • 2 tablespoons freshly chopped flatleaf parsley
    • 1 tablespoon freshly chopped mint
    • salt and freshly ground black pepper

    Spiced wholewheat couscous with sweet potato and pistachios

    Wholewheat couscous is nuttier and that little bit more nutritious than the white, bran-free variety. It complements sweet potato perfectly and vice versa. This is a typical North African dish; za’tar is a spice mix used extensively in the region’s cookery.


    Preheat the oven to 200°C/gas mark 6.

    Scrub the sweet potatoes under cold water and cut each into 6 wedges. Tip into a roasting tin, drizzle with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, season with salt and freshly ground black pepper, and roast in the oven for about 20–25 minutes or until the sweet potato is tender and starting to caramelize at the edges. Add the pumpkin seeds to the pan for the last 5 minutes of cooking time.

    While the sweet potato is cooking prepare the couscous. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large sauté pan, add the couscous and cook gently for 2–3 minutes until starting to brown.

    Add half of the stock or water to the pan and continue to cook for about 15 minutes, stirring frequently until the couscous is tender and has absorbed the liquid. Add the remaining stock or water to the pan as and when needed.

    Add the raisins, za’tar and chopped pistachios to the pan, season with salt and freshly ground black pepper and cool slightly.

    Mix together the juice from half the lemon and the extra virgin olive oil and pour over the warm sweet potato when it comes out of the oven.

    Gently stir the freshly chopped herbs and roasted sweet potato wedges into the couscous and serve with extra lemon wedges for squeezing over.

    Meat Free Monday Cookbook by Paul, Stella and Mary McCartney, edited by Annie Rigg, published by Kyle Books, RRP $35 – click to buy.

    Tips and Tricks

    • Scrubbing well rather than peeling is a great way to get more out of root vegetables. Sweet potato, carrots and potatoes can all be eaten unpeeled if washed thoroughly – you’ll save both time and the amount you have to throw away.

    • If you have leftover lemons, store well sealed in cling wrap in your fridge for up to two days – consume as soon as possible to prevent hardening and dehydration.

    • Keep parsley in a glass of water and wrapped in a plastic bag in your fridge. Parsley should last a week or so stored in this way. Remember to change the water regularly to prevent mildew and decay.

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