The smell of baked fennel, peppers and squash gives the summer air a warm, slightly Mediterranean feel. These vegetables are not just reserved for autumn dishes, but combined with chewy pearl couscous and mixed salad leaves, such as rocket, baby spinach, endive and watercress this recipe is a whole meal by itself rather than a mere side salad for barbecues. A little tip for meat-lovers: Why not add a few slices of Parma ham to the salad? It complements the Parmesan cheese incredibly well!
For 4 portions
- 1 fennel bulb
- 1/3 medium-sized butternut squash
- 1/2 yellow pepper
- 1/2 red pepper
- 2 garlic cloves
- Large handful cherry tomatoes
- 1/4 cucumber
- 2 large handfuls mixed salad leaves
- 1 large handful uncooked pearl couscous
- 1-2 tbsp. olive oil
- 1 tbs. balsamic vinegar
- Sea salt
- Fresh thyme
- Grated Parmesan (optional)
- Cut fennel bulb lengthwise, peel and chop the butternut squash, cut up and de-seed the peppers. Place the vegetable chunks on a baking tray lined with baking paper. Roughly chop the garlic and add to the tray along with fresh thyme (rip the leaves off the woody stems). Rub vegetable pieces with olive oil by using your hands and add a pinch of sea salt. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes or until all pieces are tender.
- In the meantime, in a small pot, cook pearl couscous according to the instructions on the box, though it should take roughly 10-12 minutes until the pearls are soft. Drain the couscous by using a sieve. Cool off the couscous under running water.
- Chop the cherry tomatoes and cucumber, then wash the mixed salad leaves and add everything to a mixing bowl.
- Let the baked vegetables cool off on the tray for 5-10 minutes, then roughly chop them and also add to the bowl as well as the cold pearl couscous.
- Add the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, a tablespoon of water and salt and pepper to taste.
- Feel free to add more fresh thyme and grated parmesan to taste.
- Keep the salad in an airtight container in the fridge if not served immediately. The salad is not suitable to be stored for long as the salad leaves will go limp quite fast due to the dressing. If you want to keep the salad for longer, mix the dressing separately and only combine with the other ingredients shortly before serving.
Author: Danica Utermohlen
Picture credits: Danica Utermohlen
Disclaimer: This recipe has been edited. It was first published on 16/07/2015 for GloTIME, http://glotime.tv/veg-it-up-baked-vegetable-and-pearl-couscous-salad/