Roasted Vegetable Couscous with Halloumi

A super simple, gorgeously light yet filling vegetarian dish that should satisfy even the biggest of appetites.

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This gorgeously light, yet filling vegetarian dish is taken up a notch by the addition of golden halloumi.

Roasted Vegetable Couscous with Halloumi - This gorgeously light, yet filling dish is the perfect addition to your vegetarian recipe repertoire. | thehecticcook.com

 

Why hello there. I realise it’s been a while. And that I’m not particularly consistent. Sorry about that. So I could jabber on for a few paragraphs about where life is at the moment (it’s hectic), what I’m up to (not a lot), or what pride-inducing antics my kids are up to (it’s hard to describe the full stabbing-oneself-in-the-eye-with-a-spoon-agony delight of the girls’ putting on their own dancing displays, showing varying degrees of expressive choreography – think Worzel Gummage being electrocuted). But if you’re like me, you’re going to skip to the recipe anyway, to see if it’s actually something you’d want to cook (basically, does it have a gazillion ingredients and require a water bath?). So I’ll keep this simple for you.

The original recipe comes from BBC Good Food, and to be perfectly honest, I’ve not done a great deal to it. Basically I’ve added halloumi. Because, why not?? Halloumi, like bacon and chorizo, can take any dish to a different level. Period. This is a gorgeously light, yet filling dish that should satisfy most appetites (ok, perhaps not the ardent meat eaters out there, I’m not delusional), and is the perfect addition to your vegetarian recipe repertoire.

Roasted Vegetable Couscous with Halloumi - This gorgeously light, yet filling dish is the perfect addition to your vegetarian recipe repertoire. | thehecticcook.com

Ingredients

3 red peppers, deseeded and sliced
150g mushrooms, halved or quartered depending on size
2 courgettes, cut into thick sticks
2 garlic cloves, peeled and bruised (ie flattened with the side of a knife)
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp sugar
12 cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 tsp chilli flakes
200g couscous
400g can of chickpeas, drained
200-250ml vegetable stock
50g mascarpone or soft cheese
1 block (∼225g) halloumi, cubed

1. Heat your oven to 180°C (fan) and prepare the veg. Note here, you want the courgettes in nice thick batons so that they hold most of their shape on roasting.

Roasted Vegetable Couscous with Halloumi | thehecticcook.com

 

2. Put the peppers and courgette in a roasting tray with the garlic, oil, sugar and some seasoning (don’t be stingy). Chuck this in the oven for 20 minutes, then add the mushrooms, tomatoes and chilli, give a stir around, and roast for another 20 minutes.

Roasted Vegetable Couscous with Halloumi - This gorgeously light, yet filling dish is the perfect addition to your vegetarian recipe repertoire | thehecticcook.com

Note, you can use just one big roasting tray for this dish as you aren’t looking for the veg to crisp, so don’t worry if the tray seems a bit overcrowded. You want them softened and squidgy, releasing their lovely juices.

3. Make up the vegetable stock (it needs to be just made so that it is hot enough to cook the couscous). You can use just boiling water here instead, but I feel the couscous needs the additional flavour of the stock. Stir together in a bowl the couscous and the chickpeas, then pour over the stock until the couscous is just covered.  Clingfilm the bowl and leave it to stand for at least 10 minutes (if it stands for longer, it doesn’t matter).

Roasted Vegetable Couscous with Halloumi - This gorgeously light, yet filling dish is the perfect addition to your vegetarian recipe repertoire | thehecticcook.com

Once cooked, fluff the couscous with a fork, adding a little more stock if you think it needs it (although it probably won’t).

4. Whilst the veg is still in the oven (after the addition of the mushrooms etc), start to cook the halloumi. Heat a large frying pan over a medium high heat, and spread the cheese out, making sure each piece is nicely spaced. You don’t need oil.

Roasted Vegetable Couscous with Halloumi | thehecticcook.com

The halloumi will release some water, then once the pan has dried out start turning the cheese to get it golden all over.

5. Remove the veg from the oven and stir through the mascarpone (or soft cheese). Divide the couscous between 4 plates and then top it with the roasted veg and some halloumi.

Roasted Vegetable Couscous with Halloumi - This gorgeously light, yet filling dish is the perfect addition to your vegetarian recipe repertoire. | thehecticcook.com

 

This is such a simple and quick dish. You can have it on the table in 30 minutes; unless you cook like me, I’m incapable of getting a meal out in that kind of time, I’m not sure the checking of Instagram every 3 minutes helps…

If you’re looking for a vegetarian dish to try, give this a go, I promise you won’t be disappointed.

Roasted Vegetable Couscous with Halloumi - This gorgeously light, yet filling dish is the perfect addition to your vegetarian recipe repertoire. | thehecticcook.com

Happy cooking!

 

If you’d like to try more vegetarian meals then give my Filling Lentil Curry a try.

Filling Lentil Curry - A really substantial and filling vegetarian curry that is simple to make and won't disappoint | thehecticcook.com

Spaghetti Carbonara (A Lighter Version)

So the weekend has been and gone. We had friends staying with us, so there was a certain amount of ‘entertaining’ – read into that, lots of food, and equally lots of drink. In fact we did very little this weekend apart from eat and drink! A couple of meals I’ll blog later this week, including a very yummy pudding.

I’m getting very used to photographing everything I cook. I’ll be taking photos of my breakfast next, just out of habit. I’ve been doing a lot of reading up on how to photograph food, how to make it look more appetising, hoping it might help. I’ve advanced from my phone to the Husband’s fancy schmancy DSLR. He put it on a setting, told me I could make the backgrounds ‘fuzzy’ by twiddling a knob (ooh er), and let me go. Hopefully my photos have improved at least a smidge? I will add that the Husband is being very patient, considering he is having to wait some time to get his meals at the minute, some of which are a tad cooler than they would have been, had I not spent at least 5 minutes trying to get the ‘perfect’ shot. I’m telling him it’ll all be worth it when I’m making millions from the recipe books and tv deals :D.

So this carbonara is a major fixture in the HC house. It’s one of the few meals I know we can sit down to as a family, and everyone will eat. Clear plates all round. It’s a winner. It’s actually a Slimming World recipe I found years ago, thus it’s pretty low fat into the bargain. And it’s (honestly!) really quick and simple. You can make it with as little as four ingredients – I used six as I love mushrooms and the kids love peas.

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Ingredients

360g spaghetti
4-5 rashers of smoked back bacon, diced (fat removed if you like)
60g parmesan, grated
3-5 eggs, depending on size
frozen peas
mushrooms, sliced

Note: For pasta, I tend to use 50g per child, and 80g per adult. I find with this amount of spaghetti, the quantities above work for us. However, the bacon, cheese and veg (if using) are all flexible. Use as much or as little as you wish. I used 5 eggs as they were small, but for bigger eggs you’d get away with fewer (i.e. 3 large, 4 medium).

1. Boil the spaghetti in a large pan of salted water until it’s as soft as you like it. Right before you go to sieve/drain it, add the frozen peas (this stops them from overcooking and keeps them lovely and fresh).

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2. Whilst the pasta is cooking, break the eggs into a bowl/jug and whisk until mixed. Add the cheese and season as desired (I tend to only add a bit of pepper here as the bacon is pretty salty already).

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3. Add a little oil to a wok/large pan and fry the bacon – I tend to use a wok as it holds everything once you’ve added in the spaghetti.

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4. Add the mushrooms if using and fry until cooked/soft.

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5. Once both the pasta and bacon/mushrooms are cooked, turn the heat off completely (both pans), sieve the pasta (with peas), and add it to your bacon. On top of that, chuck on the egg/cheese mix.

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6. Stir this into the pasta, getting it all good and covered. This can be easier with a couple of forks. The egg mixture will cook, simply from the heat of the pasta.

Note: if you’re using an issue military cooker, remove the wok/pan completely from the ring you were using, as it’ll still be hotter than the sun and might scramble the egg.

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If you’re a creamy carbonara lover, this may not be quite to your taste (although I guess you could throw some cream into the egg/cheese mixture before you chuck it on the pasta). But if you’re after a lighter version, one that is lovely and cheesy, but not blatantly trying to clog your arteries, then this could be for you.

I’m sold, mainly because my kids devour it and look for more. That’s good enough for me.

Happy cooking!

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