This gorgeously light, yet filling vegetarian dish is taken up a notch by the addition of golden halloumi.
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.
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
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
If you’d like to try more vegetarian meals then give my Filling Lentil Curry a try.