This easy roast vegetable couscous recipe will be your new go-to when you want a quick, tasty and healthy dish that works well as either a side or a main dish. Serve hot or cold, and make extra for meal prep and packed lunches.
This post was originally written in 2014 and has been updated in 2020 with shiny new photos.
Before we go anywhere in this post, let’s talk about the holy grail of cooking with couscous:
Couscous. Has. No. Flavour.
It is the dullest little carb if left to its own devices. However, my friend, you hold the power to transform it into something that becomes not only edible, but a delight that the whole family will enjoy. I promise.
So please don’t hold its blandness against it. Instead use it to your advantage and learn how to pack it with so much flavour that it will become a cheap and healthy kitchen staple.
Whilst there must be a gazillion flavour combos you could infuse this little dull little carb with (think herbs, spices, sauces and any other form of flavour you can imagine) I’m going to show you the easiest and quickest of all.
This is the recipe I use when I’m camping and need food on the table pronto. When washing up is more hassle than just a daily chore, and being outdoors makes me even more ravenous than usual.
Are you ready?
Here’s my dirty little couscous secret:
Yep. Stock cubes. Don’t judge too harshly until you’ve tasted the result, OK?
Now you can get all fancy and organic, or keep it all budget and own brand.
You can vegan it up, make it meaty or, if you’re doubling the recipe to feed more folk or for meal prep, mix the stock cube flavours together.
Low sodium stock cubes might be necessary if you have to limit the salt in your diet. But otherwise, let rip on the flavour profile you fancy.
In case you’re wondering, my favourite stock cubes to use with couscous are ham, or roast onion. It mostly depends who I’m feeding as to which one I plump for.
How to Roast the Perfect Veggies
First, preheat your oven, with your roasting tin inside. Then, when you’re ready to cook, pull the tray out, add the oil and veggies and toss them round in the oil as it melts/heats.
You can season the vegetables at this point too if you fancy.
I used black pepper and sea salt but you could season however you fancy.
Fajita spice anyone?!
I tossed them around the pan again at about half time, just so that they would cook evenly.
Next, let’s do an audit of all the veggies your fridge. Nothing is out of bounds here. Drag them all out and work out what needs to be used up, and let’s work with them first.
- Root veggies: will obviously take longer to cook than say peppers or onions, so chop them small and give them a 10-15 minute head start before adding in the other veggies.
- Softer veggies: Things like courgette/zucchini, tomatoes, peppers, corn, broccoli, leeks etc will take the 20 minutes of cooking time in the recipe below.
- Green leafy veg: Spinach, chard, kale, rocket/arugula etc can all be chopped up and added to the roasting tray.
- Herbs: Tough or woody herbs like rosemary and thyme can be added to the tray for the full cooking time. I had some fresh coriander (cilantro) that needed using up and as that’s a delicate herb I sprinkled it on as I was serving.
- Finally, if the tray is looking a little sparse, take a peek in your freezer. I pulled out some edamame beans which I defrosted in a sieve under the hot tap, then drained on a clean kitchen cloth. Why not add in peas, sweetcorn, or whatever other frosty veggies you find. (I defrosted them before adding them to the pan so they wouldn’t make my roast veggies watery).
How to Make the Perfect Couscous (that isn’t bland!)
OK, remember our bland little couscous sponge? Here’s my low down on making it shine:
- Boil the kettle. Pour 150ml of boiling water into a bowl or saucepan.
- Add about 2 tablespoons of butter, and your stock cube of choice.
- Pour in 100g of couscous. Stir, pop on the lid and leave for 5 minutes to work its magic.
- Remove the lid, and fluff your couscous with a fork.
- Serve or leave to cool if you’re meal prepping for future meals.
Roast Vegetable Couscous
As promised, here’s the recipe as I made it. But don’t forget that this is just a list of the vegetables that I used. Pimp the recipe to use what you have, what you fancy and what your family loves.
PS if you love Pinterest as much as me, check out this Pinterest board for some serious packed lunch inspiration!
- 1 tbsp oil
- 1 red pepper chopped
- 1 yellow pepper chopped
- 1 red onion chopped
- 240 g radishes quartered
- 4 tbsp edamame beans
- salt & pepper
- 1 stock cube crumbled
- 1 tbsp butter
- 150 ml boiling water
- 100 g couscous
- Fresh coriander to sprinkle over finished salad
Preheat the oven to 200C/180 fan/350F with the roasting tin inside.
When the oven is at temperature, remove the tray and add the oil. Throw in the chopped vegetables, stirring them round to coat in the oil.
Return the tray to the oven and cook for 20 minutes, tossing the veggies partway through the cooking time.
Pour the boiling water straight from the kettle into a pan or heatproof bowl.
Add in the crumbled stock cube and butter, followed by the couscous. Stir well and pop on the lid. Leave for 5 minutes.
When the couscous is ready, fluff with a fork (don't stir with a spoon as it'll go claggy) and stir through the roasted vegetables.
Sprinkle with coriander/cilantro if using and serve hot, or leave somewhere to cool before storing in the fridge for a later meal or packed lunch.