Saffron infused Couscous Vegetable Stir-fry is a light, welcoming and satisfying side or main course. A perfect homage to the farmers market loot.
Is vegetable stir-fry a no-brainer? Absolutely! The market is overflowing with the bounty of the harvest with rich flavors and mesmerizing taste. Summer and Fall are a perfect time to make it. It’s so hard not to combine them all and create your own beautiful dish.
This recipe has its origins in the Mediterranean. Funnily enough, I first had couscous only after moving to California a few years back. The first dish that I tasted it in was couscous stuffed peppers in a restaurant. It was wonderful, mixed with parsley and thyme and baked to perfection. Since then I have made it at home and at work in restaurants.
Couscous is not a grain though it is sometimes called as such, but they are actually small round semolina and is, in fact, part of the pasta family. I always keep these in the pantry for a quick meal.
The Mediterranean and Indian (My Roots) cuisine use similar spices in different ways. Saffron, cumin, ginger, fresh herbs are an essential component of both cuisines.
The vegetables used in this recipe is all California, aka my current Rambles – colored, green and red, sweet peppers, beautiful stringy yellow spaghetti squash, and refreshing orange carrots form a rainbow of colors to make this dish sing. The vinaigrette adds the touch of spice and zing to round things off. Fresh Basil is added at the end to brighten the dish further. All in all, a perfect California fusion meal!
Don’t forget to have an equally delicious Mango-Ginger Panna Cotta to end this delightful meal.
- 173 grams Couscous approx: 1 Cup
- 235 grams Water approx: 1 Cup liquid measure
- a pinch Saffron approx: 20 threads
- 1.5 grams Kosher Salt approx: 1/4 teaspoon
- 5 grams Olive Oil approx: 1 teaspoon
- 15 grams Olive oil approx: 1 Tablespoon
- 2 grams Cumin Seeds approx: 1 teaspoon
- 300 grams Spagetti Squash, desseded and cut into segments approx: 1/2 medium Spagetti squash
- 125 grams Carrot cut into batons approx: 1 medium Carrot
- 15 grams Jalapeño, desseded and chopped approx: 1 medium size
- 75 grams Red Bell Pepper approx: 1/2 medium Bell Pepper
- 75 grams Green Bell Pepper approx: 1/2 medium Bell Pepper
- 60 grams White Onion approx: 1/2 medium Onion
- 5 grams Kosher Salt approx: a little less than teaspoon
- 30 grams Red Wine Vinegar approx: 2 Tablespoons
- 45 grams Extra Virgin Olive Oil approx: 3 Tablespoons
- 15 grams Honey approx: 1 Tablespoon
- 1/2 teaspoon Chili Powder
- 1/2 teaspoon Ginger Powder
- a pinch Kosher Salt
- 20 grams Fresh Basil approx: 15 to 20 leaves
- 25 grams Almonds (Optional) approx: 1/4 Cup
Bring 235 grams of Water (1 Cup) to a boil with salt and saffron threads. Add Couscous. Stir to combine. Take off the flame, close with a lid and set aside for 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork.
Whisk to combine all the ingredients. Set aside.
In the meanwhile, in a pan on medium flame, add 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Once it is hot, add the cumin seeds to crackle.
Roast the spaghetti squash first till golden on both sides.
Add the rest of the vegetables and Jalapeño. Increase the flame to medium-high.
Pour in the vinaigrette and add salt. Stir to combine. Close with a lid and let the vegetable soften for 2 minutes.
Take off the lid and cook by stirring continuously. Cook until the vinaigrette is completely absorbed, the spaghetti squash disintegrates into golden caramelized threads and the carrots are cooked through. The appearance will be shiny and quantity reduced.
In a mixing bowl, combine cooked couscous, vegetable stir-fry, and fresh basil leaves. Garnish with almonds. Serve warm or cold.
- I have used Kosher Salt in the recipe. If you are using Table Salt, you will have to lower the quantity.
- Please adjust spice and salt quality according to your taste.