As one of my readers commented on Instagram, I’m really into international dishes these days. I’m so inspired by my trips to the farms that I find myself wanting to introduce all kinds of unique flavors with our everyday fruits and vegetables. This Summer Vegetable Tagine turned out beautifully and will go well on couscous, brown rice, or freekah.
In North America, we have been taught to cook our food up and then add the spices. In many countries around the world, they blend and cook their spices first and then add the food. This makes perfect sense to me and I’m going to try doing that with other dishes as well. It truly seems to bring the spices to life and I’m struggling to find the words to explain how flavorful this was …. hmmm…it’s like that first day when it’s really hot in the summer and you go out on your deck, sink into your favorite comfy chair and soak in the rays. Got the picture?
Most tagines, like the Moroccan Fruity Chicken Tagine I made last winter, take about an hour but I took a short cut that still produced that deep rich taste.
Like so many vegetarian dishes, this is very versatile and you could use potatoes instead of cauliflower if you prefer but believe it or not, I rarely have potatoes in the house! I almost never cook them but I do love them when someone else cooks them up. I realized that yesterday when I saw this amazing dish on my friend, Mila’s blog. I even asked for an invite to her house because I’m sure I could have gobbled up that whole pan!
I picked up big, beautiful field tomatoes as well as those cute little cherry tomatoes at Barrie Hill Farms last week and the little ones were perfect for this dish. In the next couple weeks, I’ll be going out to interview the owners of the farms who generously provide me with all this lovely produce so you can see the faces behind the food so stay tuned because they’re really fun folks!
Look at these beautiful peppers! I just swoon over the fresh produce and I really have to plan ahead otherwise I’d be driving away with a truckload.
If you have more time, you could roast the peppers but I wanted to stick to the quick and easy theme of the blog. Your local grocery store should have harissa paste or ground spice. Either one will be fine. Leave out the halloumi cheese for the vegan version.
This is all done on the stovetop and takes only 15 minutes to cook. If you’re serving rice with it, you might want to cook it the night before if you’re doing this on a busy weeknight. Please don’t use instant rice – seriously – I’m coming to your house to remove it from your cupboards if I catch you doing that! Long grain brown rice or basmati is perfect. Just like the rule of using fresh herbs, there’s no compromising on this one!
There is so much to learn from other countries about flavoring our food and I’m excited to see what I’ll discover next. Thanks for reading, everyone. I probably don’t say that enough. This week I had a problem with my subscription service and two readers very kindly emailed me to let me know. Thank you, Linda and Mary – I would have never known otherwise.
Have a wonderful week, everyone!
- 100g couscous
- extra virgin olive oil
- 1 red pepper, cut into strips
- 1 cup broccoli florets
- 2 cup cauliflower florets
- 1 lemon
- 1.5 cups cherry tomatoes, some halved or chop large tomatos in small chunks
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1 good tsp harissa (spicy North African chilli paste)
- 10 pitted black olives
- 1 pack halloumi, cut into 2-3cm cubes (leave out if you want a vegan dish)
- handful coriander leaves, chopped
- Put the couscous in a heatproof bowl and pour over just enough boiling water to cover.
- Add a ½ teaspoon of olive oil and leave to stand.
- Warm 2 tablespoons olive oil, the garlic, harissa and juice from half lemon in a large pan for 1 minute. Add the broccoli, cauliflower, peppers, tomatoes and olives.
- Season with salt and pepper.
- Add ½ cup vegetable broth, cover and cook on a medium heat for 10-12 minutes.
- Add the halloumi and cook for 5 minutes. Stir in the 2 teaspoons cilantro.
- Fluff up the couscous with a fork. Serve with the couscous. Garnish with more cilantro.