Saffron Couscous with Vegetables & Pine Nuts


Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves:


Appears in

Easy Vegan

Easy Vegan

By Sue Quinn

Published 2015

  • About

This is a wonderfully fragrant and delicious side dish or substantial main.


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ onion, chopped
  • 1 x 400 g (14 oz) tinned chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 large carrot, quartered lengthways and chopped into 1 cm (½ inch) pieces
  • ¼ butternut pumpkin (squash), peeled and cut into 1 cm (½ inch) dice
  • ½ zucchini (courgette), quartered lengthways and cut into 1 cm (½ inch) pieces
  • 700 ml (24 fl oz) vegetable stock
  • 1 generous pinch saffron threads, crushed
  • sea salt flakes
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 140 g (5 oz) couscous
  • 2 tablespoons sultanas
  • 20 g (¾ oz) pitted dates, chopped
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1–2 tablespoons pine nuts
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar


Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a pan and cook the onion until soft and golden, about 10 minutes. Add the chickpeas, carrot, pumpkin and zucchini and stir to coat in the oil. Add the stock and saffron, season with salt and pepper and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until the vegetables are just tender, 8–10 minutes. Drain the vegetables, reserving the stock, and set aside. Return the stock to the pan and keep hot.

In a bowl, cover the couscous with 375 ml (13 fl oz/ cups) of the reserved stock, cover with plastic wrap and set aside for 5–10 minutes until tender. Fluff with a fork.

In a shallow ovenproof dish, combine the couscous, cooked vegetables, sultanas, dates, cinnamon and the remaining olive oil. Taste for seasoning and add more salt if needed. Scatter the pine nuts on top, then sprinkle over the sugar. Cook under a hot grill (broiler) until the nuts are golden, about 5 minutes. Serve immediately.