Couscous pilaf with tahini yogurt

This vegetable–rich couscous is lower in fat than most pilafs and it makes a marvellous, healthy main dish, or an excellent side dish for almost any simply cooked meat or poultry, when it will serve 8 or more. Any leftovers can be used as a delicious stuffing for chicken or other poultry.

Couscous pilaf with tahini yogurt


  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium or 2 small onions, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 small carrot, diced
  • 1 teaspoon mild chilli powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 2½ teaspoons paprika
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2½ teaspoons ground cumin
  • 4 green cardamom pods
  • 100 g orange sweet potato, chopped
  • 100 g turnip, diced
  • 1 zucchini, cut into bite–sized chunks
  • 100 g green beans
  • 1 can chopped tomatoes, about 400 g
  • 1 litre vegetable stock
  • 1 can borlotti beans, about 400 g, drained
  • 250 g cabbage, roughly chopped
  • 100 g broccoli, cut into small florets
  • 1¾ cups (325 g) couscous
  • ¼ cup (30 g) sultanas
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons tahini
  • ⅓ cup (90 g) low–fat natural yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • fresh coriander to garnish


  1. Heat the oil in a 4.
  2. 5 litre stockpot, flameproof casserole or saucepan and add the onion.
  3. Reserve the equivalent of about 1 garlic clove, then add the rest to the pan.
  4. Cook for about 3 minutes or until the onion has softened slightly.
  5. Add the carrot and cook for a further 3 minutes.
  6. Sprinkle in the chilli powder, coriander, garam masala, paprika, ginger, cinnamon and 2 teaspoons cumin (reserve the remaining cumin for the tahini yogurt).
  7. Split the cardamom pods and scrape the tiny black seeds into the pan.
  8. Stir for a few seconds, then add the sweet potato, turnip and zucchini.
  9. Cut the beans into bite–sized lengths and add to the pan.
  10. Cook the vegetables for 5 minutes or until softened slightly.
  11. Pour in the tomatoes with their juice and the stock, and stir in the borlotti beans.
  12. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 10–15 minutes.
  13. Add the cabbage and broccoli, and cook, covered, for a further 5 minutes.
  14. Reduce the heat to the lowest setting.
  15. Add the couscous and sultanas with seasoning to taste.
  16. Fork through the vegetables and stock.
  17. Cover and cook very gently for 5 minutes.
  18. The couscous should have absorbed all the liquid and plumped up.
  19. Meanwhile, make the tahini yogurt.
  20. (Stir the tahini in the jar to ensure it is smooth before measuring out the quantity for the recipe.
  21. ) Mix the tahini with the reserved garlic and the yogurt, then stir in 4 tablespoons water, the lemon juice, the reserved ½ teaspoon ground cumin and seasoning to taste.
  22. Sprinkle with coriander leaves to garnish.
  23. Serve the pilaf with the tahini yogurt offered separately.

Serves 6
Preparation: 25 minutes
Cooking: 35 minutes


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