Couscous pilaf with tahini yogurt

    1 hour

    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 or game birds.

    3 people made this

    Serves: 6 

    • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
    • 1 medium or 2 small onions, chopped
    • 4 garlic cloves, chopped
    • 1 small carrot, diced
    • 1 tsp mild chilli powder
    • 1 tsp ground coriander
    • 1 tsp garam masala
    • 2½ tsp paprika
    • ½ tsp ground ginger
    • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
    • 2½ tsp ground cumin
    • 4 green cardamom pods
    • 85 g (3 oz) sweet potato, cut into chunks
    • 85 g (3 oz) turnip, diced
    • 1 courgette, cut into bite-sized chunks
    • 75 g (2½ oz) runner or French beans
    • 1 can chopped tomatoes, about 400 g
    • 900 ml (1½ pints) vegetable stock
    • 1 can borlotti beans, about 400 g, drained
    • 250 g (9 oz) cabbage, roughly chopped
    • 85 g (3 oz) broccoli, cut into small florets
    • 340 g (12 oz) couscous
    • 3 tbsp sultanas
    • salt and pepper
    • Tahini yogurt
    • 2 tbsp tahini
    • 4 tbsp plain low-fat yogurt
    • 1 tbsp lemon juice
    • fresh coriander to garnish

    Prep:25min  ›  Cook:35min  ›  Ready in:1hr 

    1. Heat the oil in a 4.5 litre (8 pint) stockpot, flameproof casserole or saucepan and add the onion. Reserve the equivalent of about 1 garlic clove, then add the rest to the pan. Cook for about 3 minutes or until the onion has softened slightly. Add the carrot and cook for another 3 minutes.
    2. Sprinkle in the chilli powder, coriander, garam masala, paprika, ginger, cinnamon and 2 tsp cumin (reserve the remaining cumin for the tahini yogurt). Split the cardamom pods and scrape the tiny black seeds into the pan. Stir for a few seconds, then add the sweet potato, turnip and courgette. Cut the beans into bite-sized lengths and add to the pan. Cook the vegetables for 5 minutes or until softened slightly.
    3. Pour in the tomatoes with their juice and the stock, and stir in the borlotti beans. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 10–15 minutes. Add the cabbage and broccoli, and cook, covered, for a further 5 minutes.
    4. Reduce the heat to the lowest setting. Add the couscous and sultanas with seasoning to taste. Fork through the vegetables and stock. Cover and cook very gently for 5 minutes. The couscous should have absorbed all the liquid and plumped up.
    5. Meanwhile, make the tahini yogurt. (Stir the tahini in the jar to ensure it is smooth before measuring out the quantity for the recipe.) Mix the tahini with the reserved garlic and the yogurt, then stir in 4 tbsp water, the lemon juice, the reserved 1/2 tsp ground cumin and seasoning to taste. Sprinkle with coriander leaves to garnish.
    6. Serve the pilaf with the tahini yogurt offered separately.

    Some more ideas

    Use pumpkin or winter squash, such as butternut or acorn squash, instead of sweet potato, and raisins instead of sultanas. Use swede instead of turnip. * Many other beans and pulses are delicious in this pilaf, in particular canned or soaked and cooked chickpeas. * A chilli sauce, such as the Moroccan harissa, could be offered with the pilaf for those who like hot flavours.

    Plus points

    Borlotti beans are low in fat and rich in carbohydrate. They provide good amounts of B vitamins (B1, niacin and B6) and useful amounts of iron. In common with other beans and pulses, they are a good source of fibre, particularly soluble fibre, which can help to reduce high blood cholesterol levels. * Broccoli is an excellent source of beta-carotene and vitamins C and E. It also provides good amounts of the B vitamins niacin, folate and B6.

    Each serving provides

    A, B1, C, calcium, potassium * B6, E, niacin, iron

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    Reviews in English (1)


    Really enjoyed this tonight - really good as I think you could use any variety of veg. we are following a really low fat diet so I used no oil in the cooking - it was great!!! For the yogurt I did add the garlic but instead of tahini,which is very high in fat, I used a sweet chilli sauce, and added this to the yoghurt. For my taste I would use more spices but as a first time I thought it was terrific!!  -  15 Apr 2012