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About this recipe: Wonderfully exotic and colourful, this vegetarian salad captures the flavours of ancient Persian cooking. Dates and sultanas are gently simmered with wine, spices and garlic, to flavour couscous, and then topped with roasted butternut and patty pan squashes, peppers and orange.
For an aubergine and pearl barley salad, use 2 aubergines instead of the butternut squash, and roast with the peppers as in the main recipe. Instead of the date and sultana couscous, put 225 g (8 oz) pearl barley in a saucepan with 1 chopped onion, 1 halved cinnamon stick and 900 ml (1½ pints) vegetable or chicken stock. Bring to the boil, then cover and simmer for 1 hour or until the barley is just tender. Drain if necessary and cool, then toss with 85 g (3 oz) toasted walnut pieces, 1 tbsp chopped fresh mint, 1 tbsp chopped parsley, the grated zest and juice of 1 lemon and 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil. Serve topped with the vegetables.
Dried dates are richer in potassium than fresh dates and contain more concentrated amounts of niacin, copper, iron and magnesium. Both dried dates and sultanas are a valuable source of soluble fibre.
A, B1, B6, C, E, folate, niacin, iron * calcium, potassium * B2, zinc