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Butternut-Squash Couscous

The word couscous refers to both the tiny semolina pearls themselves and to the dish of couscous topped with a hearty stew, just as other types of pasta are pasta whether dressed with a sauce or not. Here, butternut squash substitutes for the pumpkin more commonly found in North Africa.

slideshow Satisfying Vegetarian Recipes

  • Servings: 4

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  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1/8 teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 cup canned diced tomatoes with their juice (from one 15-ounce can)
  • 1 butternut squash (about 2 pounds), peeled, halved lengthwise, seeded, and cut into 3/4-inch dice
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 3 cups canned low-sodium chicken broth or homemade stock
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 2 cups drained and rinsed canned chickpeas (one 19-ounce can)
  • 3/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 1/2 cups couscous


  1. In a small frying pan toast the almonds over moderately low heat, stirring frequently, until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Or, toast them in a 350° oven for 5 to 10 minutes.
  2. In a Dutch oven, heat the oil over moderately low heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, cayenne, nutmeg, and cinnamon and cook, stirring, until fragrant, 1 minute longer. Stir in the tomatoes, squash, raisins, broth, and 1 teaspoon of the salt and bring to a simmer. Stir in the chickpeas and cook, covered, for 10 minutes. Uncover and simmer until the squash is tender, about 10 minutes more. Stir in the parsley.
  3. Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, bring the water and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt to a boil. Stir in the couscous. Cover, remove from the heat, and let stand for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork. Serve the stew over the couscous and top with the toasted almonds.

Suggested Pairing

For the best effect, look for a soft, fruity red wine to contrast with the spicy flavors of the couscous. The plummy flavor and supple texture of a rich California Merlot will make a terrific match.

Photo © Melanie Acevedo

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