I spotted this recipe at the Williams-Sonoma site and it seemed like a tasty way to cook couscous for my family. The original recipe includes chopped mint and feta cheese, which I omitted. Feta cheese and mint are not kid friendly, and also… I didn’t have any. I also substituted butternut squash for acorn squash.
According to the recipe, you should roast the squash for 1 hour, which I did. If you want to try this method, go ahead and do it. My friend Edith who also tried this recipe, really likes the taste of roasted squash, but my husband and I prefer cooking it in water. It is not only faster, but the result is a more tender and buttery texture, I find that roasting it makes it too dry for my taste. Next time, I will half cook it in water first, then rub it with oil and spices and let it roast until it is tender. Maybe that way I can get the best of the two methods?
The most important thing I learned from this recipe is that you can peel a butternut squash with a potato peeler! I never really thought about how I would go about peeling one of these babies, but a peeler certainly didn’t come to mind. I looked it up, tried it out and I can confirm that Yes! it works!
Couscous with Toasted Almonds & Butternut Squash
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma
¾ cup almonds
1 Tbs. chopped fresh sage
2 tsp. salt, plus more, to taste
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. freshly ground pepper
1 butternut squash, peeled and sliced
1 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for
2 cups couscous
cilantro, for garnish
- Preheat an oven to 350°F.
- Place the almonds in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake, stirring once or twice, until fragrant and lightly toasted, 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer to a plate and let cool. Leave the oven on.
- In a small bowl, combine the sage, 1 tsp. of the salt, the cinnamon, chili powder and pepper and stir well.
- Peel the butternut squash. Cut lengthwise and slice into slices about 1 inch thick and discard the seeds. Rub the cut sides with the 1 Tbs. olive oil. Arrange the rings on a baking sheet and rub both sides with the sage mixture. Roast until lightly browned and easily pierced with a knife, about 1 hour. Cut each slice into cubes.
- Cook couscous according to the package’s instructions.
- Transfer the couscous to a warmed platter. Drizzle with a little olive oil and gently fluff, separating the grains with a fork. Season with the remaining 1 tsp. salt, then taste and adjust the seasonings.
- To serve, sprinkle the couscous with almonds. Turn gently to distribute the ingredients and then fold in the squash. Garnish with cilantro and serve warm or at room temperature.
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