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Day 114: Moroccan Braised Carrots, Squash & Chick Peas over Couscous

I can feel the beta carotene coursing through my veins. I think my eyesight is improving. Is that a gnat on the window in the next room?

As I may have mentioned a few days ago, I’ve been working on an article for City Palate on the subject of carrots. Not the most inspiring ingredient, but it’s always interesting what I come up with when faced with a deadline! It’s a timely assignment, actually; as of late my house has been littered with wilting carrots, their tips chewed off in gleeful homage to Bugs Bunny. W can’t say his own name, but is able to clearly enunciate “eeeeh… what’s up Doc?” At least he has his priorities straight. (An interesting tidbit: Bugs Bunny’s blasé carrot-munching demeanor was inspired by a scene from the movie It Happened One Night, in which Clark Gable leans nonchalantly against a fence, eating carrots while talking to Claudette Colbert.)

And here’s something else you should know: although carrots seem relatively low-maintenance, it’s important to note that fruit (apples in particular) should not be stored alongside carrots; fruit expels ethylene gases that are easily absorbed by carrots, making them bitter.

If you’ve never tried couscous (not a grain, but teeny bits of pasta) before, come on, it’s the most amicable starchy dish out there. So much easier to make than rice. You pour boiling water over it in a bowl (1 1/4 cups water to 1 cup couscous), lid it with a plate and leave it for 10 minutes. You get extra points for buying the whole wheat stuff, which (unlike other pastas) tastes exactly like regular couscous.


Moroccan Braised Carrots, Squash & Chick Peas with Couscous

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April 23, 2008

  • Makes: Serves 6-8.


a drizzle of canola or olive oil

1 onion, chopped

3 garlic cloves, crushed

1 Tbsp. grated fresh ginger

2 tsp. sweet paprika

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

1/2 tsp. ground cumin

1/2 tsp. turmeric

1/8-1/4 tsp. dried chili flakes

1 19 oz. (540 mL) can diced tomatoes, undrained

2 Tbsp. lemon juice

1 small butternut squash, peeled and cubed

3-4 carrots, peeled or scrubbed and sliced ½” thick

1 19 oz. (540 mL) can chick peas, rinsed and drained

1/3 cup golden raisins

plain yogurt, for serving with (optional)

1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro or mint, or toasted sliced almonds to sprinkle overtop (optional)

1 cup couscous (plain or whole wheat)


1In a large saucepan, heat oil over medium-high heat. Sauté the onion for about 5 minutes, until soft. Add garlic and ginger and cook for another minute. Add the paprika, salt, pepper, cumin, turmeric and chile flakes and cook for another minute.

2Add the tomatoes and then a full can of water (use the tomato can), the lemon juice, squash, carrots and chick peas. Bring to a simmer, reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer for about 30 minutes, until the vegetables are tender.

3Stir in the raisins, taste and season with salt and pepper. At this point you can cool it completely and refrigerate for a day or two, to allow the flavors to meld; rewarm on the stovetop or in the microwave. To make the couscous, put it in a bowl and pour 1 1/4 cups boiling water overtop; cover with a plate and let sit for 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork.

4Serve hot over couscous (or rice or quinoa), topped with a dollop of yogurt and a sprinkle of chopped cilantro or toasted almonds.




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6 comments on “Day 114: Moroccan Braised Carrots, Squash & Chick Peas over Couscous

  1. Dana
    April 24, 2008 at 5:40 am


    Your post reminds me of a question that has been lurking in the back of my mind for the last 8 years (that’s how long my son has been in school BTW). How long does it take for fruit gases to act on carrots? Can the time between packing a school lunch and it being consumed be long enough?

    I’ve always meant to experiment with fruit and carrots to find out but never took the time. Did you come accross any info in your research?

  2. maplesugar
    April 24, 2008 at 10:27 am

    I love carrots, and they’re a fave amongst my three kids so Thank you! I look forward to the City Palate article. My 2 cents: Lunds carrots are my personal fave, they’re somehow sweeter than the average and I appreciate that they’re organic & locally grown. Unfortunately, they’re SO popular they had to close their stall at CFM til the new crop arrives…which with all this snow could be awhile. 2nd fave are BC grown carrots that Planet Organic gets in sometimes, but I haven’t seen those in a month or so either.

    As always, thanks for the recipes :)

  3. Rose
    April 27, 2008 at 8:51 pm

    Hi Julie,

    I have made the Moroccan braised carrots,squash and chickpeas twice since you posted it. My family all loved it and it’s got to be one of the healthiest and easiest meals to make!! Will try it with the couscous (I’ve never tried it) but did it with brown rice instead.

    Thanks for all the great meal ideas…..Rose

  4. KathyG
    February 21, 2017 at 12:28 am

    Hi Julie,
    I don’t know whether you’ll see this so long after the fact, but just in case…
    DH & I made this tonight and quite enjoyed it; we’ll definitely make it again. You’re right about couscous being so easy. I can’t understand why I don’t cook it more often. Thanks for posting this.

    • Julie
      February 22, 2017 at 5:31 pm

      So glad to hear it! I know.. I keep forgetting about couscous too! :)

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