Tagine of Moroccan Vegetables with Couscous

Makes 4 to 6 servings

From "May All Be Fed: Diet For a New World" by John Robbins. "When you want to impress your guests, try this impressive, colorful 'tagine,' or Moroccan stew, an exotically spiced vegetable stew spooned over a platter of steaming whole wheat couscous. The list of ingredients may seem long, but the cooking procedure is easy."

2 tbsp. olive oil

2 medium onions, sliced

1 red bell pepper, seeded and cut into 3/4-inch-wide strips

2 garlic cloves, peeled

1 tsp. turmeric

1 tsp. ground ginger

1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper

1/4 tsp. crushed saffron threads, optional

4 medium carrots, cut into 1-inch lengths

1 butternut squash (about 2 pounds), pared, seeded, and cut into 2-inch pieces

1 15-ounce can unsweetened diced tomatoes

1 cup vegetable stock, vegetable bouillon, or water

2 medium zucchini, cut into 1-inch chunks

1 cup cooked garbanzo beans (chickpeas)

1/2 cup raisins

3 cups water, or 2 cups vegetable stock or vegetable bouillon plus 1 cup water

2 tbsp. olive oil

1/2 tsp. salt

1 1/2 cups whole wheat couscous

1/2 cup coarsely chopped almonds, toasted

To make the tagine: In a large saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring often, until lightly browned, about 6 to 8 minutes. Add the bell pepper, garlic, turmeric, ginger, cinnamon, salt, cayenne, and saffron, and stir for 1 minute.

Stir in the carrots, squash, tomatoes with their juice, and vegetable stock. Bring to a simmer over high heat. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 20 to 30 minutes, until the vegetables are just tender.

Stir in the zucchini, garbanzo beans, and raisins. Cover and continue cooking until the squash is tender, about 5 to 10 minutes.

To make the couscous: Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, combine the water, oil, and salt and bring to a boil over high heat. Stir in the couscous. Immediately remove from the heat, cover, and let stand until the couscous has absorbed all the liquid, about 5 minutes.

Place the couscous on a warmed serving platter and make a well in the center. With a slotted, spoon, spoon the vegetables into the well. Pour the tagine cooking juices over the couscous, sprinkle with the almonds, and serve.