Spiced Israeli Couscous Salad with Eggplant, Yoghurt and Harissa

, from Issue #58. December, 2015
Photography by Manja Wachsmuth.
Spiced Israeli Couscous Salad with Eggplant, Yoghurt and Harissa

A delicious Mediterranean salad cooked with an aromatic mix of spices and finished with creamy roasted eggplant, cooling yogurt and spicy harissa.

Serves: 6


1 large eggplant, cut into 10 short, thick wedges
olive oil
sea salt and freshly ground pepper

3 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, sliced thinly 
1 cup Israeli couscous
½ teaspoon each ground turmeric, allspice and cinnamon
½ teaspoon smoked paprika
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2½ cups chicken or vegetable stock or water
1 crisp apple, diced
5 dates, pitted and chopped roughly 

To serve
large handful coriander, chopped roughly
thick plain yoghurt
harissa, optional
1 lemon, quartered


Preheat the oven to 180°C.

Place the eggplant on a baking tray and brush with oil then season.

Roast for 20-30 minutes until golden and tender but not falling apart. Cool.

Couscous: Heat the oil in a medium saucepan and cook the onion with a good pinch of salt for 5 minutes. Add the couscous and cook for 10 minutes, stirring frequently until toasted and golden. Don't let it catch and burn.

Add all the spices and garlic and cook for 10 seconds. 

Stir in the stock and bring to the boil. Cover then reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and leave covered for 20 minutes to finish the cooking process. 

Uncover and stir in the apple and dates. Leave to cool completely – any remaining liquid will be absorbed by the couscous. 

To serve: Stir the coriander into the couscous then transfer to a large platter.

Top with the eggplant and spoon over dollops of yoghurt then harissa. 

Squeeze the lemons over everything and drizzle with olive oil.

Pantry note:Harissa (pronounced hah-RITH-ah) is a fiery hot sauce from North Africa, made from chilli, garlic, cumin, coriander and caraway. Available from good food stores. 

Cook's tip: Farro and Freekeh can be used in place of the couscous. Cooking times will vary with each grain.