On Tu b’Shevat, Israelis celebrate their appreciation of nature by planting trees and preparing feasts that include the Seven Species—wheat, barley, grapes, figs, pomegranates, olives and dates—as if this is something that isn’t done every day in Israel! This recipe honors the seven species by using wheat, dates and pomegranates, while allowing us to honor the environment by sticking to seasonal winter produce of root vegetables.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 medium onions, cut in large chunks
- 2 medium carrots, cut in large chunks
- 2 cups butternut squash, peeled and cut in large chunks
- 2 cups beets, peeled and cut in large chunks
- 2 teaspoons sea salt
- 1 teaspoon fresh ground pepper (to taste)
- 3 teaspoons ground cinnamon, divided
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 4 cups water
- 2 cups couscous
- 2 tablespoons tahini (sesame paste)
- Juice of 2 medium oranges
- Zest of one orange
- ½ cup chopped dates
- Seeds of 1 medium pomegranate
- 1/3 cup toasted pumpkin seeds
- Handful of chopped parsley for garnish
- Preheat oven to 425 (preferably on bake convection setting). In a small bowl, mix together olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt, pepper, 2 teaspoons cinnamon, coriander and cumin, In large bowl, toss vegetable each vegetable in a little of the oil-and-spice mixture. Place vegetables, separately, on baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Make sure there is plenty of space between the different types of veggies, no piling them on top of one another so that they can roast to crunchy perfection. Bake for 25 to 35 minutes until edges are golden. The onions may need to come out of the oven earlier than the other veggies, so check frequently to make sure they aren’t burning.
- Meanwhile, bring 4 cups of salted water to boil. Add couscous, stir well and remove from heat. Cover pot tightly and let sit for 12 minutes. Varieties of couscous have different cooking methods and time so check the back of the package.
- While couscous is cooking, prepare the dressing. Combine the tahini, orange juice and zest and chopped dates and stir thoroughly. Pour over roasted veggies and gently incorporate dressed veggies into couscous. Top with pumpkin seeds, pomegranate seeds and parsley.