Chorizo, Pumpkin & Spinach Giant Couscous Salad

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You’d think, wouldn’t you that, for people who’ve grown their own fruit and veg for over 15 years, the thrill of harvesting home grown produce would not quite as shiny as it once was?

But you’d be wrong.

I still get excited every time Pete brings in a bowl of fresh raspberries or tomatoes from the back garden, I make him pose for pictures with many of the fruits and vegetables and I practically skip with delight when I harvest our crop myself. Pulling back the enormous leaves of a courgette or the smaller ones of strawberry plants to reach hidden fruits, gently twisting plums and apples to see if they are ripe enough to come away easily, braving scratches galore to pick juicy blackberries and gooseberries… and then grinning in wonderment at a bounty that is, quite literally, the fruits of our own labour!

When it comes to harvesting the first fruit or vegetable of a variety we’ve not grown before, I have a tendency to sing or squeal (both of which can be mistaken for each other, truth be told).

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I mean, just look at this beautiful winter squash. Doesn’t it make you joyous? It has a classic pumpkin shape and colour, but I’m not sure which variety it is… You can see that it’s actually still a little under ripe in the centre – we weren’t sure how to tell when it was ready and it could clearly have done with a little longer on the plant. But there was plenty of ripe orange flesh to enjoy.

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With all orange-fleshed winter squashes, I really like the way that roasting concentrates their sweetness. If you can’t find a fat round pumpkin, use butternut squash for this recipe, as it’s very similar in flavour.

I’m also a fan of simple salads with just a handful of ingredients and a simple dressing. The cooler weather we had in early September lead me towards a warm salad featuring giant couscous as the base. Chorizo for it’s wonderful warmth and smokiness and I love wilted baby spinach leaves for colour, texture and taste. The dressing is made using oil flavoured when frying the chorizo.

Chorizo, Pumpkin & Spinach Giant Couscous Salad

Serves 4

Ingredients:
600 grams pumpkin aka winter squash (peeled weight) or butternut squash
2 tbs olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste
150 grams giant couscous (dried weight; I used Sainsbury’s)
150 grams cooking chorizo, diced
2 tbs vegetable oil
600 grams winter squash (peeled weight)
2 tbs olive oil
100 grams baby spinach
For the dressing:
3 tbs chorizo oil (see Method)
3 tbs cider vinegar
1 tbs molasses (very dark) sugar
Optional: salt and pepper

Method

  • Preheat your oven to 180 °C (fan).
  • Peel and cube the pumpkin . Toss in the olive oil and a little salt and pepper. Roast for approximately half an hour, until soft all the way through. Exact time will depend on your pumpkin and how large you cut the pieces.
  • While the pumpkin is cooking, fry the chorizo in vegetable oil – chorizo doesn’t need oil to fry but we want to create excess chorizo-flavoured oil to use in the salad dressing. Once cooked, set the chorizo aside in a bowl and drain the oil into a separate bowl or jam jar.
  • While the pumpkin is cooking, cook the giant couscous according to the packet instructions. Once it’s ready, drain and set aside.
  • Make the salad dressing by combining 3 tablespoons of drained chorizo oil, the same of cider vinegar and a tablespoon of dark sugar. Shake or whisk to combine, taste and adjust balance as you prefer. Add salt and pepper if desired.
  • Once the squash is ready, remove from the oven and while still hot, stir the spinach leaves through, to wilt them.
  • Combine with the couscous, chorizo and dressing.
  • Serve warm.

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Kavey Eats received giant couscous product samples from Sainsbury’s.

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16 Comments to "Chorizo, Pumpkin & Spinach Giant Couscous Salad"

  1. Foodie Laura

    Glad to hear that it never gets old. We just got an allotment this year and I’m looking forward to plenty of our own produce next year.

    Reply
  2. kaveyeats

    I’d suggest cooking it a touch under so it’s own heat continues to cook it after draining it. Or cook fully and have a bowl of ice water ready and transfer to that to stop the cooking straight away, but that only works if you want to serve in a cold dish rather than hot.

    Reply
  3. kaveyeats

    Aaw what a shame! It reminds me of tiny pasta, can you make that sales pitch? 🙂

    Reply
  4. kellie@foodtoglow

    Lovely recipe Kavey. Such well-balanced flavours and pop fro the couscous (I love giant couscous -seems luxurious somehow). And I so agree with you about the never-ending delight to be gained from harvesting your own produce. I always have some kind of greens on the go and it is fab to go out when it is all frosty or even snowy and pick something fresh for supper. I think your squash is called an onion squash, but most winter squashes have several names, don’t they?

    Reply
  5. Katie Bryson

    Giant couscous is a fabulous vehicle for a salad… such a satisfying size and texture. Loving the flavours you’ve put together here Kavey, especially the chorizo…mmmmmmmm

    Reply
    kaveyeats

    Thank you! I love chorizo not just for flavour and colour but for creating the flavoured oil as well!

    Reply

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