This recipe may seem like it has a lot of steps, but they are all easy and can basically be done at the same time. While the vegetables are roasting, you can make all other components of the dish so that everything is ready to go when the vegetables are done. The romesco sauce can be made ahead of time and kept in the fridge. For the Romesco Sauce, this sauce is thick like pesto but made with peppers. Many versions are thickened with leftover bread, but this one uses panko bread crumbs because they’re a pantry staple and they help create that wonderful pesto-like texture. This version is smoky and a little sweet, and it pairs well with a variety of dishes. Try it on pasta or rice. Use it as a dip for garlic bread or quesadillas or simply drizzle it over roasted vegetables.

Roasted Winter Vegetable Bowls with Couscous, Romesco Sauce, and Tahini Drizzle [Vegan]

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For the Roasted Vegetables:

  • 2 sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped into 1-inch (2.5 cm) cubes
  • 2 parsnips, peeled and chopped into 1-inch (2.5 cm) cubes
  • 8 radishes, halved or quartered if large
  • 1 red onion, halved and sliced
  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper, or to taste

For the Couscous:

  • 1 1/2 cups (355 ml) water
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • 1 cup (175 g) dry couscous

For the Spicy Toasted Pumpkin Seeds: 

  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon pure maple syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 cup (70 g) raw shelled pumpkin seeds

For the Tahini Drizzle: 

  • 1/3 cup (80 g) tahini
  • 1 tablespoon (20 g) pure maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) balsamic vinegar
  • 2–4 tablespoons (28–60 ml) water, to thin

For the Bowls:

  • 4 cups (120 g) baby spinach
  • 1 recipe Romesco Sauce (below)
  • 1 recipe Tahini Drizzle (above)

For the Romesco Sauce:

  • 1 jar (12 ounces, or 340 g) roasted red peppers, drained
  • 1 can (15 ounces, or 425 g) fired-roasted diced tomatoes, drained
  • 1/2 cup (73 g) raw almonds
  • 1/4 cup (13 g) panko bread crumbs or regular bread crumbs
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 tablespoon (7 g) smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) balsamic vinegar


For the Roasted Vegetables:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C, or gas mark 6). Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. Place all the ingredients in a large mixing bowl and toss well. Spread out onto the prepared baking sheet in one even layer. Roast for 15 minutes, stir the vegetables, and spread back out in one even layer, and then roast for 10 to 15 minutes more.

For the Couscous:

  1. Bring the water to a boil, turn off the heat, and add olive oil and salt. Pour in the couscous and let it sit for 5 to 10 minutes. When all the water is absorbed, fluff with a fork. Stirring with a spoon may create clumps; a fork is best here.

For the Spicy Toasted Pumpkin Seeds:

  1. Line a small plate with parchment paper and set aside. Heat the olive oil, maple syrup, cayenne, and garlic powder in a small skillet over medium heat, stirring gently. When you start to see it sizzling, add the pumpkin seeds. Stir frequently until the seeds are toasted, about 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer the pumpkin seeds to the prepared plate. They will continue to crisp up as they sit.

For the Tahini Drizzle:

  1. Add the tahini, maple syrup, and balsamic vinegar to a small bowl. Stir to combine. Add water 1 tablespoon (15 ml) at a time until the desired consistency is reached.

To Assemble the Bowls:

  1. Place 1 cup (30 g) of baby spinach in a bowl, top with one-quarter of the couscous, one-quarter of the roasted vegetables, a generous dollop of Romesco Sauce, 2 tablespoons (18 g) of Spicy Toasted Pumpkin Seeds, and a tablespoon or two of Tahini Drizzle.

For the Romesco Sauce:

  1. Place all the ingredients in a food processor. Process until mostly smooth. It should resemble a pesto in texture, so it won’t be totally smooth.


Tip: Make this dish gluten-free by using 1 cup (173 g) of quinoa, cooked according to package directions, in place of the couscous.


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