These harissa roasted vegetables take minimal preparation and just a little patience as they roast for an incredibly flavor-packed dish. They work perfectly as a side, or serve with couscous or other grain for a meal in itself.
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I've mentioned before that we get regular deliveries of both meat and vegetables as we like to have both good quality meat as well as seasonal, good quality vegetables. It also encourages me to cook with things I might not otherwise get and be that bit more creative. Our meals reflect this and there are some regular favorites, some new dishes, some with meat, others without depending on what we have and feel like.
At this time of year, there are a good number of meals that involve roasted vegetables in some form or another - they are so easy to make and delicious. This harissa roasted vegetables with couscous is a great example of how you can easily add flavor without too much effort to make a delicious, hearty meatless meal.
What is harissa?
Harissa is a North African spice paste that's chili-based with a few other spices and vegetables in there as well giving it a gentle sweetness and aroma. It's delicious alongside a whole range of things like roast chicken and added into cooking.
You can buy it readymade in most good supermarkets or you can make your own (it's on my to do list - I cheated here!). It adds a great flavor to the already tasty vegetables as they roast with minimal effort - all you do is stir it through with a little oil before putting them in the oven.
Serving meat and vegetables with couscous is very common in Moroccan and Tunisian cooking, where harissa originates. The couscous is great at taking on the flavors of the rest of your dish, such as sauces and juices from the stews you often serve with it.
While these vegetables are on the drier side, couscous still pairs really well to make them into a meal, though I recommend a herby yogurt to bring it all together.
Ways to adapt this dish
The vegetables here are by no means fixed. They are really easy to change to what you have and what you prefer. Things like squash, cauliflower and zucchini would all be good options to add/swap in.
I recommend at least adding some onion, as it caramelizes really nicely to give a good base, and a mix of root vegetables and others is good, too. But really, it's completely up to you.
While I've suggested a yogurt sauce and couscous to serve, these are also optional. You don't really need them if you serve these as a side dish, for example.
You also may prefer to add some more harissa, tahini sauce or other simple dressings. A lot depends on your taste and if you want to build up the spice, or balance it out. It's flexible and adaptable, so experiment away.
These harissa roasted vegetables is a great minimal-effort dish that's hearty and full of flavor. It's perfect on a cold night to warm you and fill you up, with the tasty roast vegetables given that bit of spice, though it would be great any time. Sometimes the best meals are the easiest, and a bonus when they are healthy too.
Looking for more vegetarian meals? Try these:
- Mushroom galette
- Cuban quinoa bowl with grilled sweet potato and mango-avocado salsa
- Vegetarian bibimbap
- Vegetarian Thai red curry
Plus get more inspiration in the vegetarian recipes archives.
- 1 sweet potato
- 1 carrot or 1 ½-2 if small
- ½ onion suggest sweet onion or red onion
- ½ red pepper
- 1 small eggplant aubergine, or ½ larger
- 1 tablespoon harissa
- 1 ½ tablespoon olive oil divided
To serve (optional)
- ½ cup couscous
- 1 tablespoon cilantro coriander, chopped
- 1 tablespoon parsley chopped
- 3 tablespoon plain yogurt
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice or a little more to taste
- ½ teaspoon olive oil
- 1 pinch salt
- 1 pinch black pepper
- Preheat the oven to 400F/200C.
- Peel the sweet potato and carrot and cut each into roughly bite-sized chunks. Peel the onion and cut into wedges. Remove seeds and stem from the pepper and dice (roughly 1in/2.5cm pieces).
- Chop the stem end off the eggplant/aubergine and cut into wedges - you want the pieces bigger than the root vegetables as they will shrink down more but still not huge. Place all of the vegetables on a baking sheet/tray.
- Mix together the harissa and 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and stir to form a smooth paste. Drizzle it over the vegetables then toss them so they are well coated with the spiced oil. Spread the vegetables out so they lie in a single layer - this will help them roast rather than steam as they cook. Drizzle the remaining oil over the vegetables, especially on the eggplant as they can dry more as they cook, or any pieces that look less coated with oil.
- Place the baking sheet in the oven and roast for around 40 minutes in total until the vegetables are tender starting to brown slightly. Turn the vegetables roughly halfway through cooking.
- As the vegetables are nearing being done, prepare the sides, if adding. Put the couscous in a heatproof bowl and pour boiling water over it to just cover it. Leave for a couple minutes, ideally covered, to absorb the water then fluff up with a fork.
- Finley chop the cilantro/coriander and parsley and add them to the yogurt, along with the lemon juice, oil and a little salt and pepper, and mix well.
- Serve the vegetables over the couscous with the herby yogurt sauce to the side or drizzled over.
See some of my favorite cooking tools and ingredients in the Caroline's Cooking Amazon store.
Try some other vegetarian mains:
- Butternut Squash Kale Lasagna by Grumpy’s Honeybunch
- Butternut Squash Portobello Tacos with Garlic Sage Cream Sauce by Daily Dish Recipes
- Eggplant Rollatini by That Skinny Chick Can Bake
- Greek Stuffed Baked Zucchini by The Weekend Gourmet
- Moroccan-style Lentil Chickpea Stew by Food Lust People Love
- Mushroom and Goat Cheese Tart by A Kitchen Hoor’s Adventures
- Portobello Stack by The Freshman Cook
- Stuffed Butternut Squash by Life Tastes Good
- Vegetable Strudel by Palatable Pastime