Israeli Couscous, Spiced Lamb and Veggie Bowl with Tahini Yogurt

Israeli Couscous Bowl

Israeli Couscous BowlShaved Root Veggies 7 Shaved Root Veggies 2 Shaved Root Veggies 3 Shaved Root Veggies 4 Shaved Root Veggies 10 Shaved Root Veggies 11

My current cookbook collection runs the gamut of sweet and savory styles covering a variety of cuisines and topics from the 99 cent Food Editor’s Favorites: Cookies! thrift store steal to the hefty classic, Essential Pepin. I try to rotate the books between my kitchen and living room bookshelves to keep the inspiration fresh, but there are certain books that I just can’t keep off the kitchen counter. These books (Momofuku Milk Bar, The Joy of Cooking) are the teacher’s pets — like the kids in the front row, greeting you eagerly with answers — that I reference on the fly, time after time, even if I’m following some unrelated recipe.

When I borrowed stole Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi’s Jerusalem from my neighbor friend Drew, I never suspected it’d assume a spot on the counter on top of The Joy of Cooking, where it’s been living for the past few weeks. Jerusalem is a stunning book. The recipes are unfussy and refreshing. Vegetables are celebrated and dressed up with sumac and za’atar. Lamb, eggplant and eggs appear often in the deeply hued photos scattering the pages and I’m convinced Ottolenghi and Tamimi were the forerunners of the #putaneggonit trend. I’ve been sprinkling toasted sesame seeds on my salads and drizzling tahini on my sweet potatoes and I’m just wondering if I might get addicted to sesame seeds? I’m curious about tahini cookies… but for now, check out these Jerusalem-inspired bowls.

These bowls are perfect for dinner and then reheated for lunch. They’re easy because you can use what you’ve got on hand — spinach or kale, some kind of root veggie like butternut squash or sweet potato (or both!), couscous or quinoa… really whatever floats your boat. When in doubt, #putaneggonit.

Israeli Couscous Bowl 2

Israeli Couscous, Spiced Lamb and Veggie Bowl with Tahini Yogurt Recipe

Makes 4 bowls 

Ingredients

Lamb
1 lb ground lamb
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp za’atar
2 garlic cloves, minced
8 oz sliced baby bella mushrooms
pinch of salt and pepper

Veggies
1 medium butternut squash, peeled and ribboned or diced
1 sweet potato, peeled and ribboned or diced
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp za’atar
pinch of salt and pepper

Yogurt Tahini Sauce
1/2 cup greek yogurt
1.5 tbsp tahini
2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tbsp water

Couscous
8 oz Israeli couscous
2 tbsp olive oil
1 3/4 cup water or chicken broth

Bowls
10 oz baby spinach or chopped kale
fresh cilantro
4 tsp harissa

Instructions
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Wash, peel and cut all the veggies. 

Lamb
Heat the olive oil in a large skillet. Add the lamb, season with salt and za’atar and cook over moderately high heat for 8 minutes, breaking up the meat. Add mushrooms and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms are tender about 5-6 more minutes. Remove from heat and drain excess liquid.

Veggies
In a large bowl, add veggies, onion and garlic and toss with olive oil until coated. Add za’atar, salt and pepper and mix evenly.

Distribute veggies onto a sheet pan covered with parchment or silpat. Roast 20-25 minutes or until golden brown, stirring the veggies and turning the pan halfway through.

Yogurt Tahini Sauce
Stir all ingredients together in medium bowl. (I like it better chilled.)

Couscous
Heat the olive oil in 2 quart saucepan over medium heat. Add the couscous and saute, stirring constantly, about 2-3 minutes. Add water or broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for about 10 minutes.

Bowls
Add spinach or kale, couscous, ground lamb and mushrooms, and root veggies to each bowl. Top with a scoop of harissa, yogurt tahini sauce, cilantro and za’atar. Enjoy!

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