5 Minute Listening: A healthy family feast

  • Today, Chef Gretchen offers an absolutely delicious dish: roasted eggplant and couscous salad that can be served as a vegetarian main course or as a side with roast chicken
  • Listening to the audio and compete the exercise
Doris Wai |

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Click here for the listening audio

Cedric: Summer is slowly fading into early autumn and before you know it, plump tomatoes, sweet corn and fresh berries will give way to root vegetables and fruits like apples and pears. But there’s still time to enjoy one of the late-summer season’s most versatile offerings: eggplant.

Chef Gretchen: That’s right! Eggplant can be added to a stir-fry, stuffed like courgettes with meat and cheese, or roasted and mashed with lemon and garlic into a dip.

Cedric: It is also a wonderful low-calorie and high-fiber addition to a grain or pasta salad. So, Chef Gretchen, what are you making today?

Chef Gretchen: Today’s dish is an absolutely delicious roasted eggplant and couscous salad that’s perfect for a family of four. It can be served as a vegetarian main course or as a side with roasted chicken.

Cedric: Brilliant! And what type of eggplant have we got here?

Chef Gretchen: I am using the fairy eggplant, which is a petite variety with pale purple and white stripes that is especially velvety when cooked. This recipe works for any kind of eggplant, though baby varieties tend to have more of a tender flesh and will roast up creamier.

For this recipe, these baby eggplants are cubed and roasted along with sweet onion, and then tossed with pearl couscous, a type of roasted pasta shaped like rice, in a lemon-garlic tahini dressing.

Cedric: That sounds like a healthy feast!

Chef Gretchen: I’m sure you’ll love it! To start, I’m going to heat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius. Meanwhile, I’ll start preparing the eggplants by trimming their ends, before slicing in half lengthwise, then cutting into half-moons. Next, place them in a bowl and toss with olive oil. Add sliced onion, toss to combine and sprinkle with za’atar seasoning. Then mix the ingredients well before putting them in the oven. Cedric, can you lend me a hand?

Cedric: Sure, Chef Gretchen. How long should they be in the oven?

Chef Gretchen: 15 to 20 minutes, until the eggplant is tender and onion is golden. We can make the couscous while the veggies are roasting. I’m heating the broth, butter or oil, garlic, salt and paprika in a small saucepan.

Cedric: The aroma of the caramalised onions and roasted eggplant is making my mouth water!  

Chef Gretchen: You bet! We’re almost done. Now, stir in couscous, and bring it to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer uncovered until the couscous is tender, about 10 minutes. Drain the couscous through a fine-mesh strainer to remove any excess cooking liquid. Stir in chopped herbs and set aside.

Cedric: The herbs bring an extra element of freshness to the dish.

Chef Gretchen: Exactly. And for the final touch, a tahini dressing. To make the dressing, mix all the ingredients with 2 tablespoons water in a small bowl until smooth. If it’s too thick, add more water as needed to make a semi-thick dressing. Now, transfer the cooked vegetables to a large serving bowl. Add herbed couscous, tomatoes, feta and several tablespoons of the tahini dressing. As you can see, I’ve used almost all of the dressing. Toss gently to mix and serve garnished with more chopped herbs and lemon slices.

Cedric: Wow! This looks amazing, I can’t wait to dig into it! Check out our website for the full printable recipe. Thanks for tuning in and we’ll see you next week!



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