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This salad is all about textures, sweet strong spring flavours and a little creativity: it works beautifully!
Carrot, couscous and chickpea salad
400g carrots, peeled and cut into finger-sized sticks5 cloves garlic, lightly smashed1 tsp fennel seeds1 tsp caraway seedsgenerous pinch of chilli powder or smoked paprika 1 can (410g) chickpeas, drained and rinsed 2 cups couscous2 cups water or stock2 lemons, zest and juice1 tsp salt or to tasteGood handful of fresh parsley, coriander and fennel tips, roughly chopped
Heat oven to 190degC.
Start by roasting the carrots and garlic. Place them in a bowl with a little drizzle of oil and the dried spices, season lightly with salt and pepper and toss to combine, then spread them on a suitable baking tray or roasting dish and roast for about 10 minutes.
Add the chickpeas to the carrots and toss to combine with all the juices. Cook for a further 10-15 minutes or until carrots are tender.
While the carrots are roasting, prepare the couscous base.
Put the couscous into a frypan with no oil and heat gently over a moderate heat so the couscous toasts lightly (this adds a nutty flavour).
Once toasted, add it to a large bowl and season with a little salt, lemon zest and juice from one of the lemons. Add the water or stock. It can be either hot or cold. The main thing is that the couscous has time to absorb the liquid, which can take up to 30 minutes.
Fluff it up with a fork and set aside.
When the carrots are tender and the chickpeas are crunchy, remove from the oven.
Add the carrots and any juices to the couscous, add the herbs and the juice from the other lemon and drizzle the extra virgin olive oil over.
Toss to combine. Taste, adjust seasonings if necessary. Serve on its own or with fish, lamb or pork.
• Alison Lambert, chef at the Otago Farmers Market, will be demonstrating this recipe at the market on Saturday morning.