Couscous With Turnips and Sweet Potatoes Recipe (2024)

By Martha Rose Shulman

Couscous With Turnips and Sweet Potatoes Recipe (1)

Total Time
1 hour 15 minutes
Rating
4(129)
Notes
Read community notes

Turnips store well and are a vegetable you can count on during the winter. They are rich in sulfuric compounds, particularly glucosinolates, that are believed to have antioxidant properties. They’re also a very good source of potassium. When you can get them with the greens attached, they’re a two-in-one crop, like beets, as their greens bring you a whole new set of nutrients – lots of calcium, vitamin K, vitamin A and beta carotene – and culinary possibilities. Turnip greens are similar in flavor to kale, perhaps a little more bitter, and with a more delicate texture. Winter turnips are not sweet and tender like young spring turnips. They stand up to longer cooking times, so they’re perfect for soups, stews and gratins. But I found them equally welcome in a frittata and a stir-fry. This spicy, comforting couscous demands little in the way of prep time. It’s the long simmer on the stove that results in the tasty broth. As it simmers, the sweet potato falls apart into small bits that tint the broth.

Featured in: Recipes for Health: Turnips: Versatile and Nutritious in Any Season

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Ingredients

Yield:6 servings.

  • 1onion, chopped
  • 1leek, white and light green parts only, cut in thick slices and cleaned
  • 4large garlic cloves, minced
  • Salt, preferably kosher salt, to taste
  • 2teaspoons cumin seeds, lightly toasted and ground
  • 1teaspoon coriander seeds, lightly toasted and ground
  • 1teaspoon caraway seeds, lightly toasted and ground
  • ½teaspoon cayenne (more to taste)
  • A bouquet garni consisting of 8 sprigs each parsley and cilantro
  • 1tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1tablespoon harissa (more to taste), plus additional for serving
  • 1large sweet potato (about 10 ounces), peeled and cut in large dice
  • 1pound turnips, cut in wedges
  • 1large carrot, peeled and cut in thick slices
  • 6cups water
  • Salt to taste
  • 1can chickpeas, drained and rinsed, or 1.5 cups cooked chickpeas
  • ½chopped fresh parsley or cilantro, or a combination
  • 1½ to 2cups couscous, preferably whole-wheat couscous (¼ to ⅓ cup unreconstituted couscous per person)

Ingredient Substitution Guide

Nutritional analysis per serving (6 servings)

473 calories; 5 grams fat; 0 grams saturated fat; 0 grams trans fat; 1 gram monounsaturated fat; 2 grams polyunsaturated fat; 90 grams carbohydrates; 16 grams dietary fiber; 12 grams sugars; 19 grams protein; 1422 milligrams sodium

Note: The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

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Couscous With Turnips and Sweet Potatoes Recipe (2)

Preparation

  1. Step

    1

    Combine all the ingredients except the chickpeas and chopped parsley or cilantro and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for 1 hour. Taste and adjust salt. The stew should be spicy and flavorful. Stir in the chickpeas and parsley or cilantro and heat through.

  2. Step

    2

    Reconstitute and steam the couscous. Serve the couscous in wide bowls or mound onto plates and top with the stew and a generous amount of broth. Pass more harissa at the table.

Tip

  • Advance preparation: The stew can be made a day ahead and reheated. Leftovers will keep for 3 or 4 days in the refrigerator. The couscous can be reconstituted up to a day ahead, then steamed before serving.

Ratings

4

out of 5

129

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Private Notes

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Cooking Notes

Abby

This recipe should be updated to say add everything EXCEPT chickpeas and couscous. Couscous should be cooked in another pot. Or else you end up with a stew that more resembles a thick paste.

Meg

Made this with 4 cups of water, which was plenty. I cooked it for about 30 minutes and found the turnips to be overcooked. Spices were about right. I sautéed the onion, leek, and garlic first, then added the spices for a minute before adding the other ingredients.

B.J. Daniel

Delicious stew - This is a perfect use for turnips! Loved every bite of it :)

EN

Sauté onions and garlic furst

Laurie

Half of cayenne and no salt fine. Added some black beans as well.

Carolyn

I came across this looking for things to do with turnips from my csa. I had low expectations but found this to be delicious and flavorful. I only used 4 cups of water and substituted quinoa at the end for couscous

Carolyn

I meant to add that 25 mins cooking time is more than enough

Cara A.

Sautéed the onions, garlic, and spices before adding other ingredients, Omitted salt, and added one half of a preserved lemon. Tasty!

Caton

This is a nice, flavorful winter veggie stew. I was out of tomato paste, so my version benefitted from lashings of sherry vinegar for acidity.

Izzy

I increased to 4tbs tomato paste, mixed in a cuban spice mix, and at the end added juice of 1/2 lemon and some frozen peas. Also steamed the couscous in a towel-lined colander placed over the stew in the last 20 minutes of cooking (removed some liquid so it sat on top of the veggies and added it back at the end). It was lovely and sweet, bringing out the best of the turnips. Lemon definitely helped.

sara

I sautéed the onion, spices, garlic and carrots before adding broth and the rest of the ingredients. Worked well.

CL

This was OK, not spectacular. Recipe needs correcting: Do not add couscous to stew pot. Be generous with seasonings incl. salt/pepper; seems to cook away as the stew simmers.I used only enough broth-water to cover vegetables, approx 3cups only, and that was plenty.

Alex

Add another can of chickpeas and more harissa

Jean

I was out of parsley and cilantro when I made this, it would have been a good addition. (1/2 cup, presumably, had I had some?) My husband really liked it. I found it a decent way to eat turnips (not my favorite). Used half the cayenne as I am cautious but it wasn't too hot, quite flavorful.

Abby

This recipe should be updated to say add everything EXCEPT chickpeas and couscous. Couscous should be cooked in another pot. Or else you end up with a stew that more resembles a thick paste.

Meg

Made this with 4 cups of water, which was plenty. I cooked it for about 30 minutes and found the turnips to be overcooked. Spices were about right. I sautéed the onion, leek, and garlic first, then added the spices for a minute before adding the other ingredients.

Rebecca Goodsell

This was delicious. I had farmers market turnips so chopped up the tops and scattered them into stew instead of parsley/cilantro combo.

Tessa

The harissa, cilantro and spices really make this a very flavorful soup/stew. Delicious. I didn’t bother with the couscous since I didn’t want the grains, and it’s great without it. Wouldn’t change a thing!

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Couscous With Turnips and Sweet Potatoes Recipe (2024)
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