I am not a vegetarian but seem to have a lot of vegetarian recipes on this blog. I adore vegetarian food and always feel better when eating it, I just can’t do without the other stuff!

This is one of, if not the best vegetarian salads you can make.
Delia Smith is a genius in combining these vegetables, lettuces and grains into something you will remember for a long time.

Serve 4 as a main or 8 as a starter

For the roasted vegetables
1 small eggplant
2 medium zucchini
1lb cherry tomatoes, skinned, if you have the patience!
1 small red pepper, cut into 1 inch squares
1 small bulb fennel, chopped
1 large onion, sliced and cut into 1 inch squares
2 fat cloves garlic, crushed
2 tbsp fresh basil leaves, torn so that they stay visible
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 oz pitted Kalamata olives, chopped
1 heaped tbsp capers, drained
salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the couscous
10 oz medium couscous
18 fl oz vegetable stock, put on to boil. (If you are not vegetarian, it’s nice to use chicken stock)
4oz firm goat’s cheese
salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the salad
1 x 3oz packet mixed lettuce leaves (such as lettuce, cilantro leaves, flat leaf parsley, arugula, spring mix etc)

For the dressing
4 fl oz extra virgin olive oil
1 rounded tsp cayenne pepper
2 level tbsp ground cumin (I use home roasted)
2 heaped tbsp tomato puree
4 tbsp fresh lime juice (about 2 limes)

To garnish
1 level tbsp black onion seeds

You will need a large shallow roasting tin for the vegetables

First, prepare the roasted vegetables;
Prepare the eggplant and zucchini ahead of time by cutting them into 1 inch dice, leaving their skins on. Then toss the dice in a level dessertspoon of salt and pack them into a colander with a plate on top and a heavy weight on top of the plate. Leave them on one side for a hour so that some of the bitter juices drain out (Put a bowl underneath to catch the liquid)
After that, squeeze out any juices left and dry the dice thoroughly in a clean cloth.

Preheat the oven to 475 F
Now arrange the eggplant, zucchini, tomatoes, pepper, fennel and onions in the roasting tin, sprinkle with the crushed garlic, basil and olive oil, toss everything around in the olive oil to get a good coating and season well with salt and pepper.
Place the tin on the highest shelf in the oven for 30 to 40 minutes or until the vegetables are toasted brown at the edges. When the vegetables are done, remove them from the oven and stir in the chopped olives and the capers then remove them to a plate to cool.

When you’re ready to assemble the salad, first place the couscous in a large heatproof bowl, then pour the boiling stock over it, add some salt and pepper, stir it with a fork then leave on one side for 5 minutes, by which time it will have absorbed all the stock and softened.
Meanwhile cut the cheese into sugar-cube sized pieces.
Make up the dressing by whisking all the ingredients together in a bowl, then pour into a serving pitcher.

To serve this wonderful salad, place the couscous in a large, wide salad bowl, (a clear bowl is lovely so you can see the layers, see the picture)
Gently fork in the cubes of cheese along with the roasted vegetables.
Next arrange the salad leaves on top and just before serving, drizzle a little of the dressing over the top followed by a sprinkling of onion seeds and hand the rest of the dressing around separately.

Note – Onion seeds look gorgeous on this salad, but beware, they can get stuck in your teeth which can make you look like you have a mouth full of fillings!