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Feta, Black Bean And Clementine Couscous

Nigella's Feta, Black Bean And Clementine Couscous

Brought to you by: Nigella
4.0 6 ratings Review this recipe

Prep time:

Cook time:

Serves: 4

The fact that this is quick to make is far from its only charm: I return to it, again and again, in one guise or other when I feel a midweek feast with fabulous full-on flavour is called for. The rich earthiness of the black beans is such a gorgeous contrast with the sweet onions and couscous, the bright tomatoes, and the fierce, salty rasp of the feta. Talking of which, if you need this to be vegan rather than vegetarian, you could replace the feta with olives (or, indeed, feta-style non-dairy cheese). And if you have half an orange about the place, you can, of course, use that in place of the clementine.
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  • 4 tsp cumin seeds
  • ¼ tsp chilli flakes
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 250g cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 2 400g tins black beans in water, drained and rinsed
  • ½ 25g bunch coriander, stalks and leaves separated, both finely chopped
  • 200g couscous
  • 1 easy peeler, zested
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 300g red onions, finely sliced into half moons
  • 2 tsp fine salt
  • 100g feta, drained


Step 1

Toast the cumin seeds in a large, dry frying pan over a medium heat until fragrant, shaking the pan to let them dance to the surface every now and then, ensuring they don’t catch or burn. Then tip them out into a cup to cool.

Step 2

Measure out 2 tsp of the toasted cumin seeds and add to the chilli flakes. Gather and prepare the garlic, cherry tomatoes, beans and coriander next to the stove.

Step 3

Prepare your couscous now, too, as this will take the same time to cook as the beans and tomatoes. Measure the couscous into a wide, medium-sized bowl and add the grated zest from the easy peeler, the remaining 2 tsp of toasted cumin seeds and 1 tsp fine salt. Stir in 300ml freshly boiled water. Cover the bowl and leave while you get on with the rest of the cooking.

Step 4

Juice the now-bald easy peeler into a small jug, then top up to the 125ml mark with cold water and leave this near the stove.

Step 5

Warm the oil in the large frying pan until hot. Add the onions, sprinkle with ½ tsp salt and cook over a pretty high heat for about 5 mins. Stir every now and again, and cook until the onions are beginning to soften. Don’t turn your gaze from them, to make sure they aren’t burning (turn the heat down if they are).

Step 6

Reduce the heat to medium and cook for 2 mins more, then stir in the chopped coriander stalks, cumin seed and chilli flakes mix, and minced garlic, and cook for a further 1 min, stirring occasionally. Add 2 tbsp of the easy peeler juice and water to the pan, and cook for a further minute, stirring a little more.

Step 7

Tip in the cherry tomatoes with the now jammy onions and cook, stirring once in a while, for a further 2 mins. Add the drained black beans and remaining ½ tsp salt. Give everything a good, but gentle, stir and cook for 3 mins or until the beans are piping hot. Stir in the remaining juice and water for the last 30 secs. Take the pan off the heat while you use a fork to fluff up the couscous, steadily loosening the grains until it’s light and free-flowing.

Step 8

Arrange the couscous on 4 plates or in bowls and then top with the beans and tomatoes. Take pieces of the feta and crumble it in your fingers over each plate or bowl. Sprinkle over the chopped coriander leaves and take proudly to the table.

Tips or serving suggestions

You will see that I use the coriander stalks as well as leaves here. There’s a lot of unnecessary wastage with fresh herbs: the stalks are nearly always thrown away, but for herbs with tender stems like coriander (and parsley, which you can use instead if you have that genetic mutation which means coriander tastes horrible and soapy), I advise you to trim and chop them finely, using the stems for the base of the dish and vibrantly scattering the leaves over the rich filling at the end. And once you realise what flavour you’re adding for free, you won’t need any further persuading from me!

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