Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto and Vegetable Couscous with Fresh Oregano

So, here are a few facts to ponder:

1. I make Mrs Ribeye's packed lunch every day for work (henpecked, me? nah...).
2. Mrs Ribeye and I are on a 'meat in moderation' pact, meaning we mainly reserve eating flesh for weekends and special occasions.
3. I have a new herb garden (more like a couple of terracotta troughs, actually) on the roof terrace.

Put these seemingly independent facts together and what do you get? Couscous! With vegetables! And fresh herbs! Not so hard to guess really.

Mrs Ribeye loves pasta salad, but wasn't so keen on couscous until I told her that couscous is in fact pasta, but smaller. Now she loves it. I can't wait to tell her that liver is made of strawberries and black pudding has chocolate in it. No, really. Couscous IS made of semolina flour like pasta, so it is (in theory anyway) small pasta. In theory.

Anyway, since I started making this dish, the old finicky eater can't get enough of it. When she saw the fresh oregano, she asked me why I had put bits of the hedge on her packed lunch. Give me strength...

In the new herb 'garden', I have put oregano, French tarragon, apple mint and rosemary. Mrs Ribeye likes nicking off bits of the mint to put in her tea (bless her and her Russian ways) and I like nicking bits off the rest to jazz up our meals. Apart from using the oregano in this vegetarian recipe, I'm looking forward to the weekend to use it to 'herbify' a Greek lamb dish, or something.

This weekend is the Eurovision Song Contest and I have Ophelia, Kumar, Tanya and Ricardo over here for a barbecue/Eurovision extravaganza - let's hope this heatwave holds out (it probably won't). Watch this space for a barbecue recipe after I've figured out what I'm going to make. I'm feeling a bit hamburger-y, but peri-peri chicken is also on the cards. Go Engelbert!

Back to today though. Just gather up some spring vegetables and add them to a sun-dried tomato or basil pesto-flavoured couscous and then get busy with the fresh herbs. It's a wonderful late spring/early summer lunch or supper, or if you're Mrs Ribeye, a fabulous packed lunch to eat with your workmates in sunny Hyde Park. Luckyyyyyy.

Cost-wise, this set me back £1.50 per serving, but feel free to add whatever you like and you'll still stay way under your Potless budget.

Serves 2


100g dried couscous
150ml boiling water
50g sun-dried tomato pesto sauce
Pinches of salt and pepper
1 teaspoon of dried oregano
200g chopped vegetables (I have used artichoke hearts, fresh tomatoes and black olives)
Fresh oregano leaves to sprinkle

Add the couscous to the boiling water with the pesto, salt and pepper and dried oregano. Leave to stand, covered in clingfilm, until the water has been absorbed (10 minutes approx). Once the couscous has cooled to room temperature, add the vegetables and fold through. Sprinkle with the fresh oregano leaves just before serving.


  1. oh my! I love everything about this! I want to make this RIGHT NOW.

  2. Hey Rachel,

    glad you like it! Try making it with regular basil pesto too - it's a great summer dish.

    Reg x


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