Moroccan Lamb with 7-Vegetable Couscous

Serves 6-10

Prep time: 30 mins | Cooking time: 3-4 hours

There are hundreds of variations of couscous with seven vegetables, traditionally eaten by Moroccan Jews at Rosh Hashanah. With burts of sweetness, seasonal harvest vegetables and Simanim, this dish is both simple and highly symbolic. You can swap out any of the vegetables, and although the number seven is incredibly relevant as we remember the creation of the world, there is no hard-and-fast rule that says you have to stick to exactly seven vegetables! You can enjoy the couscous as a vegetarian meal or side, but we have completed this dish with a Moroccan spiced lamb shoulder. (Of course, if your own Rosh Hashanah custom includes a sheep’s head on the table, as is traditional in many Sephardi homes, you could also use the marinade for that, and adapt the cooking times accordingly.)


For the Lamb

  • 1 Lamb Shoulder
  • 2 Brown Onions, ribboned 

For the Marinade

  • 6 tbsp Ras el Hanout
  • 1 tbsp Garlic Powder
  • 1 tbsp Paprika
  • 1 tbsp Turmeric
  • Juice of ½ Lemon
  • 2 tbsp Honey
  • 3 tbsp Pomegranate Molasses
  • ½ tbsp Olive Oil 

For the Couscous

  • 2 cups Couscous
  • 1 Red Onion,
  • diced and salted
  • 1 large Parsnip
  • 2 Carrots 
  • 1 large Sweet Potato
  • 1 Courgette
  • 250g Butternut Squash
  • 1-2 Preserved Lemons, very finely chopped
  • 400g Chickpeas
  • 1 cup Broad Beans
  • ¼ Red Cabbage, ribboned
  • 1 tbsp Garlic Powder
  • ½ tbsp ground Cumin
  • ½ tbsp Turmeric
  • Salt & Pepper
  • 2 tbsp Oil


For the Lamb

  1. Mix together all marinade ingredients.
  2. Line the bottom of an oven proof dish with ribboned brown onions and place the lamb on top.
  3. Cover with the marinade and massage into the lamb on all sides.
  4. Cover with baking paper and foil and leave to marinade in the fridge for at least 2 hours or overnight.
  5. Preheat your oven to 180°C / 160°C fan (Gas Mark 4 / 350°F).
  6. Place lamb in oven and cook, basting every hour, for 3 hours or until meat is tender an falling off the bone.

For the Couscous

One hour before lamb is ready…

  1. Chop the parsnip, carrots, sweet potato, courgette and squash into small chunks.
  2. In a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan, add 2 tbsp oil and red onions, and fry until soft over a medium heat (approx 10 minutes). 
  3. Add in all the chopped root vegetables and fry for 10 minutes, stirring regularly on a medium-high heat. Add a splash of water if necessary to avoid burning.
  4. Add in turmeric, cumin, garlic powder, preserved lemons and salt and pepper (to taste) and stir to combine.
  5. Add in chickpeas, broad beans and cabbage and stir in, cooking for a further 5-10 minutes until beginning to brown.
  6. Add 800ml boiling water, cover and cook for 20-30 minutes until vegetables are tender, but not mushy.
  7. Turn off heat and add in dry couscous, stir to combine and cover. Wait 10 minutes for the couscous to steam, and serve. 

(Image by Yaffa Judah)

Moroccan Lamb with 7-Vegetable Couscous - image by Yaffa Judah