I chose this recipe to kick off Meat Free Fridays for the simple reason that I absolutely adore couscous. It’s essentially the blank canvas of the culinary world. Couscous was one of the first things I learned how to make in the kitchen. When I was little I used to dump an entire jar of tomato sauce and mountains of mozzarella cheese in to a giant bowl of couscous, and microwave the mixture until it was a soupy, cheesy mess – delicious. So yeah, couscous and I go way back. This recipe stood out to me because I love anything with pistachios as an ingredient. I asked hubby to pick up the giant whole-wheat couscous at Whole Foods, and he ended up coming home with the regular sized couscous (it was my own fault for thinking he would know the difference). He was also supposed to pick up za’tar seasoning which Whole Foods did not have. So with these two speed bumps, I had to do a little improvising (I made the za’tar myself using this recipe) and the dish still came out delicious. Enjoy and Happy Friday!3 small sweet potatoes To serve: 4 tablespoons olive oil 1 lemon 2 tablespoons pumpkin seeds 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil 1 1/2 cups giant whole-wheat couscous salt and freshly ground black pepper 1 2/3 cups light vegetable stock or water 2 tablespoon freshly chopped cilantro handful of raisins flat-leaf parsley 1 rounded teaspoon za’tar 1 tablespoon freshly shopped mint 1/2 cup unsalted pistachios, chopped Pre-heat the oven to 400 ° F Scrub the sweet potatoes under cold water and cut each into 6 wedges. Put into a roasting pan. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons olive oil, season with sale and pepper and roast in the oven for about 20-25 minutes or until the sweet potato is tender and starting to caramelize at the edges. Add the pumpkin seeds to the pan for the last 5 minutes of cooking time. While the sweet potato is cooking prepare the couscous. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large sauté pan, add the couscous, cook gently for 2-3 minutes until starting to brown. Add half the stock or water to the pan and continue to cook for about 15 minutes, stirring frequently until the couscous is tender and has absorbed the liquid. Add the remaining stock or water to the pan as needed. Remove from the heat and add the raisins, za’tar, and chopped pistachios to the pan, season with salt and black pepper, cool slightly. Mix together the juice from half the lemon and the extra virgin olive oil and pour over the warm sweet potato when it comes out of the over. Gently stir the freshly chopped herbs and roasted sweet potato wedges into the couscous and serve with extra lemon wedges for squeezing over. serves 4.