When the marinated zucchini, lemon pickle and fresh romesco sauce come together, it's well worth the effort. Make a big batch to dish up for lunches all week.






Skill level

Average: 3.6 (7 votes)


Pickled lemon

  • 50 g white caster sugar
  • 100 g white wine vinegar
  • 1 lemon (preferably Amalfi)

Marinated zucchini

  • 500 g zucchini, diced very small
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 100 g olive oil

Romesco sauce

  • 100 g whole, peeled almonds
  • 70 g char-grilled capsicum (peppers), diced approx. 1 cm
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 100 g tomato puree
  • 25 g sherry vinegar
  • 10 g smoked paprika
  • 5 g cayenne pepper
  • 250 g olive oil

Roasted red onions

  • olive oil
  • 2 red onions, peeled and cut into wedges


  • 15 g salt
  • 500 g giant (pearl) couscous

Mushroom plant-based meat

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 300 g mushroom plant-based meat (see Note)
  • 300 g vegetable stock

Ras el Hanout Vinaigrette

  • 100 g olive oil
  • 2 tbsp Ras el Hanout spice mix
  • 40 g sherry vinegar
  • 10 g Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • generous pinch ground ginger


  • 500 g reserved cooked couscous
  • reserved Romesco Sauce
  • reserved mushroom plant-based meat
  • reserved marinated zucchini
  • reserved roasted Red Onion wedges
  • reserved pickle Lemon, finely chopped
  • 100 g char-grilled capsicum (pepper), diced
  • reserved ras el hanout vinaigrette
  • lemon juice, to taste
  • generous handful coriander leaves
  • 100 g pomegranate seeds
  • small handful fresh mint leaves

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


This recipe needs to be started 2 days in advance.

1. Start with the pickled lemon since this will take the longest. Place the sugar, white wine vinegar and 150 g water into a pan. Bring to a simmer, whisking until the sugar dissolves. Remove from the heat and allow to cool completely. In the meantime, slice the lemon very thinly and discard any pips. Place the cooled pickling liquid into a small bowl, jar or snap-lock bag and add the sliced lemon. Cover (or seal) and leave to pickle for 48 hours in the fridge.

2. To marinate the zucchini, place the zucchini into a bowl or snap-lock bag. Smash the garlic cloves with the back of a knife and add to the zucchini. Add the olive oil and cover (or seal), leaving the mixture to marinate for at least 12 hours in the fridge before using. Before using, pick out and discard the garlic.

3. For the Romesco sauce, preheat the oven to 180°C. Spread the almonds out on a tray and roast in the oven for 7 minutes. Remove and set aside to cool. Place the almonds, char-grilled capsicum (peppers), garlic, tomato puree, vinegar, smoked paprika and cayenne pepper into a blender. Blitz well, then gradually add the olive oil, blending well to combine. Set aside.

4. To roast the red onion wedges, heat a little oil in a large pan and fry the onions until caramelised. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper and set aside.

5. For the couscous, bring a pan of salted water to the boil and cook the couscous according to the packet instructions. Cover and set aside.

6. For the mushroom plant-based meat, heat the olive oil in pan and add the mushroom plant-based meat, lightly frying over moderate heat until slightly coloured. Add the vegetables stock and cook until there is no more moisture in the pan.

7. For the vinaigrette, heat only two teaspoons of the olive oil in a small pan over moderately low heat and add the Ras el Hanout. Cook gently for 3-4 minutes before removing the pan from the heat. Stir in the remaining olive oil and set aside to cool completely. In the meantime, whisk in the vinegar, mustard, and spices together in a bowl. Once the flavoured oil has cooled, slowly drizzle it into the bowl, mixing well to combine.

8. To complete the salad, combine all the ingredients (apart from the vinaigrette, lemon juice, pomegranate seeds and fresh herbs) in a large pan to gently heat the elements through.

9. To serve, drizzle over the vinaigrette and adjust the seasoning with lemon juice. Finely chop the coriander and stir through the mixture before scattering over the pomegranate seeds and mint leaves.



Mushroom plant-based meat can be purchased online and from some health-food shops.