Curried Couscous Salad

Sorry for being so slow getting last Tuesday’s recipes posted!  It’s been a crazy week!  I unexpectedly had to go in for a physical to make sure I’m in good health to donate bone morrow through DKMS Americas.

Sandra (right) and me (left) at our catering event

Then I worked with my friend, Sandra to do a big catering job.  So for three days we were SUPER busy making food for 100 and preparing the picnic on Saturday afternoon.  As soon as that job was done I came down with a bad cold (probably exacerbated by not taking care of myself in the hot weather on Saturday).

And then yesterday I had to send off one of my very best friends as she prepares to move to Colorado for a new job!  Sorry for the delay, but hopefully these recipes are worth the wait!

For the end of this four-week term of School of Christian Living (my Tuesday cateringgig), I knew I wanted to keep it simple and cool.  It’s already getting to be pretty hot and muggy, so I didn’t want to have to have the oven or stove on for very long.  In my recipe browsing I came across a recipe for a Curried Couscous Salad in Vegetarian Times cookbook.  I was intrigued, but it combined the greens of a tossed salad with the couscous.  I decided to keep the tossed salad and the couscous salad separate.

I was extremely pleased with how this salad turned out.  It came together really nicely and is super versatile, so feel free to add whatever you have on hand.  I think some frozen peas would be great, you can use shallots or red onion instead of the scallions.  Get creative!

I’m not a big fan of raisins, but have found that golden raisins have a delicious sweet taste, and mixed in with a salad I don’t mind the texture.  If you refrigerate this salad the raisins get plumped up adding a huge burst of sweet flavor.  If you can’t get past the raisins try dried cranberries, currants, or just extra dried apricots.  I also meant to have toasted slivered almonds to sprinkle on top, but I forgot them in the oven (I did remember to turn the oven off…), and forgot to add them every time I had leftovers as well.  I think it’d be delicious!

This is also the prefect salad for picnics or BBQs, it can be served at any temperature and will be fine sitting out for a while.

Curried Couscous Salad

Serves 20

  • 4 cups uncooked couscous
  • 2 cups uncooked whole wheat Israeli couscous
  • 9 cups water (or stock)
  • 2 1/2 cups (1 box) golden raisins
  • 2 cups dried apricots, chopped
  • 3 large (29oz) cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 4 large bell peppers, diced
  • 4 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 2 bunches cilantro, minced
  • 1 1/2 cups olive oil
  • 6-7 Tbsp curry powder
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground pepper
  • 1 tsp sugar

In a medium saucepan, bring 5 cups of water to a boil, then add the 4 cups of regular couscous.  Turn the heat off, cover with a lid and allow to sit for about 5-8 minutes, until the water has been absorbed.  Fluff couscous with a fork when finished.  In a separate saucepan toast the Israeli couscous for a few minutes on medium-high heat.  Add 4 cups of water and bring to a boil.  Reduce to a simmer and cook for a few minutes until couscous is tender but still chewy.  Drain any excess water and mix in with the regular couscous (in a ridiculously large bowl, or divide into two large serving bowls).

Add the raisins, chopped apricots, chickpeas, peppers, scallions, and cilantro.  In a large measuring cup, whisk together the remaining ingredients for the dressing.  Pour the dressing over the salad and mix well.  Allow to sit for at least an hour for the flavors to blend.

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