For anyone who lives in California or has visited California and has had the joy of eating the curried couscous with roasted cauliflower side salad from Mendocino Farms – this recipe is for you. If you’ve never heard of Mendocino Farms, or know what I am talking about – this recipe is also for you because this side salad will change your life. Okay, a bit dramatic, but it is so beyond tasty, these photos don’t do it justice.
Mendocino Farms is an AWESOME chain restaurant here in California (and TX folks, I hear you will be getting a couple of locations soon!) that serves up fresh, farm-to-table style salads, sandwiches, and soups. They have a regular menu that I love, but they also have seasonal items that change based on, well, what’s in season. I can honestly say, I have never had a bad meal there, but one thing I always order is the curried couscous with roasted cauliflower. You see where this is going, yes?
Hands down, it is the best side salad I have ever had. The couscous is actually an Israeli style couscous, which is more of a pearl shaped pasta than it is couscous. I like to think of it as orzo’s round cousin. In the grocery store it can be called Israeli couscous or pearl couscous, but make sure when you’re picking it out that just lists toasted semolina flour in the ingredients. It should not have any additives. I personally use the pearl couscous from Bob’s Red Mill and I always get great results.
The couscous is mixed with a roasted cauliflower and carrot mixture that is coated with curry, turmeric, cumin, coriander, just a touch of brown sugar, and a pinch of cayenne to balance out the flavor, all before baking.
The toasted spice flavor from the veggies bring together the couscous and creaminess from the mayonnaise beautifully. If you want to keep this recipe vegan, simply use vegan mayonnaise instead of regular.
If you like the flavor of curry or turmeric, you’re never going to look at a pasta salad the same way again.
A warning before working with curry or turmeric – ALWAYS WEAR AN APRON! I am not kidding about this. Turmeric and curry stain very easily, and it is tough to get out. Protect any light colored surfaces or kitchen tools by washing them right away.Print
This is a copycat recipe for the curried couscous with roasted cauliflower salad from Mendocino Farms – one of my favorite sides of all time!
- 1 ½ cups pearl (Israeli) couscous
- 2 ¼ cups water
- 3 Tbsp avocado or olive oil
- 2 cups cauliflower florets, cut into small pieces
- 1 cup carrots, cubed into small pieces
- 1 ½ tsp curry powder
- 1 ½ tsp turmeric powder
- ½ tsp ground cumin
- ½ tsp ground coriander
- 1 Tbsp brown sugar
- ¼ tsp cayenne pepper, or to taste
- salt and pepper, to taste
- ½ cup mayonnaise
- ¼ cup chopped cilantro
- 1 Tbsp lime juice
- Preheat oven to 450F degrees.
- Prepare the couscous – bring 2 ¼ cup of water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add couscous, reduce heat to a simmer, and cook, covered, until water is absorbed. About 10-12 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand, with lid on, for 1-2 minutes before draining and rinsing it with cold water. Allow the couscous to drain well, before adding it to a large bowl. Set aside.
- In a small bowl, combine the curry powder, turmeric, cumin, coriander, sugar, cayenne pepper, brown sugar, salt and pepper. Stir to combine. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, combine the cauliflower and carrots. Drizzle with oil and seasoning mixture. Toss well to evenly coat. Spread veggies out on a rimmed baking sheet and bake for 8-10 minutes. You want the edges of the cauliflower and carrots to be golden, but not burned, and they should be tender, but still crunchy. Remove from the oven and let cool.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, cilantro and lime juice.
- Add the cooled veggies and mayonnaise mixture to the couscous. Stir to combine everything well. Taste, and adjust the seasonings as needed.
- Refrigerate until ready to serve.
This salad is best served cold. Make ahead of time for optimum flavor.