Curried Couscous with Roasted Cauliflower – Mendocino Farms’ Copycat

A copycat recipe for Mendocino Farms’ curried couscous with roasted cauliflower salad. #athousandcrumbs #mendocinofarms #copycat #curry #couscous

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?

A copycat recipe for Mendocino Farms’ curried couscous with roasted cauliflower salad. #athousandcrumbs #mendocinofarms #copycat #curry #couscous

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.

A copycat recipe for Mendocino Farms’ curried couscous with roasted cauliflower salad. #athousandcrumbs #mendocinofarms #copycat #curry #couscous

Curried Couscous with Roasted Cauliflower – Mendocino Farms’ Copycat

  • Author: Amanda
  • Prep Time: 15 Minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 Minutes
  • Total Time: 30 Minutes
  • Yield: 6 Servings 1x
  • Category: Sides, Vegetarian


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


  1. Preheat oven to 450F degrees.
  2. 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.
  3. In a small bowl, combine the curry powder, turmeric, cumin, coriander, sugar, cayenne pepper, brown sugar, salt and pepper.  Stir to combine.  Set aside.
  4. 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.
  5. In a small bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, cilantro and lime juice.
  6. Add the cooled veggies and mayonnaise mixture to the couscous.  Stir to combine everything well.  Taste, and adjust the seasonings as needed.
  7. Refrigerate until ready to serve.


This salad is best served cold.  Make ahead of time for optimum flavor.

A copycat recipe for Mendocino Farms’ curried couscous with roasted cauliflower salad. #athousandcrumbs #mendocinofarms #copycat #curry #couscous

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  • Reply
    July 27, 2019 at 5:33 am

    Hi Amanda – we just moved from California and I miss Mendocino Farms and this couscous so much! I can’t wait to make this! Does it freeze well? And how long will it keep in the frig?

    • Reply
      Amanda Prince
      July 30, 2019 at 2:41 pm

      Hi Kayla! I wish I could send you Mendocino Farms to wherever you moved! Hopefully this salad brings a little taste of California to your new home 🙂 It keeps in the fridge for 5-7 days (at least, I’ve never had it last longer without getting eaten!). I have never tried to freeze it, but I don’t imagine it would hold up well since it’s more of a pasta than a grain, and I would worry the cauliflower would get soggy or change texture. Let me know if you have any other questions!

  • Reply
    Allie Lindly
    June 16, 2019 at 10:21 pm

    Loved making this! Thought the flavors were spot on & it turned out so much better than I’d expected. The only flaw was the water:couscous ratio. I made it according to the recipe, but it seemed like it was taking forever to absorb the water. After about 15 minutes, I realized that the box recommended about 1:1, not 2:1. Next time, I’ll adjust that, but I am otherwise excited to enjoy it this week!

    • Reply
      Amanda Prince
      July 8, 2019 at 2:05 pm

      Hi Allie! Thank you so much for your feedback on the couscous! That’s really good to note about different package directions. The only thing I thought of is because it is a pasta, it just needs enough water to cook properly (unlike a rice or grain that needs exact water absorption to avoid being watery). It will be drained and rinsed, so as long as there is enough water to cook, then it should hopefully yield perfect little couscous. I am so glad you enjoyed the recipe more than you were anticipating and hope it was the perfect addition to your weekly meals!

    • Reply
      September 9, 2019 at 2:09 pm

      Excellent recipe! Except the water to cous cous ratio is way off. It’s usually 1:1 & comes out perfect. Cooking it with this much water makes the cous cous spongy.

      • Reply
        Amanda Prince
        September 9, 2019 at 4:21 pm

        Allie and Jill – I have to thank you both! I went back to my notes on the recipe and there was a typo when I added it to my site! I double checked a few other places, including Bob’s Red Mill (the brand of Pearl Couscous I use), and revised the water on the recipe to match my notes – a 1:1.5 ratio. Thank you both for pointing that out and letting me know!

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