Positively LOADED with flavor, this delicious Curried Couscous Salad recipe is sure to become a favorite! Chewy couscous, crispy carrots, buttery garbanzo beans, sweet raisins, and a curry vinaigrette make this salad an absolute feast for the taste buds!
There’s a story behind the creation of this dish. Years ago my husband and I went on our usual Friday night date night. I was trying to shed a few holiday pounds and didn’t want to go out to a restaurant for dinner. I just wanted something relatively light and quick to eat. So here’s what happened…
Before we moved on to the “date” portion of the night we had to pick up a couple of groceries from the store. We headed over to the deli where my husband grabbed a sandwich and I got a small portion of a couple of different salads to try. One of them was a curried couscous salad and after one bite I was sold. I knew I’d have to recreate it at home so I left a few bites of it to take home so that I could do a side-by-side taste comparison as I worked on a copycat recipe. The end results was perfect: the flavor and texture were spot on!
Below left is my copycat. Below right is the original salad from the deli.
The contrasting flavors and textures in this curried couscous salad are sure to win you over. Crispy carrots and plump chewy raisins mingle with buttery garbanzo beans, tender couscous, and a lemony honey-curry vinaigrette that’s simply heavenly.
You can serve this as light main dish or as a side dish paired with grilled chicken, pork, fish, etc. This salad is quick to assemble it’s perfect for taking to work for lunch. It’s also a terrific salad to take on your next picnic, potluck, or backyard BBQ.
This curried couscous salad is a sensory adventure and a real treat for the palate!
Can I Substitute a Grain for the Couscous?
You sure can! Quinoa or millet, for example, both make great options.
Can This Couscous Salad Be Made In Advance?
Absolutely! In fact, it’s much better the next day after the flavors have had time to meld. So if you can resist, make it in advance for optimal flavor. This couscous salad will keep for 4-5 days in the fridge.
Curried Couscous Salad Recipe
Let’s get started!
A ton of healthy ingredients go into this salad: Garbanzo beans, carrots, celery, parsley, green onions, extra virgin olive oil, vinegar, honey, raisins (or zante currants if you prefer, they’re smaller – or you can use dried cherries or cranberries), curry powder, and turmeric. And if you want to bump up the health factor you can even substitute quinoa or millet for the couscous.
To prepare the couscous, simply add the water to a medium saucepan along with the salt and olive oil, bring to a boil, add the couscous, immediately turn off the heat, cover, and let sit for 15 minutes.
After 15 minutes, fluff with a fork and place it in a very large mixing bowl. Set aside.
Combine all the dressing ingredients and whisk until combined. Set aside.
Add all the veggies, the parsley, raisins and garbanzo beans to the couscous. Look at that beautiful array of colors and nutrients.
Stir to combine, then pour the dressing over it, about 1/3 at a time, stirring between additions to combine the salad.
That’s it! The couscous absorbs the color of the curry and turmeric beautifully.
Cover the couscous with a lid or plastic wrap. Because of the vinegar/acid content, make sure it’s in either a glass or plastic bowl. Refrigerate overnight for best results. The flavors need time to meld.
This couscous salad is perfect as a light lunch or as a side with dinner. Enjoy it along with some grilled chicken or fish.
For more delicious salads try our:
- Thai Quinoa Salad
- Greek Wheat Berry Salad
- Lemony Quinoa Cannellini Bean Salad
- Southern Sorghum and Black Eyed Pea Salad
- Greek Orzo Salad
- Asian Wheat Berry Salad
- Mexican Wheat Berry Salad
- Italian Barley Salad
Curried Couscous Salad
- 2 cups uncooked couscous
- 1 cup finely shredded carrot
- 3/4 cup finely chopped celery
- 3 green onions , finely sliced
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
- 1 cup canned drained garbanzo beans
- 1/2 cup raisins or dried currants
- 1-2 tablespoons finely minced preserved lemon (optional but fabulous)
- For the Dressing:
- 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 3 tablespoons honey (Vegans: use agave nectar)
- 2 tablespoons curry powder
- homemade curry powder recipe
- 1 tablespoon turmeric powder
- 1 tablespoon vegetable broth powder
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- To prepare the couscous, bring 2 cups of vegetable or chicken broth along with 1 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil to a boil in a medium saucepan. As soon as it's boiling, add the couscous, immediately turn off the heat, cover and let sit for 15 minutes. Fluff the couscous with a fork and put it in a very large mixing bowl. Let cool completely.
- Add all veggies, parsley, garbanzo beans, raisins/currants and preserved lemon to the couscous and stir to combine. To prepare the dressing, combine all the ingredients in a mixing bowl and whisk until emulsified.Pour the dressing over the couscous salad, 1/3 at a time, stirring to combine between additions. Cover and refrigerate overnight so the flavors have time to meld. Because of the vinegar/acid content, use a glass or plastic bowl.Serve as a light main course or as a side dish along with chicken, pork, fish, etc.Will keep for 4-5 days in the fridge.
First published on The Daring Gourmet January 9, 2014