the taste space

Curried Couscous Pilaf Salad with Peas and Currants

Posted in Mains (Vegetarian), Salads, Sides by janet @ the taste space on May 16, 2012

There’s Indian food and then there’s Indian food. If you know what I mean.

Everyone seemed excited with my plans for an Indian Easter, but I had my doubts. New recipes all over the place. Would they like it? Would it be too authentic (sans fiery heat, of course)? Would it be too healthy? (ha!) Too many beans? (never!)

Would my Mom, the coconut-hater, taste the coconut in the Mulligatawny?
[NOOOOO!! I honestly had my doubts..]

Would my Mom, the cauliflower-hater, resist the cauliflower in the pakoras?
[NO!! But I couldn’t taste it either, so I wasn’t worried]

Do we have any closet cilantro-haters?
[NO!!! Thank goodness, we all got those good genes!]

Would anyone shun the tofu in the chocolate-tofu mousse pie?
[NOOO! Mom even said she wanted the recipe]

Just in case, though, I decided to break out one of my family’s favourite potluck dishes: a curried couscous pilaf salad. A salad I knew they would like. Throughout its reign at barbecues and potlucks, the recipe has been requested numerous times but it was put on the backburner for a while. Quinoa is the new potluck food, shunning couscous. A bit of googling taught me the recipe was originally from Canadian Living back from July 1994!

With some whole wheat couscous still lurking in my pantry, I decided to break it out for the gang. I put my own twist on the recipe, but only made minor changes (currants for raisins, toasting the spices, etc).  You could easily substitute quinoa or millet for this salad, as well.

This is a quick salad to put together, but you still get the benefits from assembling each part separately. First, toast your couscous/quinoa/millet and cook it with stock to up its flavour. Next, saute some onions and add some zip from the toasted curry powder, cumin and a hint of cinnamon. Peas make this a filling salad and currants add a touch of sweetness to balance out the dish.  I can see why this is such a knock-out salad at potlucks!

This is my submission to Ivonne at Cream Puffs in Venice for Magazine Mondays, to Ricki’s Weekend Wellness to this week’s Presto Pasta Nights, hosted by Alisha and to Deb for this week’s Souper Sundays.

Curried Couscous Pilaf Salad with Peas and Currants

1 cup whole wheat couscous (this would be great with quinoa or millet, too, but adjust the water ratio below accordingly)
1 1/3 cup vegetable stock
1 tbsp coconut oil
1 large onion, chopped
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp curry powder
1/2 tsp ground cumin
pinch cinnamon
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 tbsp vegetable stock
1 tsp agave nectar, or to taste
2 cups cooked peas (petit pois, please!)
1/4 cup dried currants

1. In a medium non-stick skillet over medium heat, toast couscous until lightly browned, stirring occasionally to prevent burning. Remove from heat when toasted.

2. Meanwhile, in a medium pot, bring vegetable stock to a boil. Once boiling, add toasted couscous, stirring to mix. Turn off heat. Cover with lid. Let stand, covered, for 5-10 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, heat oil in the non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add onion and saute for 5-7 minutes, until translucent and tender. Sprinkle with salt. Add curry powder, cumin and cinnamon and allow to cook for 30 seconds, just until fragrant. Deglaze the pan with the vinegar, stock, and agave.

4. Fluff the couscous with a fork. Add the fragrant onions and sauce and mix well until combined. Add peas and currants and toss gently until combined.

Serve cold or at room temperature.

Serves 6.

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8 Responses

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  1. Flavors of the Sun said, on May 16, 2012 at 10:23 AM

    I love couscous (and grain salads too) salads–so versatile. Thanks for this lovely recipe–I like the idea of the coconut oil and apple cider vinegar–and agave nectar too.

  2. Joanne said, on May 16, 2012 at 5:58 PM

    I’m always a bit worried when serving a crowd (or the new BF). My tastes err on the side of loving really bold esoteric flavors, so it’s always kind of hit or miss. I think I could even get my family to eat this though! WIN.

  3. Ruth said, on May 17, 2012 at 10:56 AM

    Definitely has me drooling. Thanks for sharing with Presto Pasta Nights

  4. Alisha said, on May 17, 2012 at 8:59 PM

    This looks fabulous! I’ll have to give it a try at my next BBQ. Thanks so much for sharing with Presto Pasta Nights!

  5. Kahakai Kitchen said, on May 20, 2012 at 10:38 PM

    Curry and couscous are just made for each other. I crave salads like this. Thanks for sending it to Souper Sundays. ;-)

  6. […] Janet of the taste space made Curried Couscous Pilaf with Peas and Currants from a July 1994 issue o…. […]

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  8. […] Make List’ has been his Curried Red Lentil and Apricot Soup. I would categorize this as the other kind of Indian food. If I have to tell you this is a curried soup, then it isn’t from […]


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