Roasted cauliflower and sweet potato combine with deeply seasoned, curried couscous to create an aromatic salad.
Curried couscous salad is an easy meal that's simple enough for a weeknight meal but special enough for a dinner party.
What I love about couscous is how quickly it cooks up! You just add it to boiling water and let it soak in the moisture for five minutes, and it's ready.
The key to this basil curried couscous is seasoning the liquid that you're cooking the couscous in and seasoning even more after cooking. The result is a dish that's packed with flavor.
Toss in tender roasted vegetables, and you've got a real showstopper!
Ingredients and substitutions
- cauliflower and sweet potato - Feel free to use your favorite roasted vegetables, if you like! Just make sure you end up with around four cups total. Different vegetables roast for different times, so check in on your veggies often, if you switch things up.
- olive oil - Oil helps the veggies get browned and crisp on the edges in the oven. You can use spray oil, if you want to. In the couscous, the oil helps it get fluffier and adds moisture. You can use vegan butter or extra broth, if you want.
- soy sauce - This adds both moisture and salt to bring out the flavor of the veggies.
- garlic powder and onion powder - Dried spices amp up the flavor of the vegetables even more!
- vegetable broth - Cooking your couscous in broth instead of water makes it more flavorful.
- curry powder, garam masala, and ginger - These are your curry spices. I wouldn't omit any of these.
- dry couscous - You can find this at most grocery stores. Make sure you're getting couscous and not Israeli couscous, because the cooking times on these are very different.
- basil - Added after cooking, the fresh basil brings so much depth to the flavors in this curried couscous!
- cashews - These bring protein and crunch. You can use other nuts or seeds, if you prefer, like sliced almonds or pumpkin seeds.
- fresh garlic - Adding fresh garlic after cooking gives this such a zippy flavor! If you don't like raw garlic, add it in with the broth instead of at the end.
- lemon juice - Brings in moisture and brightens up the flavors in the curried couscous salad.
How to make curried couscous salad
First, get the vegetables into the oven to roast, then make the couscous while the veggies are cooking.
Add the sweet potato and cauliflower pieces to a large sheet pan or cookie sheet. Sprinkle on the oil, soy sauce, and spices, then toss gently to coat the veggies.
Bake for 15-20 minutes at 450° F, stirring once, until the sweet potato is soft and the cauliflower is nice and browned.
Meanwhile, bring the broth, olive oil, curry powder, garam masala, and ginger to a boil in a large saucepan on high heat. Turn off the heat, and stir in the couscous. Cover the pot, and let it sit for 5 minutes.
Just before serving, use a fork to mix in the remaining couscous ingredients, gently breaking up any clumps of couscous.
Season to taste with more lemon juice, olive oil, and salt Toss with the roasted vegetables, and serve warm or cold.
- When preparing the vegetables to roast, make sure you cut them to the sizes specified in the recipe, so they will cook evenly.
- Do not boil the couscous! Remove the pan from the heat before adding the couscous to the pan. That will prevent it turning mushy.
- Couscous tends to stick together when it's cooking, so fluff it well with a fork before tossing it with the vegetables.
- You can serve this without the extra lemon juice and/or olive oil. It's really up to your personal tastes!
Leftover curried couscous salad will keep for three to four days in the refrigerator. Serve leftovers warm or cold.
Frequently asked questions
A lot of people think that couscous is a whole grain, but it's actually teeny, tiny pasta! It has a pretty neutral flavor and a texture that's a bit finer than quinoa.
Like other pastas, couscous gets mushy when overcooked. Because of its small size, you shouldn't boil it at all. Remove the pan from the heat before adding the couscous to the pan.
It's not. Couscous is made from wheat. I've never seen gluten-free couscous at stores, but if you find some, you can use that to make this curried couscous salad gluten-free.
More hearty vegan salads
Curried Couscous Salad
For the Roasted Vegetables
- 2 cups cubed sweet potato - 1" cubes (see note)
- 2 cups cauliflower florets - (see note)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
For the Curried Couscous
- 1 cup vegetable broth
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon curry powder
- 1 teaspoon garam masala
- ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 cup dried couscous
For the salad
- ¼ cup packed fresh basil leaves - minced
- ⅓ cup roasted cashews
- 2 cloves garlic - minced
- 1 fresh lemon - juiced
- extra lemon juice and olive oil - for finishing
Make the roasted vegetables.
- Preheat the oven to 450° F.
- Add the sweet potato and cauliflower pieces to a large sheet pan or cookie sheet. Sprinkle on the remaining ingredients, then toss gently to coat the veggies in the oil, soy sauce, and spices.
- Bake for 15-20 minutes, stirring once, until the sweet potato is soft and the cauliflower is nice and browned.
Make the curried couscous while the veggies roast.
- In a large saucepan on high heat, bring the broth, olive oil, curry powder, garam masala, and ginger to a boil.
- Turn off the heat, and stir in the couscous. Cover the pot, and let it sit for 5 minutes.
- Just before serving, use a fork to mix in the remaining couscous ingredients, gently breaking up any clumps of couscous. Season to taste with more lemon juice, olive oil, and salt Toss with the roasted vegetables, and serve warm or cold.