Curried Orzo Salad with Roasted Cauliflower [recipe]

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A friend of mine loves Mendocino Farms so much and had told me numerous times that I have to recreate their Curried Couscous with Roasted Cauliflower at home. I’m so thrilled for this delicious recommendation and have made it several times since.

It’s a great salad to make ahead as it is yummers chilled or warm. I am always on the look out for easy lunch recipes as I work a sporadic schedule and have to eat lunch at home by myself often. Cooking for one is the worst and I usually end up snacking on whatever I have in the fridge, which often times do not qualify as a “meal”. This recipe makes enough for 10, but I cut all the ingredients in half so I’ll have enough for a few lunches, and still have some left for my husband as snacks. I usually eat this salad as an entree, but on days I want a hot meal, I enjoy a small scoops of it next to a hot panini or a hot bowl of soup.

This couscous (or orzo, in this case) salad is so scrumptious, full of flavor from all the spices yet does not overwhelm my taste buds. The roasted vegetables maintain a slight crunch, which is a great contrast to the soft pasta. The addition of mayo gives the healthy dish some richness so I did not crave for dessert afterwards.

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Mendocino Farms’ Curried Couscous with Roasted Cauliflower

Ingredient quantities adapted for 4-6 servings

  • 1/2 lb Israeli couscous or orzo (about 1.5 cups)
  • 1/2 head cauliflower, florets broken into pieces
  • 1.5 tsp curry powder
  • 1.5 tsp turmeric
  • 1.5 tsp ground cumin
  • 1.5 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp salt, more to taste
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper, more to taste
  • 1.5 Tbsp light brown sugar, more to taste
  • 2 Tbsp oil
  • 1 carrot, peeled, finely diced
  • 1/2 cup vegan mayonnaise (or mayonnaise)
  • 1/2 bunch cilantro, chopped (I’m not a cilantro fan so I left this out)
  • 1/2 lime, juiced (more if preferred. I like mine with lots of lime!)

1. Cook the couscous or orzo according to the instructions on the package. Rinse in cold water, drain well, put in a bowl and set aside. Heat the oven to 450 degrees. (425F in a small toaster oven)

2. In a separate bowl, toss the cauliflower with the curry powder, turmeric, cumin, coriander, salt, cayenne, brown sugar and oil. Spread out on a foil-lined rimmed baking sheet and roast in the oven until cauliflower is browned around the edges but still crunchy, about 10 minutes. Remove just the cauliflower and put it in the bowl with the pasta.

3. On the same rimmed baking sheet, place the carrots and, using a spatula, toss the carrots with the leftover spices and oil. Roast the carrots until brown around the edges but still crunchy, about 8 minutes. (If you find that the spices and oil are a little overly browned from roasting the cauliflower, toss the carrots using the same proportion of new spices, salt, sugar and oil.) Add to the couscous.

4. Fold in the mayonnaise, cilantro and lime juice with the pasta. Taste, and adjust spices and seasoning if desired. Refrigerate, covered, until ready to serve.

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