I loved potlucks pre-vegan because I would get to try all kinds of yummy creations at work, church, neighbors homes, wherever. When I became vegan I looked at these like a kid picked last in kick ball. I felt left out, unwanted, and underrepresented. How can I participate in an event that never accommodates me. There are large crockpots of meatballs and beautiful casseroles and of course someone brings cake and pie. All made with cream, butter, eggs, and meat. It smells good but alas I am out of the game. I pray for the person who brings bread and salad. However is that what I really want? No I want to bring and eat a delicious yummy array of foods and casseroles. So since it is summer dive into this Couscous salad that everyone will like but it gives you those carbs you need to get through an event without bringing Seitan or Tofu or something the carnivore’s may dub “weird” and not scoop a side dish of!
I built this recipe off one I saw at the Wynn Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas at their Buffet (although I think they may have added soy yogurt). As some of you may know, Steve Wynn turned vegan in 2010 and made my travel much easier so I make Las Vegas a travel destination now. Every restaurant at his hotel is required to serve a vegan menu in addition to its standard fare. So please go take a trip to Vegas grab some Couscous salad, hit it big on the slots, and then send me a message and tell me all about it!
Ingredients are simple:
4-6 cups prepared Pearl (Israeli) Couscous
1/2 cup of sliced raw almonds
1/4 cup -1 cup Orange Juice
1 tsp-1 tbsp Salt (for boiling water that couscous is in)
1 tbsp Curry powder (or more to taste, I use Penzey’s “Balti” Curry Powder)
1 bag diced dried Apricots (get the bright orange ones from the salad section)
Because your event size may vary I am going to be vague in this recipe.
Make your couscous per the instruction so that it is not sticky but dry and loose. Always salt your water with at least 1 tsp if not 1 tbsp of kosher salt. While still hot add the orange juice in small amounts, so it cooks down a bit.
Add the curry to taste. I start with a tablespoon and then go from there while the OJ is still warm in the couscous. I like to add a dash of turmeric to bring a nice yellow hue to the couscous without adding too much flavor, parsley will do this as well by adding a fleck of color.
Next, add almonds and diced apricots when the couscous has cooled. I use about 1/2 cup almonds and a whole package of apricots that I diced or cut into small pieces with meat scissors. This adds the crunch and sweetness you need to balance the dish.
Refrigerate until event. Serve chilled.
PS My mother hates curry so I called this Moroccan Salad and she ate it!