Orange Sesame Couscous (Gluten-Free Option)

Orange Sesame Couscous from Avocado Alice

Today’s recipe was inspired by another co-worker/AmeriCorps member/friend, Shianne. Shianne is one of the nicest and sweetest people in the entire world, and always thinks to invite me whenever she has any sort of social gathering. She and her husband, Jordan, both work in my office. It’s been a lot of fun having a small cohort of work friends to hang out with over the last eight months, especially since I live in a small town where it’s hard to make friends if you’re not a college student or church-goer.

Two of the recipes I posted recently (poutine and cornbread) were both for my co-worker Kelsi, as we both tend to talk about food way too often. I felt a little bad making lunch twice for Kelsi and not doing it for anyone else in the office, so I thought I would be fair and ask Shianne what her favorite foods were. She didn’t give me a specific dish, but gave me a list of random foods she liked. This list included couscous, orange zest, pesto, and apricots. I did a bit of google searching and landed on a recipe for orange carrot ginger couscous from Cookie and Kate. After looking through my pantry and seeing all the Asian sauces and seasonings I still have to use up before I move in two months, I decided to give the original recipe an Asian twist, mostly through the use of sesame oil in place of olive oil. Here is my adaptation on the recipe. Although pesto isn’t included in my adaptation, I thought pine nuts were a reasonable substitution.

Orange Sesame Couscous from Avocado Alice

Recipe: Orange Sesame Couscous

Adapted from Cookie and Kate

Serves 3-4


  • 1 cup whole-wheat couscous (quinoa for gluten-free option)
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 cup orange juice (preferably freshly squeezed)
  • ¼ cup sesame oil
  • 5 teaspoons plain or rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons dried cranberries
  • 10 dried apricots, sliced thin
  • 2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
  • ¼ medium-sized red onion, diced (about ½ cup)
  • ¼ cup pine nuts or slivered almonds
  • 3 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 1/2 tablespoon chili garlic sauce or Sriracha (optional)
  • Salt


  1. In a small pot, combine water, orange juice, sesame oil, 4 teaspoons vinegar and a pinch of salt. Bring the mixture to a boil (or microwave in a microwave safe bowl for approximately 3 minutes), then and add the dried fruit and ginger. Let simmer for about 1 minute.
  2. After a quick stir, turn off the heat and add couscous. Stir just to eliminate any pockets of dry couscous. Cover the concoction with a lid or towel.
  3. The couscous will cook by itself in about 15 to 20 minutes. It may take longer if using quinoa. In the meantime, rinse the sliced onion under running water and then toss it with 1 teaspoon vinegar in a small bowl to mellow the flavor. In a small pan over medium heat, toast the nuts until lightly golden and fragrant, tossing frequently to prevent burning.
  4. When the couscous is cooked, fluff it with a fork, then mix in the onion, nuts, soy sauce, and optional chili sauce. Serve warm or chilled.

Also notable is that this recipe is a great meal for those who are traveling! It can stay fresh out of the rno bake granola bars from Power 20/Avocado Aliceefrigerator for several hours, and you can eat it hot or cold! For other good tips on eating healthy (and vegan!) while traveling, check out my latest post on the Power 20 blog. This blog post has recipes for no-bake granola bars (an original recipe), a hummus veggie wrap, and black bean salad.

This was such a fun challenge to take on! I know I don’t have much of a blog viewer ship right now, but I’d love another “Chopped”-esque challenge where someone gives me a list of four or five unrelated foods that they happen to like. If you’re reading this, throw a list my way, and I’ll see what I can come up with!


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