Roasted cauliflower tabouli
This might be one of the best recipes I have ever developed- seriously! I’m so f ‘n’ excited about this roasted cauliflower tabouli recipe. I could eat the whole batch in one sitting– it’s that good.
There are plenty of cauliflower tabouli recipes out there, but what sets this one apart is how I treated the cauliflower.
I really wanted it to have the texture and nutty taste of grain, so I took the riced cauliflower, tossed it with some sesame oil, spread it on a sheet pan and roasted in the oven for quite a while until it was toasty and golden — amazing! I can’t wait to try using it in place of couscous, cracked wheat, quinoa etc….in all sorts of recipes.
What is tabouli?
Tabbouleh (Arabic: تبولة tabūla; also tabouleh, tabbouli, tabouli, or taboulah) is a Levantine vegetarian salad made mostly of finely chopped parsley, with tomatoes, mint, onion, bulgur (soaked, not cooked), and seasoned with olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Some variations add garlic or lettuce, or use couscous instead of bulgur.
Why I love it
As you can tell from the description above, even traditional tabouli is a very healthy whole food dish. It is packed with flavor and goes well with any type of grilled meat or fish. Tabouli is a perfect summer salad, and it holds well at room temperature, making it perfect for picnics and potlucks. Tabouli was a dish that I grew up eating fairly often, because my mom loves it.
What’s up with the cauliflower?
With so many people eating paleo, keto, grain free, gluten free etc., I thought it would be great to create an alternative that fits all of these diets. I often make tabouli with quinoa, which is also delicious and gluten free. There are lots of cauliflower tabouli recipes out, there but I really wanted to create one that had the toasted, nutty flavor and texture of cracked wheat. It does require a few extra steps to get the cauliflower to this nutty goodness, but it is soooo worth it. You’ll swear you were eating grain.
Traditionally tabouli is dressed with equal parts extra-virgin olive oil and lemon juice. It is also delicious made with red wine vinegar in place of the lemon. For this recipe, I cut the oil way back — not only is it healthier, it keeps the texture of the cauliflower where I want it to be.
Roasted Cauliflower Tabouli
- 7 cups cauliflower, riced*
- 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 cup parsley leaves with tender stems, packed (finely chop after measuring)
- ¼ cup mint leaves, packed (finely chop after measuring)
- 6 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (or red wine vinegar)
- ½ English cucumber (seedless), diced into ¼-inch pieces
- 1 cup Compari tomatoes, diced**
- Kosher salt (to taste)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a large bowl, mix cauliflower 'rice' with the 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil until evenly coated.
Spread the cauliflower evenly on a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper, and roast in the oven for 45 minutes to an hour. Using a fork, fluff and move around the cauliflower every 20 minutes to help it brown and dry out evenly. Remove the cauliflower from the oven, and let it cool.
While the cauliflower is roasting, add the olive oil, parsley, mint, lemon juice, cucumber, tomatoes and salt to the bowl, and mix well.
Gather the parchment paper together from the corners, and use it to transfer the cauliflower back into the bowl with the other ingredients. Mix well.
*To make riced cauliflower, use a large head of cauliflower, coarsely chopped. Pulse cauliflower with in a food processor, or grate on the largest holes on a box grater until rice-like in texture. You can also buy riced cauliflower in most supermarkets now in either the fresh prepped vegetable section of the frozen vegetable section.
Roasted Cauliflower 'rice' can be made three days ahead. Chill in a resealable container.
**In Massachusetts, we are able to get delicious fresh Compari (small on the vine) tomatoes from Backyard Farms in Maine year round. If you live in other parts of the country, you should be able to find fresh Compari tomatoes in your produce section -- but if not, use grape or cherry tomatoes. They will have the sweetest, freshest flavor.