Foodist Approved: Grain-Free Tabouleh Salad

by | Jan 14, 2015
grain-free tabouleh

grain-free tabouleh

This grainless variation of a Lebanese classic was specially requested by Darya’s husband, Kevin. Kevin came across a tabouleh salad made with cauliflower instead of bulgur while on a work trip and has been craving it ever since.

Because just about everyone can benefit from more veggies and many of us are sensitive to grains, it seemed like a genius substitution.

I love how much the roasted cauliflower resembles couscous once pulsed a couple times in the food processor, only sweeter and fluffier. A definite keeper!

Tomatoes in the wintertime remind me of soggy cardboard—flavorless and mealy—so I used reconstituted sun-dried tomatoes. Of course come summertime, feel free to swap back in fresh cherry tomatoes.

Thanks for the inspiration, Kevin!

Grain-Free Tabouleh Salad

Yield: serves 4 as a side dish (5-6 cups)

  • 1 head of cauliflower, about 1.5 lbs, cut into small, evenly-sized florets
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 1 large bunch of parsley, stems removed
  • 1 bunch of mint, stems removed
  • 6 scallions, white and green parts, sliced thinly
  • 6 sun-dried tomatoes (or 1 cup halved cherry tomatoes)
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice (1 lemon)
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt, plus more to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
  • optional additions: 1/2 cup chopped walnuts, 1/2 cup crumbled feta

Preheat the oven to 425º F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Place the cauliflower florets in a large mixing bowl. Drizzle with the olive oil and toss with the cumin, salt, and pepper. Spread out on the baking sheet. Roast for 30 minutes or until lightly charred, stirring every 10 minutes to ensure even cooking. Set aside to cool.

Reconstitute the sun-dried tomatoes by soaking in boiling water for 10 minutes. Drain, chop finely and set aside (or you can use sun-dried tomatoes in oil and skip the soaking).

Pulse the parsley and mint in a food processor until finely chopped and place in a large salad bowl. Pulse the cauliflower until roughly minced (will look like couscous) and place in the same bowl.

Add the scallions, tomatoes, lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Toss until combined. Taste and add more salt if needed. For a heartier variation add walnuts and feta.

Cover and chill in the fridge until ready to serve.

Elyse Kopecky is a food writer, recipe developer, whole foods advocate, and marketing consultant. After 10 years working for Nike and EA Sports, Elyse decided to pursue her passion for talking about and writing about food. She went to NYC to study culinary nutrition at the Natural Gourmet Institute and has taken cooking classes throughout Europe, Africa and Asia. Follow Elyse’s adventures in the kitchen @ElyseKopecky.

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9 Responses to “Foodist Approved: Grain-Free Tabouleh Salad”

  1. Tami says:

    Soooo yummy! Just finished eating it for dinner tonight! Thanks Elyse!

  2. JK says:

    This sounds SO GOOD. I can’t wait to try it, since I eat grain free. Thank you!

  3. Always am impressed by the attractiveness of this site, not to mention the salivating recipes.

    Simply an excellent effort, Darya.


  4. Jen G says:

    thanks for this recipe, I just love baked cauliflower so I know this will be sweet. As a note: I only found out yesterday just how much more satisfying walnuts are if you soak them in water for a few hours before eating them. A friend of mine has been soaking nuts for ages but I only just tried it and wow! what a difference- better flavour, more satisfying (so you don’t want to eat heaps) and without the coughing I sometimes experience with nuts. Definitely a plus to this recipe 🙂

  5. Jen G says:

    Hi Elyse, can you write the calories for 1 portion of your recipe please. I want to get an idea of the calories of what I eat for a month or 2, which will then act as a guide without me needing to track it to the nth degree. thanks, Jen G

    • Rachel says:

      I put the recipe into Weight Watchers and came up with the following: with 2 oz of feta cheese added in, and 4 servings it came out to 7 points a serving. Take out the cheese, and it’s 6 points a serving. Although not really on Weight Watchers anymore, I just like to see where I still fall on it.

      Considering I get 31 daily points for my current weight and 49 weekly ‘flex’ points, this recipe as a ‘side dish’ works well for me. I had this in addition to roasted root vegetables and a small side of chicken.

  6. Rachel says:

    I outright hate cauliflower, and I decided to try this recipe out. I ate 1/4th of it right away. My husband took it in for lunch with some pita bread and said I can make this anytime for him. Since I had to buy a massive bunch of parsley and mint, I decided to go buy another head of cauliflower to make this again later this week.

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