Cauliflower Tabbouleh Salad

Flavorful with a hint of the exotic, Cauliflower Tabbouleh Salad is a nutritional powerhouse!  And it comes together in minutes using just a food processor! Cauliflower Tabbouleh

I am always looking for creative ways to serve vegetables and was delighted to find a recipe for Cauliflower Tabouleh from Eating Bird Food.  Although tabbouleh is normally made with bulgur wheat, in this version the cauliflower is chopped very fine to substitute.  This makes it suitable for those who are gluten intolerant or cutting carbs and gives it a calorie and nutrition advantage for everyone! 

Did you know that cauliflower doesn’t freeze well?  That means I feel pressured to eat up everything the CSA delivers.  And once you add cherry tomatoes and cucumber, this Cauliflower Tabbouleh is a locavore’s dream!

cauliflower tabbouleh

What is Tabbouleh?  

Collins Dictionary defines tabbouleh as “a Middle Eastern salad of soaked bulgur wheat and finely chopped parsley, tomatoes, scallions, and mint leaves, with an olive oil and lemon juice dressing.”  You may also see it called to tabouli or sometimes tabouleh.

In this recipe the bulgur is replaced by finely chopped cauliflower.  This skyrockets the nutrition in an already healthy dish!  And it makes it suitable for low carb/keto and gluten free diets.

Cauliflower Tabbouleh

Why You’ll Love This!

Quick and Easy!  I process everything, except the dressing right in the food processor, with minimal pre-cutting. It’s ready in minutes. 

Tasty and Unique!  Getting bored with coleslaw as a sandwich accompaniment?  This may be your answer!

Healthy and Special Diet Adapted!  I like the grains in the original, but cauliflower is even healthier.  And this works for vegan, gluten free and keto.  Make everyone happy!

cauliflower tabbouleh ingredients

What You’ll Need

Ingredient Notes

Salad:

  • Cauliflower.   Use a white cauliflower if you can to look like grain.  Or another color.
  • Parsley.  Parsley is a classic tabbouleh flavor.  You can also add mint.
  • Garlic. This also adds flavor.
  • Onion, ideally red. You can also use scallions.
  • Cherry tomatoes. You can use larger tomatoes, but you may need to adjust the dressing amount for the extra liquid
  • Cucumber.  

Dressing

  • Olive oil.  This is the oil part of the dressing.
  • Lemon juice.  This provides the acid to balance the oil.
  • Turmeric.  This adds middle eastern flavor.
  • Salt, pepper. 
  • Cumin (opt).  This adds more flavor and a little heat.
  • Coriander (opt).  This also adds flavor but can be omitted if you don’t have it.

Special Tools

  • While you could chop this by hand you’re probably going to want a food processor.

Step by Step Directions

Cut the cauliflower to remove the stem and break into florets that fit in your food processor.  Place the cauliflower, parsley, onion and garlic in a food processor. Pulse until the cauliflower pieces are the size of a grain (like bulgur).

finely chop cauliflower

Add cherry tomato halves and cucumber slices.  Process until they are “chunky”

add tomato & cucumber

In a separate bowl, whisk together the dressing ingredients. 

whisk dressing

Toss with the salad to mix.

add dressing to salad

How to Serve

You can serve cauliflower tabbouleh as a side for almost anything!  It is great with burgers and sandwiches and equally at home with a dinner entrée like a pork chop or chicken breast.

And it really shines alongside another middle eastern dish.  Some of my favorites include ANY kabob (like these No Marinade Lamb Kabobs or my Mixed Seafood Kabobs) and the easy and tasty Kefta in Tahini sauce.

cauliflower tabboulleh served with fish

Variations

This recipe is already vegetarian, vegan, dairy free and low carb!   Hooray!

Traditional versions generally included bulgur, an ancient grain, and sometimes quinoa.  But there’s no reason you can’t have a cauliflower quinoa tabbouleh. If you’d like to include the benefits of grain along with the cauliflower, just substitute it for half of the chopped cauliflower.

Another herb that tabbouleh often contains is chopped mint.  While I love mint in sweets, I am not its biggest fan in salads, but if you are, consider adding some in!

cauliflower tabbouleh

Leftovers

Leftovers will keep well refrigerated for a few days.  In fact because the cauliflower doesn’t absorb the dressing like a grain would, it keeps even better than the traditional version!  Just give it a good stir before you scoop it out! 

Since this is composed almost entirely of fresh raw vegetables, it is not something you will want to freeze.

Tips & FAQs

Chop the cauliflower very fine so it looks almost rice-like.  I like to keep the tomatoes and cucumber a little chunkier.

The dressing will settle so stir the dish before serving.

You can buy pre-riced cauliflower if you prefer.  But given how easy this is to make (a few minutes of pulsing in a food processor), why not consider grabbing a local cauliflower from your farmer’s market or CSA. 

Both tomatoes and cucumbers currently fall into the “worse” half on the EWG’s scale of pesticide contamination. So consider buying organic if you can. 

cauliflower tabbouleh

Cauliflower Tabbouleh

Flavorful with a hint of the exotic, Cauliflower Tabbouleh Salad is a nutrition powerhouse that comes together in minutes using just a food processor.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 10 mins
Course Salad
Cuisine Middle Eastern
Servings 8

Ingredients
  

Salad

  • 1 medium head white cauliflower
  • Handful of fresh parsley
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 onion ideally red
  • 20-30 cherry tomatoes halved
  • 1/2 cucumber thickly sliced

Dressing

  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/8 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper or to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cumin or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon coriander or to taste

Instructions
 

  • Cut the cauliflower to remove the stem and break into florets that fit in your food processor.  Place the cauliflower, parsley, onion and garlic in a food processor. Pulse until the cauliflower pieces are the size of a grain (like bulgur).
  • Add cherry tomato halves and cucumber slices. Process until they are “chunky.”
  • In a separate bowl, whisk together the dressing ingredients. Toss with the salad to mix.

Originally published on Jul 16, 2012

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37 thoughts on “Cauliflower Tabbouleh Salad

    1. Inger Post author

      Thanks–and it’s so easy and healthy, I eat it that way even though I’m not gluten free! Just served it for book club last night.

      1. Kathy

        I guess I should have worded my sentence better, Inger. (Gosh, type too darn fast!) I meant I wouldn’t have thought about cauliflower making a tabouleh dish. You are a genius!

  1. grace

    i’ve NEVER seen cauliflower transformed like this–what a marvelous creation! i would definitely add all the spices you’ve suggested, inger–well done!

  2. the RA Vegan

    That looks great! It works well for me, the vegan, and my son who is gluten intolerant. And would be a fabulous salad for me to eat off of for a few days. Yum.

  3. bliss46th

    I haven’t gotten cauliflower yet in my farm share box, but when I do I would love to try this recipe – sounds delish! so creative! thanks for sharing!

  4. Tammy

    Bookmarking this one! We are constantly looking for more raw dishes and those that don’t heat up the kitchen. Can’t wait for the cauli to arrive.

    1. Inger Wilkerson

      This year we’ve been able to say “it’s a dry heat” even in Wisconsin. Definitely stocking up on my no cook recipes! Have you ever looked at Pinterest for recipe collecting? That’s where I’m saving some of the things I plan to try…

  5. Louise

    Oh my goodness, Inger. Your Cauliflower Tabouleh looks so delicious I can hardly stand it! I didn’t know cauliflower didn’t freeze well. I’m pretty sure I’ve frozen it successfully in the past. But, it was a long time ago if I did and my memory surely isn’t what it use to be, lol…

    Thank you so much for sharing…

    1. Inger Wilkerson

      The original recipe didn’t have cucumbers so, although I think they add a lot, they can be left out in a pinch. This is certainly an unusual growing season in many places; I can’t believe how much I am needing to water.

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