Over the past few months, I have seen cauliflower couscous pop up here and there on different food blogs I follow. I always kind of shook my head thinking “cauliflower can’t replace couscous, I mean, how can a veggie taste like a pasta!?” Then I made it last week. Like the saying goes, don’t knock it til you try it. It was SO GOOD. Totally hit the spot. I served it along side some lemony herb roasted chicken. Perfect spring dinner.
I recommend starting the chickpeas first as they take the most time. While they are cooking, prepare the cauliflower, make the dressing, and chop up all the veggies.
All the salad ingredients ready to go (minus the roasted red peppers, they were hiding when I took the photo).
Cauliflower starts out looking like this…
And ends up like this! Cauliflower resembles couscous more in texture than in flavor. However, adding a delicious dressing will make both regular couscous and the cauliflower version sing. I recommend you pick up a head of cauliflower and make this recipe ASAP.
Veggies ready to go.
A shortcut for dressing: put all the ingredients in a jar and shake. Voilá – dressing!
Use all the dressing.
Stir and serve. This salad is good warm or cold.
Top with crunchy chickpeas. As you can see this was a side dish, but it can easily be a vegetarian main dish.
Mediterranean Cauliflower Couscous
adapted from The Kitchn
For the chickpeas:
1 (15-oz) can drained, rinsed and patted dry
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
For the dressing:
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon dijon style mustard
1 clove of garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
For the salad:
1 large head cauliflower, cut into florets
1 1/2 cups cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
1/2 red onion, diced
1/3 cup kalamata olives, finely chopped
1 English cucumber, finely chopped
1/4 cup roasted red peppers, finely chopped
1 cup parsley, finely chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
Chickpeas: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a bowl, combine all the spices and olive oil and mix to combine. Add in the chickpeas, stir until they are coated completely with the oil/spice mixture. Spread out on a parchment or foil lined cookie sheet. Bake in oven until lightly browned and crispy, tossing half way through cooking time. Total cook time is 35-45 minutes depending on oven.
Dressing: combine all ingredients in a jar with a tight fitting lid. Shake jar until all ingredients are combined and set aside.
Cauliflower Couscous: Place half of the cauliflower florets in a food processor. Pulse cauliflower until it resembles fine crumbs. Be careful not to over process (you don’t want a puree!). Dump cauliflower crumbles into a bowl. There may be some large pieces that were not processed, remove those pieces and put back in the bowl of the food processor. Add the remaining florets and process the second batch. Once crumbled, add to first batch and pick out any large pieces that remain.
*You may also grate the cauliflower on a box grater.
Heat a large skillet over medium heat with one tablespoon of butter or olive oil. Add in cauliflower couscous, add a bit of salt, stir and cover. Cook for 5-8 minutes until the couscous is tender.
Add cooked couscous and chopped cucumber, tomatoes, olives, roasted red peppers, onions, and parsley to a large bowl. Add all of the dressing and toss to combine. Serve topped with the crunchy chickpeas.
Cue amazement that you are eating a veggie in place of a pasta and don’t miss the pasta one bit. I know I didn’t miss it.