This grain-free Tabbouleh-Style Turmeric Cauliflower Salad is a nutritional powerhouse that’s perfect for your Memorial Day picnic.
I love Tabbouleh, a colorful and fresh vegetable and bulgur wheat dish often served in Mediterranean and Middle Eastern restaurants. Lately, though, I’ve been avoiding grains as part of some dietary changes I’m making for my health. That doesn’t mean I want to give up all of my favorites, though! I just need to get creative, and this Tabbouleh-Style Turmeric Cauliflower Salad is one result.
Swapping cauliflower for grains is nothing new. I do it in my Low-Carb Cauliflower Fried “Rice” which is one of my family’s favorites. So, subbing it for bulgar wheat in this dish was a no-brainer. I’m also trying to incorporate more turmeric into my diet due to its excellent anti-inflammatory properties among other great benefits. I drink Golden Turmeric Milk before bed most nights, but I figure there’s always room for more.
Why not add it to a cauliflower-based Tabbouleh, I thought. And so this recipe features the same herbs and fresh vegetables: crisp cucumber, vine-ripened tomatoes, some minced onion for zing, freshly-squeezed lemon juice, and plenty of parsley and mint straight from the spring garden. Plus, cauliflower and turmeric, of course.
Ricing the cauliflower is easy enough to do: just run the uncooked florets through your food processor with the grating blade, or use a cheese grater if you’d prefer. Heck, you can even stand there doing it with a chef knife the hard way if you want. The point is to get it to the size and consistency of rice or, rather, the bulgur that it’s replacing.
Once the cauliflower is riced, heat two tablespoons of oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. I used coconut oil, but olive or avocado oil would work just as well. When the oil is hot add the cauliflower and one teaspoon of ground turmeric then stir well. Continue cooking, frequently stirring, until the cauliflower is softened — about 3 minutes — then remove the pan from the heat and let the cauliflower cool to room temperature.
While the cauliflower cools, it’s time to prep the other ingredients. English cucumbers are ideal in this recipe, but my grocery store seems to think they’re made of gold. So I picked up a couple of regular ol’ American cucumbers to use. Whichever cucumbers you use, be sure to peel then slice them down the middle and use a spoon to scoop the seeds out. It’s easier to skip this step, of course, but then you’ll wind up with a soupy salad that’s hard to eat and doesn’t last long in the refrigerator.
Scooping the seeds from the tomatoes will also help prevent that liquidy mess. Just cut them open and push your thumb through to remove the seeds then turn the tomatoes upside down on a cutting board to drain. The drier you can get them before chopping the better — even if you need to pat them with a paper towel.
After the tomatoes and cucumbers are seeded, it’s time to mince everything. I do mean mince, too: you want a little taste of each ingredient in each bite, with no single flavor overpowering the rest. If you’ve got kids, they can help with the herbs — just strip the leaves from the parsley and mint into a cup and let them snip away with scissor tips.
After that, combine all of vegetables and herbs in a large bowl. Add the juice of two lemons, some fruity olive oil, and a little salt then let it chill in the fridge for at least an hour, so the flavors have a chance to combine. Serve it with homemade pita bread wedges or lettuce leaves to scoop it up, or dish it into small bowls to eat as a salad.
This Tabbouleh-Style Turmeric Cauliflower Salad can last up to 5 days in the refrigerator, making it a great salad to fix ahead of time or as part of a weekly meal-prep session.
Serves: Serves 10
- 1 head cauliflower
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil
- 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 2 vine-ripened tomatoes, seeded and drained
- 2 cucumbers, peeled and seeded
- ¼ yellow onion
- 3 large bunches fresh parsley (1 cup after mincing)
- 2 large bunches fresh mint (1/2 cup after mincing)
- 2 fresh lemons
- 2 tablespoons fruity olive oil
- Grate the cauliflower in the food processor or with a cheese grater until it is the consistency of rice.
- Heat the coconut oil in a large skillet over medium heat then add the cauliflower and turmeric. Cook, occasionally stirring, for 3 minutes or until softened but not limp. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature.
- Mince the tomatoes, cucumbers, onion, parsley, and mint.
- In a large bowl, combine the cooled cauliflower, tomatoes, cucumber, onion, parsley, and mint. Stir well then add the lemon juice and fruity olive oil. Add salt to taste. Chill 1 hour to let flavors combine. Stir well before serving.
- Serve with homemade pita bread wedges or lettuce leaves to scoop it up, or in small bowls as a side dish. Keeps well in the refrigerator up to 5 days.