This grain-free Tabbouleh-Style Turmeric Cauliflower Salad is a nutritional powerhouse that makes a nice, colorful side dish. It’s easy to make, too.
If you aren’t familiar with Tabbouleh, it’s a vegetable and bulgur wheat salad that’s often served in Mediterranean and Middle Eastern restaurants.
As much as I love the traditional recipe, it’s nice having grain-free alternatives when we’re limiting carbs. So, I decided to try swapping cauliflower for bulgar in this one and am so pleased with the result.
Tabbouleh Cauliflower Salad Recipe
Swapping cauliflower for carb-heavy ingredients is nothing new, of course. These days, you can find “Cauliflower Tots” in the freezer section of the grocery store, and lots of people use it to make pizza crusts. It’s the star of my Low-Carb Cauliflower Fried “Rice” recipe, too.
So, subbing it for bulgar wheat in tabbouleh was a no-brainer.
If you’re looking to incorporate more turmeric into your diet for its anti-inflammatory effects, this recipe is a great place to start. (Try my Golden Turmeric Milk recipe, too. It’s soothing and delicious.)
Turning Cauliflower into “Rice”
Ricing the cauliflower is easy enough to do: run the uncooked florets through your food processor with the grating blade, or use a cheese grater if you’d prefer. 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.
Get Your Other Vegetables Ready
English cucumbers are ideal in this recipe, but my grocery store prices them like they’re made of gold. So I picked up a couple of regular American cucumbers instead.
If you go the frugal route with standard cucumbers, slice them down the center after peeling then use a spoon to scoop out the seeds. This step isn’t necessary with English cucumbers, but skipping it with the regular ones will create a soupy salad that doesn’t last long in the fridge.
Get the seeds out of the tomatoes, too. 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 the vegetables and herbs in a large bowl. Add the juice of two lemons, some fruity olive oil, and a little salt. Let the salad chill in the fridge for at least an hour, so the flavors have a chance to combine.
What to Serve It With?
Tabbouleh-Style Turmeric Cauliflower Salad pairs well with roast or grilled chicken or shrimp. Try serving it with homemade pita bread wedges or lettuce leaves to scoop it up, or dish it into small bowls to eat as a salad.
Leftovers last up to 5 days in the refrigerator if you’re good about getting those seeds out and patting the tomatoes dry. Unfortunately, it does not freeze well due to the tomatoes and cucumbers, so adjust the serving size in the recipe card if needed.
Tabbouleh-Style Turmeric Cauliflower Salad
- Food processor OR cheese grater
- 1 head cauliflower
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil can use olive oil
- 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 2 large tomatoes seeded and drained
- 2 cucumbers peeled and seeded
- 1/4 yellow onion minced
- 3 bunches fresh parsley 1 cup after mincing
- 2 bunches fresh mint 1/2 cup after mincing
- 2 whole lemons large
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil use a fruity one
- Salt to taste
- 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 to 5 minutes until softened but not limp. Remove from heat and let cool for 30 minutes to reach room temperature.
- Meanwhile, 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 30 minutes 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.