I'm not normally a huge lover of cauliflower. As a kid, I only saw cauliflower at Christmas and Thanksgiving, served alongside carrot sticks and celery with cold white dips. Who would go for that when you could suck black olives off your fingertips? As an adult, I usually pass on it at the market, associating it with gas (that's right, I'm talking about farts again), and assuming that it must be low in nutritional value. How nutritious can a white vegetable be?
Recently, however, it was brought to my attention that cauliflower makes a killer stand-in for certain grains like bulgur and couscous. As I've been trying to cut down my wheat intake and up my fresh veg intake, I figured I'd give it a shot. The result is this simple tabbouleh which is currently knocking my socks off, cauliflower and all.
AND, as luck would have it, cauliflower actually IS good for you. Really good for you. It contains several phytochemicals that are known to be cancer-fighting agents. It's insanely high in vitamin C. It's loaded with fiber while being low in calories. It's a good source of minerals like manganese, potassium, iron, and calcium. And yes folks, as is the case with most vegetables, a large percentage of its calories come from protein. (All calories come from either protein, fat, or carbohydrate.) In fact, 43.3% of the calories in cauliflower come from protein. Stick that information in your pocket and use it to chip away at the protein myth!
On with the recipe. This makes a huge batch that stores well for two to three days. If you're single, or don't like left overs, you may want to cut the quantities in half.
1 medium head cauliflower - cut into large chunks
1 bunch fresh parsley - about two cups finely chopped
1 small bunch fresh mint, finely chopped (optional)
3 cups cucumbers - cut into half moons
3 cups fresh tomatoes - large dice (or red bell peppers)
1 small yellow or red onion - small dice
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
2 T olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
Optional, but highly recommended additions to the dressing:
1 clove garlic - crushed and minced
1 tsp dried mint
1 tsp sumac*
1 tsp aleppo pepper
1 Tbsp greek salad seasoning
- Whisk together lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and any of the additional dressing ingredients and set aside.
- In a food processor fitted with the S blade, process the cauliflower until it resembles a coarse grain. A few whirls should do it, be careful not to go overboard.
- Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and mix well. Allow to marinate for 20 minutes or so before serving.
- Serve garnished with a heavy sprinkling of sumac. Enjoy!
*Sumac is the most underrated spice of the century. It's a souring agent, the mysterious purply flecks on a greek salad that make it so irresistible. Get yourself some, you won't be sorry.