I’m not a fan of raw cauliflower. It’s the vegetable (along with raw broccoli) that I always avoid on veggie plates. It doesn’t matter how much ranch or hummus or garlic aioli you smother on it, I just don’t like it. Cooked cauliflower — or even better — roasted cauliflower, I’m all over that.
So when my mom made us this salad when she was in town to help us move in, I was really surprised. When grated, mixed with fresh herbs and a tangy dressing, cauliflower transforms into something else entirely.
Tabouli is a traditional Lebanese salad made with bulger, mint, parsley, and tomato. This ‘cabouli’ (which my mom originally sent as ‘cauli-bouli’ but was worried that was too cumbersome and confusing — so cute to see her play with recipe names) is definitely a departure from the original, but has the same fresh, herby flavor balanced with a nutty grain.
This is the perfect holiday potluck salad. The pomegranate seeds give it a jewel-like festivity, it stores well, and the nuts and seeds make it heartier and more substantial than lettuce salads. You can switch out the pomegranate with dried cherries or cranberries if you’re so inclined. Pomegranates take a while to peel but they add such a lovely tartness and sweetness I think they’re worth the effort. I also used black sesame seeds instead of white for a nice contrast. You can find black sesame seeds in Asian foods stores.
Raw cauliflower tabouli
1/2 cauliflower coarsely grated
1 cup cooked quinoa
1/2 cup mint, chopped
1/2 cup parsley, chopped
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
1/4 cup sliced almonds
1/4 cup sesame seeds (optional)
1/2 cup pomegranate seeds
juice of 1 lemon
4 tbs. olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
In a large bowl, mix grated cauliflower, quinoa and herbs.
Dry roast seeds and almonds in a skillet over medium heat, until golden, about 3 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from heat and let cool.
Add lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper to taste and toss. Add nut mix and pomegranate and mix.
To speed up the preparation process, you can use a food processor to chop the herbs, pulsing. Use the grater blade to grate cauliflower.