For a pure vegan take on tabbouleh, Chef Jeff has enlisted the undercover vegetable now becoming more mainstream in your pizza crust, moonlighting in macaroni and cheese, now camouflaging its cauliflower self in places no legume has gone before. Traditional tabbouleh salad is made with bulgar wheat or even couscous. As usual, we push the palate limits, and he's created a grain-free version of this Lebanese dish using - cauliflower.
What makes this work, is the texture of the cauliflower when you grate it. It leaves it slightly grainy, and still retains its ability to absorb the bright flavor of the fresh lemon juice accentuated by the parsley, tarragon, and of course, the expected mint.
As you prepare this dish, you'll notice that the diced cucumber, small pieces of tomato, mint, hint of fresh garlic, and lemon juice lend themselves what your senses will recognize as traditional tabbouleh. The scent of the fresh tarragon leaves will remind you slightly of licorice, but the taste is totally and pleasantly different.
Get ready to indulge in a gluten-free summer salad that leaves lettuce in the dust. Even if you're not on the gluten-free bandwagon, (I'm not!) you'll be amazed how this close cousin to the original tabbouleh can convince you that the taste and texture are veggies imitating grains at their best, with a fewer calories as a result! (Oh yeah! We're all about the summer skinny!)
Prior to serving, you'll want to stir the tabbouleh to distribute the natural juices. It stores well for up to 3 days in the refrigerator. (This is where the Emergency Eats part kicks in - prep ahead of time so you can just serve, sit, and eat at a moments notice!) As time passes, liquid from the tomatoes and cucumber will pool at the bottom of the bowl, in all of its delicious flavor. Just mix it in!
Tabbouleh is dense with fresh green herbs, so don't go subbing in your dried spices here. Another nice addition to this recipe would be basil. It's always fun to experiment with other fresh green herbs that are your favorites, too.
Chef Jeff plated this over kale and garnished it with extra lemon wedges and a sprig of mint. Another tempting touch would be to sprinkle crumbled feta over the top, too, or chopped kalamata olives for complimentary flavor and color.
1 large tomato
1 large cucumber
1 medium red onion
1 garlic clove
1 large lemon (plus 1 extra lemon for garnish, optional)
1 small head of cauliflower (approximately 4 cups grated)
3 + Tbsp fresh tarragon leaves
3 + Tbsp fresh mint leaves (reserve 4 sprigs for garnish, optional)
3+ Tbsp fresh parsley
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
kale (for plating, optional)
1. Dice the tomato, peel and dice the cucumber, and dice the onion.
2. Mince the garlic.
3. Roll up the herb leaves as tight as possible and mince into small pieces.
4. Add everything to a large bowl.
5. Squeeze the juice of 1 lemon over the veggies.
6. Add the salt and pepper. Mix.
7. Grate the cauliflower. Don't worry, most cauliflower heads are too big to use in their entirety. Chop away at it and gradually grate portions of it until you have 4 cups full. (You can wrap up the leftovers loosely in plastic wrap to use for another purpose.) You can grate it the old fashioned way, but I took out my handy, dandy food processor with the grating blade to make this task as easy as possible. Don't use the regular blade! You don't want mush! The key to this tabbouleh salad is achieving the right "grainy" texture with the raw cauliflower.
8. Add the grated cauliflower to the giant mixing bowl. Mix all ingredients together until they are well-blended. Refrigerate. This salad is best served cold.
Yields 4 -6 servings, depending on portion size.
Substitute basil for the tarragon, or add an equal portion of it to the mix for flavor variety. Trying different dense green finely minced herbs can elevate this salad to satisfy your personal preferences.
Refrigerate for up to 3 days.
Juices will accumulate in the bottom of the bowl/container. Mix them in prior to serving. They contain flavor and moisture that's key.
Consider garnishing the top with crumbled feta cheese and/or sliced kalamata olives for an extra flavor kick.