A fresh, grain free cauliflower tabbouleh recipe is quick and easy to make and packs a punch of flavor! Swapping traditional bulgur for cauliflower rice results in a bright and delicious, paleo-friendly, gluten free and Whole30 compliant cauliflower tabbouleh that's easy to make and tasty to eat!
What is tabbouleh
Tabbouleh is a vegetarian salad made mostly of finely chopped parsley, with tomatoes, mint, onion, bulgur, and seasoned with olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper.
Seeing as how I have a mostly paleo pantry, I don't have things like bulgur on hand. But you know what I do have? Cauliflower rice.
(Or as this ridiculous article likes to say, "cauliflower crumbles.") And everything outside of that in a tabbouleh salad is completely paleo. Game on.
First things first - let's discuss the proper spelling of the word tabbouleh. Before I made this tabbouleh recipe, I thought the internet knew everything. but apparently it does not know which version is the correct spelling.
Or maybe there is no correct spelling. Searches return the spelling I chose, but also with one less b (tabouleh) and with an i (tabouli), amongst others.
The spelling I chose seems to be searched the most, but how do you choose which spelling to search?
The world may never know.
Now, let's talk about how tabbouleh/tabouleh/tabouli is really just a bowl of parsley.
Up until this point in your life, you probably always thought of parsley as an herb and a garnish (of which it is both) but not actually the base for a salad. Don't worry, I did too.
Then the other day we were in a hurry, and wanted to try and find something healthy to take home, and we stopped at a Lebanese restaurant. They let you pick your meat kabobs, and then choose 2 or 3 sides from their case to go along with it.
We got some grilled veggies and a tabbouleh salad. The whole time I was eating it, all I could think about was how I was going to make it again at home.
And here we are.
Health benefits of parsley
Often used as just a garnish, the health benefits of parsley are commonly overlooked. But there are many benefits of this herb that should be incorporated into your regular diet.
1. Protects against breast cancer.
Parsley may have specific protective benefits against breast cancer. “It contains a chemical compound called apigenin that is known to help inhibit breast cancer cell growth,” says Amanda Capriglione RD, CDN.
2. Reduces inflammation.
Parsley is high in antioxidants like vitamin C, A, and E, which can help soothe inflammation. This can help reduce the risk of arthritis, an inflammation of the joints.
3. Can strengthen bones.
Ten sprigs of parsley is enough to reach your daily dose of vitamin K. Getting an adequate amount of vitamin K in your diet may help protect against bone fractures, as it helps make the protein for bones and blood clotting.
4. Fights off heart disease.
Raw parsley contains folate, an important B vitamin, making it a candidate for preventing heart troubles.
5. Freshens breath.
Eating some of the herb can help freshen the breath and mask any bad odors. Parsley acts as a natural breath freshener, and can be especially helpful after consuming garlic or onion.
How to adjust the taste of tabbouleh
The most prominent flavor after the parsley is going to be the lemon juice in this cauliflower tabbouleh.
I enjoy the tartness of the lemon juice, so I made mine quite lemony.
If you're not a fan of lemon taking center stage, you may want to add the lemon juice a bit at a time until it's to your liking.
I always say, you can put more in, but you can't take it out.
What to eat this cauliflower tabbouleh salad with
You can certainly eat this cauliflower tabbouleh salad by itself, but it also pairs great with meat or fish as well.
I baked some salmon and topped it with this salad before serving, and it was the perfect pairing.
The lemon flavor would pair well with some Citrus Glazed Salmon, and it would serve nicely with some tender chicken or shrimp as well!
Cauliflower tabbouleh recipe tips
I recommend cooking the cauliflower. You can use it raw, but keep in mind it will be a bit crunchy and not tender like the cooked bulgur we are trying to mimic.
We all know how I feel about extra steps when cooking (I hate them) and how I feel about cooking shortcuts (I love them).
When I'm making this, I'm working with pre-riced cauliflower from the freezer section, and I'm steaming it in the microwave before making the salad.
I would recommend chilling it a bit after cooking, so the hot cauliflower doesn't cook the parsley and tomatoes by proximity. You can chill it in the fridge or freezer while you're getting the rest of the ingredients together, then add it in!
Cauliflower Tabbouleh Salad
This cauliflower tabbouleh salad is a grain-free version of the traditional salad. Simple to make, Whole30 and paleo-friendly, and delicious!
- ½ cup cauliflower rice, cooked
- 2 bunches fresh parsley
- ⅓ cup fresh mint leaves, packed
- 2 roma tomatoes, diced
- ¼ cup lemon juice
- ¼ cup olive oil
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- In a food processor, combine the parsley and mint leaves and pulse until finely chopped.
- In a large bowl, combine the cooked cauliflower rice, diced tomatoes, and parsley/mint mixture and stir.
- In a smaller bowl, whisk the lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper.
- Pour the dressing mixture over the salad and toss well to combine.
- Store in an airtight container in the fridge for 4-5 days.
I'm a fan of cooking shortcuts. I use pre-riced cauliflower here, and microwave it to steam it/cook it beforehand. If you're steaming the cauliflower at the time of making the salad, I would recommend chilling it a bit after cooking, so the hot cauliflower doesn't cook the parsley and tomatoes by proximity. You can chill it in the fridge or freezer while you're getting the rest of the ingredients together, then add it in!
This salad is delicious eaten immediately after making, but if you give it a day or so in the fridge, the flavors blend a bit more and it is extra tasty!
Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 4 servings
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 136Saturated Fat: 1gSodium: 155mgCarbohydrates: 4gFiber: 1gSugar: 1g
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I also include chopped cucumber!
Great idea, Jenny! I have an odd aversion to cucumber and cucumber flavored things, but I am definitely the exception to the rule. 🙂 Sounds like it would add a delicious fresh crunch.
Your recipe is missing onion preferably green onion very well chopped and for better results you should cut (choppe) the parsely and mint by hand
Hi Walid, thanks so much for your comment! While some people do include onion in their tabbouleh, I prefer not to. I use the food processor to speed up the process - however you could certainly chop it by hand if you would like to!