Grain-free Tabbouleh Salad (made with cauliflower)

Refreshing Lebanese parsley salad. This Gluten-free and Paleo version is made with cauliflower ‘rice’, roasted with seven spice until fragrant and nutty.

Grain-free Tabbouleh Salad (made with cauliflower)

Tabbouleh is a simple and refreshing parsley salad from the Levant, which is generally served with grilled meat. It comprises of sliced herbs (parsley and mint), salad vegetables (cucumber, tomatoes and spring onions), a starchy grain (bulgar wheat) and a dressing that is equal parts oil to acid (olive oil and lemon juice). Gluten-free options can be made by substituting the bulgar wheat with quinoa or millet. A grain-free option can be made by using cauliflower florets that have been finely chopped to a grain-like consistency. When toasted in the oven, these cauliflower ‘grains’ take on a lovely nutty flavour.

Tips & Tricks

  • Remove the seeds from the salad vegetables – these dilute the flavour and waterlog the salad
  • Use a sharp knife to chop the herbs – a dull blade will crush the leaves and turn them to mush
  • Toss with your hands – this is the most effective way to evenly coat the leaves in dressing
cooking time
Grain-free Tabbouleh Salad


for the cauliflower ‘grains’:

  • 1 cauliflower head
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons Baharat Spice Mix (replace with 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin, 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice,  1/2 teaspoon paprika and 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon if you cannot find)

for the salad:

  • 6 spring onions
  • 1/2 cucumber
  • 2 tomatoes
  • 1 large bunch of fresh parsley (100g)
  • 1/2 small bunch of fresh mint (15g)

for the dressing:

  • 4 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


  1. Toast the cauliflower. Preheat the oven to 200°C/390°F. Place a large metal roasting tray in the oven to warm up.
  2. Remove the leaves and stalk from the cauliflower and discard. Chop into quarters, then cut out most of the hard core. Roughly chop the florets. Place in a food processor and pulse in batches until the cauliflower resembles small grains of rice. If you don’t have a food processor, then coarsely grate.
  3. Add the  olive oil and Baharat spice mix (if using). Toss until evenly coated in oil and seasoning. Thinly scatter over the roasting tray in a single layer  – use two trays if necessary. Transfer to the oven and cook until just starting to colour and take on a mild nutty flavour – about 10 minutes. Stir the cauliflower and turn the tray halfway through for even colouring. Remove from the oven and leave to steam dry for at least 10 minutes, while you prepare the salad.
  4. Chop the salad vegetables. Finely slice the spring onions. Peel the cucumber and chop in half lengthways. Gouge out the watery seeds with a teaspoon and discard. Finely dice. De-seed the tomatoes by chopping in half around the equator. Then hold over a waste bowl and gently squeeze out the seeds, using your thumb to gouge out any stubborn seeds. Finely dice the flesh.
  5. Shred the herbs. Here comes the time-consuming part. Rinse the parsley in cold water to remove any dust and grit. Shake off the excess water, then gently pat dry with kitchen towel. Pluck the leaves from the stems, and discard the stems. Finely slice the parsley leaves in batches, using a long, sharp kitchen knife. Avoid using a mezzaluna or mechanical chopping aid, as this will crush the parsley and leave you with green mush rather than crisp slices. Repeat with the mint.
  6. Assemble the salad. Combine the dressing ingredients in a jam jar (lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper), and shake vigorously until blended.
  7. Combine the salad ingredients in a large bowl (cauliflower, spring onion, cucumber, tomatoes, parsley and mint), and mix well. Pour over the dressing, and toss until evenly coated using your hands.
  8. Serve immediately, or store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.



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