There haven’t been that many movie nights the past few months in our house. Namely because Tony has been spending every waking moment tending to, pruning and generally singing sweet lullabies to his annual Croatian tomato patch. So goes it every year in our house. Although I certainly can’t complain, as when the tomatoes begin to flow, there is plenty of fresh juicy material for me to get creative with in the kitchen! This week marked the beginning of the harvest – so what better time than to share with you a fresh summery tomato-filled recipe!
As you’ve no doubt gleaned from my last few posts, we’re right in the thick of summer here in New Zealand. Which means lots of BBQ fodder, refreshing ice cream, and fresh summery salads. This week’s recipe I hope will add another beautifully fresh, quick and healthy option to your summer salad arsenal.
You may well have tried traditional tabouli before – a classic Middle Eastern staple. This lovely recipe takes that traditional classic and gives it a fresh, summery, gluten free twist by using cauliflower as its base instead of bulgur wheat. If you haven’t yet tried making raw cauliflower into a salad before then now is your chance! Or if you’ve tried my Pomegranate Cauliflower Couscous Salad then I’m betting you’re already well converted. It’s a simple, easy and healthy way to include more cauliflower in your diet, creates beautiful naturally gluten free and low energy dense sides, and will literally take you 2 minutes. Less time cooking and more time eating and enjoying = great in my book!
I’ve combined this refreshing raw cauliflower base with loads of parsley, mint, red onion, cucumber, a drizzle of beautifully herbaceous extra virgin olive oil, plenty of fresh lemon zest and juice, sea salt and of course our aforementioned tomatoes. Tomatoes, parsley and mint are all bounding aplenty right now, whether it be in your home garden or local market. Which means not only are they cheaper than normal, they also have the added benefit of containing a lot more nutrients and antioxidants than their non-seasonal hot-house grown counterparts.
This salad makes a fantastic option to take to a pot luck lunch/dinner or BBQ (which is where I took mine last night!). It’s super light thanks to the cauli base and not overpowering in flavour, so goes great alongside whatever else is being served at your BBQ table. You can then turn any leftovers into an easy mid-week work lunch by serving it with a generous helping of hummus or tahini drizzled chickpeas, and some toasted whole meal pita bread on the side.
Middle Eastern cuisine = a plant-based haven
If you haven’t already delved into the world of Middle Eastern, Lebanese and Israeli cuisine then my are you in for a treat. I love a lot of different international cuisines from around the world (everyone except standard NZ/AU/UK/US-euro seems to do a blindingly brilliant job at plant-based food!). However Middle Eastern flavours certainly hold a special place in my heart. If you love the hummus and falafels at your local kebab joint, then you’ll love this type of food too.
One particular thing I love about Middle Eastern cuisine is that it’s often served mezze style, with a selection of different dishes for everyone to share. And so this beautiful fresh Cauliflower Tabouli would work brilliantly with bowls of fresh babaganoush (eggplant dip), garlicky hummus, falafels, dolma and salma (veges or grape leaves stuffed with rice, mint, lemon and pepper), tzatziki (I make mine with coconut yoghurt, cucumber, mint, garlic and salt), olives and freshly toasted wholemeal pita breads.
This salad turns out best if the veges are quite dry before blending and chopping, especially the cauliflower. If your cauli is wet (ie you’ve just rinsed it) and you blend too much, you may end up with cauliflower mash instead of crumbs. You can happily double this recipe too, but I recommend blending the cauliflower in two lots, ½ a cauli at a time, to get a nice light texture and avoid any mushiness.
So get out in the garden (or your neighbours), grab a few of the new season tomatoes and make this beautiful and easy Cauliflower Tabouli salad. Then select a few of the other Middle Eastern treats above that take your fancy, lay them out on the table, and get mezze feasting!
I’d love to see your Cauliflower Tabouli bowls in action, so if you do make this lovely salad, leave me a comment below or take a snap on Instagram and tag me @begoodorganics and #begoodorganics. I’d love to come say hello and see what you come up with!
Have a wonderful rest of your Saturday and a brilliant weekend.
PS If you like the look of this recipe, feel free to pin it on your Pinterest board, share it with friends on Facebook or Twitter, or post it to Instagram. And if you’re not already subscribed to my weekly recipe emails, make sure you do that here!
Please note – if you are wanting to meet any of the specific dietary requirements below, please read my recipe notes.
- ½ head cauliflower
- 2 c parsley chopped
- ½ c mint chopped
- 2 c tomatoes diced
- 2 c cucumber diced
- ½ red onion finely chopped
- 2 lemons zest of 2, juice of 1
- 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 garlic clove crushed
- 3/4 tsp sea salt
- black pepper to taste
- 1 tbsp hulled tahini optional
- Remove the leaves off your cauli, and chop the head in four before placing in your food processor. Blend until the cauliflower turns into a rough couscous.
- Mix all salad ingredients including the lemon zest in a bowl, lifting gently and folding so as not to crush the tomatoes.
- Add dressing ingredients to a jar and shake until well combined, then pour over salad and mix lightly again.
- Platter up, top with extra fresh herbs if you like and enjoy! This salad also tastes great the next day when the flavours have had a chance to mingle.
- The tahini is optional, but it does give it a lovely creamy twist!