cauliflower rice/couscous {two ways}

LF cauliflower couscous saladHave you tried making cauliflower couscous yet? Well, I felt really late to the game so you’ve probably already tried it, but am so glad I’m in it now! It’s insanely easy to make, and crazy satisfying. I use it anywhere I’d use rice or couscous, a nice base for a number of things to flavor it up. And seriously, I don’t know if I should call it rice or couscous, so will use those terms interchangeably, hope you don’t mind.

I mostly sauté a bunch of veggies and use it for a stir-fry kind of dish. But this being summer, I wanted to try it for salads instead. I’ve found a ton of inspiration, as you can easily get recipes for couscous or rice salads – and the cauliflower holds up really well. Not as light and fluffy as a couscous, but a great (healthy!) alternative.

I tested both of these dishes out on a group of friends at the beach the other night…and rave reviews all around. They are quite different, though they use very similar ingredients.

My favorite is more Mediterranean, lots of fresh flavors, and the salty bite of olives. The other takes cues from morocco, with a big hit of spices and some subtle sweetness from currants. Though they wouldn’t be expected next to each other at the dinner table, it can be fun to have a couple options to compare.

First, for the cauliflower couscous, your base.

Here’s what you need:

  • ½ head of cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • salt/pepper

How to make:

  • put the florets in your vitamix or food processor (I use my vitamix), and pulse until you have rice sized pieces of cauliflower. You might need to get in there and mix it up a couple times, just to be sure there aren’t any stray chunks hiding. They like to do that. With my vitamix, I blend at a level 2 or so, and use the dowel thing to make sure it’s all getting cut up.
  • Now heat the olive oil in a pan, nonstick if you have it, and once hot, sauté the cauliflower couscous for a few mins. Stirring often so it doesn’t overcook. You’re basically just taking the raw out of it. If you over cook, it still tastes good…just gets a bit mushy (not that I ever overcook anything). It did surprise me though how tough cauliflower is. I mean, with the boys running about I sometimes lose track of how long something has been on the stove.
  • Now that’s it! Seriously, less time that making rice or couscous, right? And now you’ve got the base for one of these salads, or anything else your pretty little mind can dream up.

LF cauliflower couscous salad_1

Mediterranean cauliflower couscous salad (adapted from a couple recipes on tasting table which is an amazing source for food inspo!):

what you need:

  • cauliflower couscous (recipe above)
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1/2 cup chopped parsley
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (adjust to your spice tolerance)
  • 1/3 cup sliced green olives
  • 1/2 cup slivered almonds, lightly toasted (I bought them that way, but you can do your own, if you’re fancy like that)
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

LF cauliflower couscous salad

how to make:

  • make the base couscous recipe and then stir in all the above ingredients
  • that’s it, you really don’t need another recipe instruction

LF cauliflower couscous salad_2 LF cauliflower couscous salad_3

Moroccan couscous recipe

This one is super flavorful and has a boatload of spices. My absolute favorite spice right now is the intense ras el hanout, a North African beauty. You can blend yourself with a recipe here, but I’ve found it fairly easily at local grocery stores as well. Sometimes alphabetized under ‘moroccan spice’. You can buy online here.

what you need:

  • cauliflower rice (recipe above) – see that, RICE. or couscous. whatever.
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3/4 tsp turmeric
  • 3/4 tsp ras el hanout (see note above)
  • 1/4 cup sliced, toasted almonds
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley
  • 1/4 cup chopped mint
  • 1 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 cup currants (or raisins, or dates, whateva you got on hand)
  • salt & pepper to taste

LF cauliflower couscous salad_4

how to make:

  • sauté the garlic, turmeric and ras el hanout in about a tablespoon olive oil for a few mins until fragrant
  • Pull off the heat, add the prepared cauliflower rice and the rest of the ingredients
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • eat, and share if you can bear it

LF cauliflower couscous salad_5 LF cauliflower couscous salad_6

Hope you enjoy these flavorful dishes, I’ll be making all summer long!


3 thoughts on “cauliflower rice/couscous {two ways}

  1. They both look awesome! I’ve been meaning to make a cauliflower rice for the first time… Thanks for the motivation 🙂

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