I am quite slow when it comes to following cooking trends. Chia seeds? Haven’t used them yet, although I do own a bag and lovingly glance at it from time to time. Then, there is cauliflower in its unexpected uses, like the super popular pizza crust and processed versions that mimic rice. The only non-traditional preparation I embraced long ago was mashed cauliflower for a low-carb take on mashed potatoes. It turns out I am so fond of it, that the real thing almost never finds its way into our kitchen. It is a bit puzzling that I ignored all other “out-there” uses for cauliflower. Better late than never, I now profess my newest found love: cauli-couscous. Please, if you haven’t tried it yet, do not twist your nose at it. The tiny bits of cauliflower end up with a texture very similar to its semolina cousin, and seem to absorb flavors even more efficiently. A very versatile dish, you can take it in many different directions by changing the veggies, the spices, herbs, and the cooking liquid. Just as you would with… couscous! 😉
1 head of cauliflower, broken into florets
1 Tablespoon grapeseed oil + drizzle for chickpeas
1 can of chickpeas, drained and well rinsed
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
3/4 teaspoon salt, divided (1/4 + 1/2 tsp)
pinch of cayenne pepper
juice of 1 lemon mixed with 1/4 cup water
8 cherry tomatoes, quartered
1 English cucumber, diced
1/4 cup slivered almonds, toasted
fresh parsley, minced (to taste)
Prepare the chickpeas: Warm a dry skillet over medium-high heat and toss chickpeas in warmed skillet for about two minutes to remove any residual moisture. Be sure to shake the pan and/or stir the chickpeas. Sprinkle the chickpeas with cumin, salt, and cayenne pepper. Drizzle a little grapeseed oil over the seasoned chickpeas and toss to combine. Keep stirring the chickpeas and adjust seasonings as desired. When the chickpeas are well saturated with flavor, remove from heat and reserve.
Place the cauliflower florets in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until the cauliflower reaches the desired consistency, not too fine, not too coarse. You will need to stop the processor a few times and move the large pieces around. Transfer to a bowl, and marvel at how beautiful your fake couscous looks.
Heat 1 Tablespoon of grapeseed oil, add the cauliflower, and saute until it starts to get some color. Add the water and lemon juice, cover the pan and simmer just for a few minutes. Add the tomatoes, cucumber, almonds, adjust seasoning with salt. Add the reserved chickpeas, toss gently to combine using low heat. Remove from heat, add the fresh parsley, and serve.
to print the recipe, click here
I was surprised by the amount of “couscous” the single head of cauliflower produced. Isn’t that beautiful?
Once more I used the skillet dried chickpeas “invented” by Kelly, from Inspired Edibles. I did not want them to get soggy, so they were added in the final moments of cooking, right before serving. Still, even next day after a brief torture in the microwave, the chickpeas were very tasty. Maybe a little less crunchy, but nothing to be disappointed at.
On a side note, whenever I say “invented” I think about one of Seinfeld’s classic episodes… Merlot? Never heard of it. Did they just invent it?” 😉
I decided to call this recipe “Mediterranean” because it does have a lot of the usual suspects in that style of cooking. Plus, Mediterranean has a nice gastronomic reputation. Everybody loves it. 😉
Before I leave you, I’d like to share a list of very creative uses for cauliflower, some will surprise you, I am sure. Did you know you can use it for a fake bechamel-style sauce? And that’s just the tip of the iceberg…
For the basic crust: The Best Cauliflower Pizza Crust, from Lucky Penny Blog
For a gorgeous example of the cauli-pizza: Roasted Pear and Caramelized Onion Pizza, from Inspired Edibles
Cauliflower Crust Calzone, from The Iron You
Cauliflower Crust Stromboli, from The Iron You
Paleo Moussaka, from The Iron You (Mike, aka Cauliflower Overlord, is a cauliflower magician, and in this post he uses it in a very interesting bechamel type sauce)
Cauliflower Fried Rice, from Skinnytaste
Spicy Buffalo Cauliflower “Wings”, from Inspired Edibles
Cauliflower Pancakes, from Healthy Recipes
Cauliflower Gnocchi, from The Food in my Beard
Ricotta and Cauliflower Gnocchi, from Divalicious Recipes in the City
and if you thought sweets are off-limits, think again
Cauliflower and Chocolate Ice Lollies with Pistachio Dust, from Veggie Desserts
Cauliflower Chocolate Cake, from Divalicious Recipes in the City
Chocolate Chip Banana Cauliflower Muffin, from Once Upon a Gourmet Gin
I hope I convinced you to give cauliflower couscous a try, I am definitely in the mood for a cauliflower pizza crust, just for the fun of it…
ONE YEAR AGO: Tlayuda, a Mexican Pizza
TWO YEARS AGO: Paradise Revisited
THREE YEARS AGO: Feijoada, the Ultimate Brazilian Feast
FOUR YEARS AGO: Vegetable Milhojas
FIVE YEARS AGO: Italian Bread