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! 😉
MEDITERRANEAN STYLE CAULIFLOWER COUSCOUS
(from the Bewitching Kitchen, inspired by many sources)
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
Cauliflower Pesto, from Vintage Cooking Notes, tried and loved by yours truly
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
28 thoughts on “THE COUSCOUS THAT WASN’T”
I’ve seen recipes for cauliflower risotto and as I’m not a huge fan of cauliflower I didn’t try it. The other night we were having dinner with friends and what did she serve? Cauliflower risotto but hers didn’t look as good as yours. It did taste fantastic though. I’m convinced!
You should definitely try this, Maureen…. it is very good, and Phil, the anti-cauliflower loved it too….
If I didn’t know, I would have thought this was regular couscous. I’m not a big fan of cauliflower either but I’ve seen in making everything from sushi rice, risotto and now couscous. Quite a versatile vegetable.
Pretty versatile indeed, I thought the gnocchi was a cute idea, one of these days I will give that a try
I will try it today!
Awwwww Sally, you flattered…”cauliflower magician”? I don’t think I deserve that title. But I’ll take it nonetheless.
For future references I like also “cauliflower king” or “cauliflower overlord”m just to give you heads up!
BTW loving this cauli tabbouleh; looks so fresh, tasty and healthy!
Edited my post to address His Highness with proper respect! 😉
Thanks for the link. I am a huge fan of cauliflower and love some of the suggestions!
You are more than welcome! 😉 thanks for stopping by….
Sally, anything with chickpeas in it HAS got to be good! However, I’m skeptical over some of the idea’s offered up with cauliflower. I think the fact that the veggie has no color is what really turns me off. It just appears naked, stark, unfriendly. I say all of this and yet years ago I was into making cauliflower in white sauce. A recipe from an old Better Home’s and Garden cookbook. Delicious!
Your dish looks AMAZING! Have a great day, pretty lady. 🙂
Agree with you, the bland color is a drawback, but if you add a ton of colorful stuff to it, problem solved! 😉
(Nice to see you here!)
:-), I see a post from you and I run right over, coffee cup in hand!
I am definitely making this soon. love all the combination of ingredients! will be perfect for a nice brisket.
There you are, your comment made it after all! 😉 Agree, very nice side dish for a brisket… we actually enjoyed it with a very flavorful pork tenderloin that I shall blog about in the future. Maybe not near future, but…. it will be shared
From this title I was expecting a recipe fail, and I was pleasantly surprised! What’s so great about couscous is really its texture, so I’d imagine that cauliflower would be a nice, close substitute.
I’ve got a few recipe fails, but this was not one 😉 I hope you try this fake couscous when you have a chance, it’s surprisingly good, and quite a bit lighter
Fantastic! I LOVE this!
Glad you liked it!
I like the idea of the chickpea/cauliflower combination very much and it looks almost like a tabbouleh dish. I confess I prefer raw to cooked cauliflower because that is how I was brought up eating it. I like the crunch and the nubbly texture and the almost nutty taste, reminds me of young hazel or cobnuts, especially with a nice vinaigrette!
Some of the recipes I see around do not cook it, just add dressing – I decided to cook it this time, afraid that raw it would be a bit too harsh, and maybe I could enjoy it, but Phil would not be too wild about it.
Haha, it’s hard to keep up with all the ‘trends’ for sure — some of them are definitely worthwhile though and your cauli couscous looks fantastic! Thanks so much for the link love. The cauliflower pizza crust worked out better than I had ever dreamed (I was truly skeptical of this one) but our family really enjoyed it and funny enough, I just got the nicest note from a couple who made the recipe for their “date night” and reported on what a great meal it was, etc. they even sent me a photo! (happy blogger moment :). I have made cauli mash but have not yet tackled cauli rice/couscous so your post is delicious inspiration. Love the Mediterranean twist and how you’ve added chickpeas to round it out into a meal. Beautiful recipe.
How nice, I love when I get these types of emails, sometimes they refer to recipes that have been on the blog for years, pretty cool….
now, those chickpeas are something! Forever in debt with you for sharing the recipe with your readers….
I have yet to try cauliflower in any special way. I do enjoy it normally as a vegetable so I assume as variations I would love it too. I must get on the craze at some point. This cous cous looks amazing. The Mediterranean flavors are indeed wonderful for the tummy!!
If you love cauliflower already, I am sure many of these crazy uses will please you too…. I wish I could make the pizza crust this weekend, but unfortunately we will work tomorrow and half of Monday…. those bacteria have no mercy on us (sigh)
Fabulous! I bet this is good! I remember that I didn’t try pesto for ages because it was trendy!!!
I never would have thought about cauliflower couscous. What a fabulous idea. We’ve certainly begun to enjoy more and more cauliflower. Mr. N is obsessed with our spicy roasted version (as am I) and I just had it pan roasted with a jalapeno dressing. Delicious! I am definitely going to give this a try. it could be another great way to sneak a veggie to Miss A! 🙂
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