Tabbouleh (Grain-Free)

Parsley – the real star of this show



When searching for some foodie inspiration I often have a good rifle through my ever expanding collection of cookbooks.  Sometimes it doesn’t matter how many times I’ve flicked through the same book I can still find that something new catches my eye – or I think of a different technique to adapt a dish.  I’ve a really good book based around seasonal ingredients and this Tabbouleh idea was plucked right from the colourful  Summer section.  Probably subconsciously because I had a stack of fresh parsley already in the fridge.

Since I already have a tried and tested Tabbouleh recipe in my box of recipes  – I have a box with bits of paper cut out of magazines, and recipe notes from friends –  this is what I used for the dish.  Well almost… I didn’t use bulgar wheat since I’m not a fan of grains or gluten, and instead subbed for some grated steamed cauliflower.   Tabbouleh is definitely meant to be a herb-based salad  so the more greens to cauli-rice ratio the better.  The cauli absorbs the flavours really well, so this is especially yummy the day after making.



Great make-ahead picnic or BBQ idea – I ate mine for dinner with a minted lamb steak, then took the rest along to my office picnic lunch  – which was blogged about in full on the guest post Rainbow Mackerel Salad by friend and colleague Natasha.

Ingredients (serves 4-6 as a side dish)

  • Half a medium sized head of cauliflower, grated (for speed I use the grating attachment on my food processor)
  • Juice of a lemon
  • 2 cloves of minced fresh garlic
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • Pinch Himalayan salt
  • 1/2 large cucumber, finely diced
  • 1 large tomato, de-seeded and diced
  • Big bunch of fresh flat-leaf parsley, shredded with a knife (inclusion of stalks optional)
  • Big bunch of fresh mint, shredded
  • 3 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive-oil


  • Steam the cauliflower ‘rice’ for 10 minutes.  You could use the cauliflower raw (and this would become a raw dish, but I find raw cauliflower has too strong a taste, and difficult to digest.  Remove and set aside until cooled.
  • Meanwhile make up the dressing.  Mix the minced garlic with the lemon juice, spices and salt.  Do not add the oil at this stage as the oil sticks to the spices, and the flavours develop better this way.    Set aside.
  • When the cauliflower is cold, combine in a large bowl with the cucumber, tomato, and herb leaves.  Combine the olive oil with the dressing and toss with the salad.

Tip.  Since this was a trial and I had no idea how much cauliflower I would need I made up an entire head of cauliflower.  I used half for this recipe, and then froze the rest in two  separate freezer bags.  I’ll be using them as rice substitutes for quick meals soon!

Serving suggestion – with some Greek Meatballs and some Butternut Squash dip !

5 thoughts on “Tabbouleh (Grain-Free)

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