Edit ModuleShow Tags

FreshTartSteph Recipe: Roasted Cauliflower “Couscous”


Published:

Photo by Stephanie Meyer

This side dish is a twist on the couscous salad that changed my life. For years, my go-to potluck contribution was a couscous salad, loaded with roasted vegetables, dried fruit, cheese, and nuts. It doesn’t wilt on a buffet and pairs well with barbecued meats and other salads. I made it for my own parties, brought it everywhere, and gave out the recipe (it’s more of a technique than a recipe, really, because you can add whatever you like to it) to many friends. I made it for our neighborhood block party one fateful night in August of 2010, in fact, and ate plenty of it, along with a hot dog on a bun washed down with beer.

I’d been having progressively debilitating health problems before that August night. For a couple of years, I had been battling joint pain, digestive distress, weight gain, water retention, low energy, and depression with physical therapy, exercise, medication, chiropractic care, acupuncture, and diet. To say that I was distressed to find no relief from my symptoms is an understatement. Luckily, I started to keep a careful food journal and noticed that when I ate bread or pasta, my joint pain and low energy would peak. As a cook and recipe writer, I was afraid to give up eating wheat, but after the couscous/hot dog/beer night in 2010, I was in absolute misery.

And so I quit eating gluten.

My symptoms improved so quickly, I’ve never looked back. In fact, I’ve progressed to eating no grains and adopting a paleo (whole foods) diet and I’ve never been healthier. There have been bumps along the way – experiments with adding back non-gluten grains that went terribly wrong, for instance. But for the most part, it’s been the adventure of a lifetime, both cooking- and health-wise.

And so I present this grain-free version of my old potluck stand-by. Now, if you can eat wheat, bear in mind that you can easily make a box of couscous and add in all of the delicious things below and presto, you have a quick buffet salad (couscous is lovely that way, five minutes and poof, done). But if you’re a cauliflower fan like I am (BIG time), and looking to eat fewer grains, well this recipe is for you. It doesn’t taste exactly like couscous, but roasting the cauliflower first does give it a wonderful texture and flavor (better than steaming the cauliflower, in my opinion). This version has been every bit as popular with friends and family as the original. See what you think!

Roasted Cauliflower “Couscous”

Serves 4

Note: The beauty of this recipe is in the throw-togetherness of it. None of the measurements need to be exact. I’ve included a base recipe with suggestions for add-ins. Stir in what you like for a combination of crunchy-chewy-salty-sweet and adapt it to whatever vegetables/fruits are in season.

1 large head cauliflower, cut into florets
1/4 cup olive oil or avocado oil
Salt
1/2 cup (or more to taste) dried cranberries (or raisins, dried cherries, dried apricots, etc.)
1/2 cup (or more to taste) sliced scallions (and/or garlic scapes)
1/2 cup (or more to taste) finely chopped parsley
1/2 cup (or more to taste) chopped kalamata olives
Zest of 1 lemon (or orange)
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon (or orange) juice

Optional add-ins:
Roasted vegetables (zucchini, red onion, winter squash, sweet potato, carrots, asparagus, green beans, kale, kohlrabi)
Raw vegetables (radishes, cucumber, arugula, spinach, celery, avocado, cherry tomatoes)
Roasted nuts (cashews, pepitas, pine nuts)
Crumbled cheese (goat, feta)
Chopped capers

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Arrange racks in the middle of the oven. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

Place cauliflower in a large bowl and drizzle with oil. Add 2 teaspoons salt and toss to coat. Divide cauliflower between baking sheets, spreading evenly. Roast for 20 minutes, then turn cauliflower pieces and switch pans in oven. Roast for another 20-30 minutes, until cauliflower is nicely browned in spots and tender.

Transfer cauliflower (working in batches if necessary) to the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until the texture of couscous. Scrape into a large serving bowl and add cranberries, scallions, parsley, olives, lemon zest, and lemon juice (and any optional add-ins). Season with salt to taste. Serve warm or cool to room temperature.
 

Edit ModuleShow Tags

Related Articles

4 Restaurants, Nearly $850,000 in Park Board Money

How much do Sea Salt, Sandcastle, Tin Fish, and Bread & Pickle make for the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board?

Fancy Fresh: 3 Things to Eat This Week

A morel tasting menu, a trendy foie gras egg creation, a worthy cinnamon roll—for your long-weekend staycation

Fried Avocado Tacos with Shredded Vegetables and Crema Recipe

Never thought of frying avocados? Once you try it, you might want to eat them all the time.
Edit ModuleShow Tags

About This Blog

TC Taste answers your restaurant and dining questions, dishes on latest discoveries, reflects on breaking news, and generally brings the plate to the page with a skilled crew of experts: Learn more about the TC Taste bloggers.

Have a food-related question? Email rhutton@mnmo.com

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

More »Recent TC Taste Posts

4 Restaurants, Nearly $850,000 in Park Board Money

How much do Sea Salt, Sandcastle, Tin Fish, and Bread & Pickle make for the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board?

Fancy Fresh: 3 Things to Eat This Week

A morel tasting menu, a trendy foie gras egg creation, a worthy cinnamon roll—for your long-weekend staycation

Fried Avocado Tacos with Shredded Vegetables and Crema Recipe

Never thought of frying avocados? Once you try it, you might want to eat them all the time.

The Minnesota Connection to the Mondavi Wine Family

MNMO food critic Jason DeRusha sits down with Carlo Mondavi to talk wine and the (Italian by way of Minnesota) family legacy

Santa Maria–Style Tri-Tip Recipe

Step up your grilling repertoire with Mexican-inspired seasonings on juicy tri-tip

Crazy Good: 3 Things to Eat This Week

Is that ice cream made with foie gras? Shh...just eat it...
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Mother’s Day Brunch

Driscoll's berries are the perfect ingredient for a Mother's Day brunch

Byte Minneapolis Doesn't Bite

Part "geek bar," part "cafe"—Byte is a Warehouse District counter service spot paying $15 minimum wage, vacation time, and benefits

Chinese-Spiced Pork Recipe

Let your slow cooker simmer up savory pork dinner while you enjoy your day

A Little Package of Joy Just For You

Driscoll's berries are the key to happiness.

Baja Style Fish Tacos Recipe

Gear up for Cinco de Mayo with light and crispy fish tacos dressed with fresh green salsa and a lime-infused coleslaw

A Stillwater Favorite for Good Reason

LoLo Stillwater's incredible cocktails and fantastic food have this restaurant expanding to Hudson and the MSP Airport
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Force blooming spring at Sandcastle, Hola Arepa, and Solo Vino

It's spring, gosh darn it, and we're going to eat like it's sunny at Sandcastle, Hola Arepa, and Solo Vino

Hasselback Potatoes with Watercress and Watercress Sauce Recipe

Crunchy outside yet tender within, the popular potato and salad come together in one beautiful dish

Jimmie's Old Southern Smokehouse Is Already A Hit

Dave Anderson knows BBQ. Can he hit the perfect smoke ring in a restaurant that isn't yet "Famous"?
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags