Whole30 Cauliflower Tabbouleh is our grain free version of this classic middle eastern recipe. Loaded with vegetables and fresh herbs, it’s simply seasoned with lemon juice and olive oil, and the resulting flavor is incredible – and packs a big nutritional punch too! Whole30 compliant, plant based, and grain free, this vibrant tabbouleh recipe is perfect as a side dish for dinner or meal prep for a healthy lunch.
If you’re oh so tired of the same old side dishes or quick and easy meal prep recipes in your repertoire, then your taste buds are primed and ready for Cauliflower Tabbouleh.
This Whole30 and grain free twist on the classic Lebanese parsley salad is light, but filling, and packs a serious punch of flavor into every bite. The tabbouleh comes together quickly, especially if you can get your hands on riced cauliflower in the produce section of your local grocery store. The hearty ingredients hold up beautifully all week, so it’s also a terrific meal prep option for packed lunches, or as a ready-to-eat mid-day snack when you need a pick me up.
What is Tabbouleh?
Tabbouleh is a classic middle eastern salad. Parsley is always the star of this vegan side dish, and most variations also incorporate mint, tomatoes, green onions, and occasionally cucumbers. It’s seasoned simply with olive oil and lots of lemon juice, which both really enhance the herbs. Traditional tabbouleh incorporates bulgur, which is a cracked wheat. We’ve traded the bulgur for riced cauliflower to make this recipe Whole30 and grain free.
Cauliflower Tabbouleh Ingredients
- Cauliflower Rice (homemade or store-bought): our local chain grocery store always has pre-riced cauliflower available in the produce section. It’s incredibly convenient and the texture is just right. Fresh, raw cauliflower rice is a must – frozen and defrosted rice will be too soft.
- Lemon Juice: use fresh squeezed lemons for superior flavor. If you really love lemon, add a teaspoon of lemon zest too.
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil: use the best quality you can afford – you can taste the difference. We love and recommend California Olive Ranch Everyday Extra Virgin Olive Oil.
- Parsley: LOTS of it! Parsley is the star of this plant-based salad, so use the full two bunches.
- Mint: fresh mint is a must, and a little goes a long way.
- Tomato: use the freshest tomatoes you can get your hands on. In the winter, opt for cherry or grape tomatoes, or greenhouse tomatoes from your local farmer’s market.
- Cucumber: an english or persian cucumber will have a firmer texture that holds up well over several days in the fridge. Scoop out the seeds before dicing, but leave the skins on for extra fiber and nutritional value.
How to Make Cauliflower Tabbouleh
Our twist on tabbouleh substitutes riced cauliflower for bulgur to transform this classic grain salad into a delicious Whole30 recipe. We give the cauliflower rice a quick trip through the microwave, then marinate it with lemon juice and salt to break down some of the tough vegetable fibers. The result is bite-tender cauliflower rice that you’d swear is actually wheat if you didn’t know what you were eating!
We love this as a side dish with Beef Kofta Spiced Meatballs or Pomegranate Chicken. Because it’s so nutrient-dense, cauliflower tabbouleh is great for an afternoon pick-me-up snack, and it holds up well in the fridge as a meal prep option.
- Prepare the cauliflower rice. Place cauliflower rice into a microwave safe dish and microwave for 60 seconds. Add four tablespoons lemon juice and a teaspoon of salt. Toss, then set aside to marinate at room temperature for 20 minutes – about the time it takes to prep the remaining ingredients.
- Mince the herbs. If you really love chopping herbs, go ahead and do it the old-fashioned way. If you’re a fan of expedience and don’t mind washing an extra appliance, pulse the herbs until finely minced in a food processor using the standard s-blade.
- Dice the vegetables. Finely diced two medium-sized ripe tomatoes and half an english cucumber. Remove the seeds from your tomatoes so that your tabbouleh doesn’t get too watery. Seed the cucumber using a spoon or melon baller, but you can leave the delicate skin intact.
- Mix the cauliflower tabbouleh. Add the fresh herbs, vegetables, and extra virgin olive oil to the cauliflower. Toss until the ingredients are evenly distributed, then taste for seasoning. Add another splash of lemon juice or a bit of salt until the flavors sing.
You can eat the tabbouleh straight away, or place into a sealed container in the fridge for 4-5 days. I think it’s best the next day once the flavors have had a chance to really meld.
More Whole30 and Vegan Side Dish Recipes
- Olive Oil Mashed Potatoes with Roasted Garlic
- Mexican Cauliflower Rice
- Broccoli and Cauliflower Salad with Sunbutter Sauce
- Cauliflower Hummus with Za’atar Spice
- Strawberry Cucumber Salad
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- Food Processor
- 12 oz riced cauliflower, see notes
- 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice, from 2-3 lemons
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tsp sea or kosher salt
- 2 bunches flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
- 1/2 cup fresh mint, (about 1 ounce), finely chopped to 1/4" dice
- 2 medium vine-ripened tomatoes, seeded, finely chopped to 1/4" dice
- ½ english cucumber, seeded, finely chopped
- Place the cauliflower rice into a large, microwave safe bowl. Microwave on high for 60 seconds. Add the lemon juice and salt, and stir to combine. Set the cauliflower rice aside to marinate and tenderize at least 20 minutes and up to 1 hour.
- While the cauliflower marinates, prepare the herbs and vegetables. Finely chop the parsley and mint by hand, or, pulse the herbs in a food processor with a standard s-blade, scraping down the sides as needed, until the desired texture is achieved. Slice the tomatoes in half, scoop out the seeds using a spoon, then chop into a 1/4" dice. Half the cucumber, scoop out the seeds using a spoon, then chop into a 1/4" dice.
- Add the extra virgin olive oil, parsley, mint, tomatoes, and cucumber to the cauliflower rice. Toss to combine. Taste for seasoning and add additional lemon juice or salt until the flavor sings. Serve immediately or chill. Refrigerate the leftovers in a sealed container for up to 5 days.