Cauliflower Tabbouleh is a grain free version of the classic middle eastern bulgur salad. Loaded with vegetables and fresh herbs, it’s simply seasoned with lemon juice and olive oil. It’s so close to the original, you won’t believe it’s not the real thing! Whole30, vegan, paleo, and more.
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 packaged 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 middle eastern parsley and bulgur wheat salad. Parsley is always the star of this vegan side dish, and most variations also incorporate fresh 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, paleo, low carb, and 100% grain free.
- CAULIFLOWER RICE: make your own, or use bagged rice cauliflower. Fresh is a must, as defrosted frozen cauliflower rice will be too soft.
- LEMON JUICE: use fresh squeezed 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: it’s the star of this plant-based salad, so use the full two bunches.
- MINT: again, fresh is a must, and a little goes a long way.
- TOMATO: any juicy, ripe tomato will work. Remove the seeds for best texture. 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 grain free paleo and Whole30 recipe. Microwave the cauliflower rice to just barely soft it, 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!
- Prepare the cauliflower rice. Microwave for 1 minute, then toss with lemon juice and salt. Marinate at room temperature for 20 minutes.
- Mince the herbs. Finely mince parsley and mint by hand or in a food processor.
- Dice the vegetables. Seed and finely dice the tomatoes and cucumbers.
- Toss and serve. Add the herbs, vegetables, and extra virgin olive oil to the cauliflower rice. Toss until well combined, then taste for seasoning and adjust as needed until the flavor sings.
Tips for Making This Recipe
- Don’t overcook the cauliflower! Just one minute in the microwave is enough to soften the plant fibers for the perfect balance between a nice bite and easy digestion.
- The right texture is essential to a great tabbouleh salad, so be sure to finely mince the herbs and vegetables.
- Use the freshest, best quality ingredients you can source and afford. There are so few ingredients that quality really makes a difference.
- Always taste for seasoning and adjust. Add more lemon juice, salt, or olive oil until the flavor sings.
- Toss again before serving to help redistribute the dressing and ingredients – especially if it’s been sitting in the fridge for a day or more.
Serving and Storing
Tabouleh can be served right away, or placed in a sealed container and stored in the fridge for up to 4 days. We think it’s best after marinating a full 24 hours.
Because of its long shelf life, grain free tabbouleh is ideal for meal prep. We love it for lunch in these Shawarma Meal Prep Bowls.
Serve as a side dish with Beef Kofta Spiced Meatballs or Chicken Shawarma Meatballs, or on its own as an afternoon snack.
This Recipe Is…
- Whole30 and Paleo
- Gluten free and grain free
- Vegan and plant based
- Keto and low carb
- Packed with Vitamins A and C, high in fiber and iron, and relies on healthy fats.
More Easy Summer Salads
- Broccoli and Cauliflower Salad with Sunbutter Sauce
- Mediterranean Chickpea Salad
- Cucumber, Tomato, and Avocado Salad
- White Bean Salad with Parsley and Tomatoes
Did you make this cauliflower tabbouleh? I’d love to know how it turned out! Leave a comment and a rating below.
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- Food Processor
- 12 oz riced cauliflower, see notes
- ¼ cup fresh lemon juice, from 2-3 lemons
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tsp sea or kosher salt
- 2 bunches flat-leaf parsley, finely minced
- ½ cup fresh mint, finely minced
- 2 medium vine-ripened tomatoes, seeded, finely chopped to ¼" dice
- ½ english cucumber, seeded, finely chopped to ¼" dice
- 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 ¼" dice. Half the cucumber, scoop out the seeds using a spoon, then chop into a ¼" 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.
So delicious! I salted the cucumber and tomato mixture for about 10 mins and drained before adding to cauli rice to draw out some moisture.