One thing that would describe very well the Beirutis’s love for all things trendy is the fact that every restaurant in town (or just about) has quinoa tabbouleh on their menu. It is even funnier when one remembers how vocal, even outraged, Lebanese folks were about the French destroying their national salad, using couscous instead of bulgur (first major offense) and then only using a few sprigs of parsley (when it is supposed to be first and foremost a parsley salad).
Nobody seems to mind the quinoa, and now one finds it everywhere in supermarkets in Lebanon. Nobody seems to mind that the quinoa tabbouleh is also mostly quinoa and hints of parsley.
Well, I minded a bit. I really think quinoa does nothing to enhance tabbouleh and it was fine with bulgur. Still, when I saw cauliflower (it is in season now) the idea came to me to try it instead of quinoa or bulgur. I figured the experiment might appeal to my daughter who has been on a gluten-free diet lately.
The tabbouleh with cauliflower is light and fresh, and we both liked it. I steamed the cauliflower first to make it more digestible but it can be used raw.
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 3 minutes
Passive Time: 3 minutes
1/2 head cauliflower cut into florets minus the stems
3 bunches Italian parsley chopped extra fine, leaves only
1 bunch scallions, chopped fine or 1 small red onion, chopped fine
3 large tomatoes, diced fine heritage if possible
6 sprigs fresh mint, leaves only chopped fine
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil more to taste
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice more to taste
1 teaspoon salt to taste
1/2 teaspoon paprika optional, or a spice of your choice
1. Separate the cauliflower into florets, removing as much of the stems as possible (use them for a soup, or some dip). Steam till tender 3 minutes or so, then cool. Transfer to a food processor (or use a handheld grater) and pulse until the cauliflower looks like tiny pellets.
2. Prepare the other ingredients and place all of them in a large bowl. Mix the lemon juice and olive oil, add the salt to taste and toss the salad prior to serving.
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